Clark Wickliffe is in the business of making friends. That’s why he formed the Young Professionals organization with his friends, Nick Mitchell and Brandon Reichenau.
Real Estate agents for Century 21, Wickliffe, Mitchell and Reichenau formed the Young Professionals organization in February last year to connect with the Midlothian community and increase their business contacts. The group meets every month at their conference room at Century 21.
An entrepreneur since getting his real estate license at 19, Wickliffe established the organization to help other young professionals seek the support network that they need.
“All of the older business people look at you as you’re young, and they’re not going to give you as much of a shot,” Wickliffe said. “When you find like-minded people young guys that say ‘Hey, this is what has worked for me when I hit that bridge,’ or ‘This is what has helped me,’ or ‘This is who I know that will do this,’ then it’s back to the networking part.”
When the group first began, it had a small membership with five to eight members attending per meeting. Reichenau said that was intentional so that they could flush out how exactly they wanted their organization to function.
“We didn’t want to have 25 people show up at the beginning when we didn’t really know what we were doing,” Reichenau said. “We didn’t want to not be a well-oiled machine and have a bunch of people come in, and we lose that opportunity to retain them because of how un-structurally sound we were.”
Wickliffe said they also kept their numbers small at first to see who would be committed to the organization.
“We wanted serious people because the only way we grow is to have a person that is like ‘This is a great group, let’s grow it,’” Wickliffe said. “Not someone that’s like ‘Oh, I’ll just go to every other meeting, eat some food, then leave.’”
Even though the three of them are in real estate, Reichenau said membership is open to all professions and isn’t exclusive to one industry.
“We had an arborist, we had a builder, we have a guy with the City of Dallas that wants to start his own business,” Reichenau said. “We talk about what’s going on in the communities that we live in at first, then we go into side session and do ‘Hey, this is what I’m struggling with right now in my journey of being an entrepreneur, do you all have any input to help me?’”
In addition to their business enterprises, Wickliffe said they actively set new goals and look for new ways to get involved locally. Wickliffe, for instance, set a goal to get on the parks board as well as the Downtown Business Association, and he did both by the end of the year.
“We have goals and we have dreams, checkpoints, but we have been putting in plans of how do we reach that goal and what is it going to look like when we get there,” Wickliffe said. “It’s getting to be our turns to control what government does, so it’s kind of like we should all get involved.”
Wickliffe said their member attendance is now up to 10 to 15 and the group is looking at potentially adding a board and a mentorship program if they expand even further. Wickliffe said he’s eager to see how the Young Professionals Organization grows.
“It was business for sure, but then it became more like a community,” he said.
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX