It isn’t just about voting and it certainly isn’t just about shaking politicians’ hands. Day at the City, a program of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, is about building relationships with our public officials and civic engagement. It’s about coming away feeling empowered and gaining knowledge and insight into the city.

Voting is a critical part of getting our voices heard and flexing our ability to shape society, but there’s also incredible value in getting to know city officials and council members. Day at the City provides an opportunity to do just that. It facilitates conversations between public officials and professionals. It provides a place to start building a foundation for a solid connection.

As young professionals, it’s pivotal to have our voices heard now. When young professionals actively engage in local government, it translates into real-time community changes. When you’re involved, you gain influence and relinquish your role as a sideline observer.

Day at the City is a platform for cultivating public sector expertise and network. Laying groundwork with public officials will make it easier to reach out in the future with your comments and concerns.

Day at the City also provides the opportunity to participate in small focus groups with public officials to discuss the impact of city initiatives on business and Greater Phoenix. These small groups are meant to increase understanding of issues and allow for more intimate conversations about economic development, transportation, public safety and more.

Government processes can be intimidating from afar, but diving in will reap benefits. City government is not a big machine to be seen from a distance. As Phoenix business leaders of today and tomorrow, it’s imperative we recognize that the best way to facilitate change is from the inside. The time to get involved is now!

-co-authored by Janelle Tassart, director of community relations at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Erin Mettille, business development executive at Slalom Consulting.

Posted by Alexie Chavez