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					            FORT WORTH NEWS BUREAU
For Immediate Release                         Contact: Andra Bennett, APR
April 5, 2007                                 (817) 336-2491 x 265

           “Vision Fort Worth” Creates
       Connections for Young Professionals
       Move over Baby Boomers. It seems the Generation Xs and Ys can see clearly
now and they are looking not only toward their futures, but have a vision for Fort
Worth’s future as well.
       Vision Fort Worth (VFW), a new Fort Worth Chamber program, launches April
19 with a kick-off party featuring the Brad Thompson Band playing in the atrium area of
the T&P Lofts.
       The program targets young professionals 21-35 (with no enforced age limit) and
is intended to help them develop business relationships, create opportunities and foster
Fort Worth’s growth as well as that of its future leaders.
       “The Vision Fort Worth initiative gives young professionals here a venue to
associate with each other as well as the established business community,” said Michael
Appleman, chair of the VFW committee and partner at Cantey Hanger. “Not only do
participants get a lot out of the group such as new contacts, we can gather wisdom from
the business community as we move into leadership roles.”
       Jill Eastman, vice chairman of the VFW steering committee and marketing
communications manager at Weaver & Tidwell, said the relationships she is building
both professionally and personally are invaluable.
       “The main difference in this and other Young Professional (YP) groups in the city
is it’s broad-based, not specific to any one profession or industry,” she said.

The Retirement Wave and New Talent
       Studies show that 23 million “baby boomers” will retire by 2012, but only 10
million Gen Xs (those born between 1963-78) and Gen Ys (those born after 1978) will
enter the workforce. That means that companies and communities will have to compete
for those younger workers. Hundreds of America’s biggest companies will lose as many
as half their senior managers in the next five years and at least four of those major
companies are in the Fort Worth area.
       With those statistics in mind, the Chamber Board of Directors in 2003 instructed
staff to look into a Young Professionals program. The Chamber researched other cities’
programs and conducted focus groups locally to look at the issue. Among their findings,
they discovered that many young workers feel the city’s business climate is a bit stuffy
and closed.
       Focus group participants expressed concerns about being taken seriously by older,
more established workers. Many were looking for a way to not only enhance their
careers, but also establish themselves as potential community leaders.
       Two Chamber staffers, Brianna Dishman, business services coordinator, and
Becky Matson, development manager researched other chambers across the country that
have developed programs for their YPs. Tulsa, Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin have
dynamic YP programs and they studied their best practices.
       “Once cities competed for businesses and the people followed,” said Matson. “In
the future, cities will have to compete for the people and the businesses will follow.”
        “Our VFW committee members are truly concerned about being ready to lead
Fort Worth when it’s our turn,” said Dishman. “Vision Fort Worth is about improving
and diversifying the business climate here.”
       Appleman echoes that sentiment.
       “Vision Fort Worth slingshots us into a position to give back later on,” he said.
“We’ll be in charge someday, and this program will give us the tools to do for others
what the establishment is doing for us today.”
       Currently planned for the coming year are four luncheons, the first on May 8 with
a panel discussion, “If I’d Known Then What I Know Now.” The first Night Vision
networking event will be June 28th at Silver Fox Steakhouse.
Membership Information

* Individual VFW membership for a Chamber member company -- $100/year
* Individual VFW membership for a non-Chamber member -- $150/year
* Corporate VFW membership for a Chamber Gold or Preferred member -- $300/year
(includes five individual memberships)
* Corporate VFW membership for a Chamber member -- $425/year (includes five
individual memberships)
       Anyone joining VFW on or before April 19 when the program launches, will be a
charter member.
       Presenting sponsor of Vision Fort Worth is Capital One. Platinum sponsor
Concussion Advertising designed the VFW logo and website Silver
sponsor is Royer & Schutts Commercial Interiors, and Bronze sponsor is Weaver &
Tidwell. For more information on Vision Fort Worth sponsorships, contact Becky
Matson at or 817/336-2491, ext. 243.

Vision Fort Worth Launch Party Details

* What: Vision Fort Worth Launch Party
* When: April 19, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
* Where: T&P Lofts, 221 Lancaster, 76102
* Cost: Chamber members - $10; Gold and Preferred members - $5; non-members - $15.
Register online at
       The launch party will feature the music of the Brad Thompson Band, hors
d’oeuvres and a cash bar.
       For more information on VFW events, contact Brianna Dishman at or ext. 275.
Vision Fort Worth Sources

Michael Appleman, partner
Cantey Hanger
(817) 877-2800

Jill Eastman, marketing communications manager
Weaver & Tidwell
(817) 332-7905

J.T. Aughinbaugh
JP Morgan Chase Bank
817 884-4463

Theron Bryant
SCM Real Estate Services
(817) 226-0000

Lisa Flinn
Lockheed Martin
(817) 777-8294

Charlie Royer
Royer & Schutts Commercial Interiors
(817) 332-5424

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