The Commission is a young professionals organization that aims to make a positive impact on the Rochester community by connecting and engaging young professionals and encouraging them to explore opportunities for collaboration and increase their community involvement.
As cities around the nation vie for workers to replace retiring baby boomers, groups like The Commission can enhance a sense of community and make Rochester the ideal place for millennials – and professionals of all ages – to live, work, and engage.
Founder and President Sankesh “Sunny” Prabhakar has been the driving force behind The Commission since its inception five years ago. We sat down with Sunny to get his take on how young professionals will help shape Rochester’s future.
My husband I and moved to Rochester over 5 years ago from Colorado Springs. My husband’s family lives here in town and due to unfortunate job loss in Colorado, we decided to move (back) to Rochester. Before we left Colorado, I made up my mind that I would work at Mayo Clinic. Fortunately, I was hired on after two years of contracting with Mayo. It’s been the best place I’ve ever worked! Compared to my previous jobs “in the real world” the opportunities, growth, education, research and care here are unsurpassed. I am blessed to be here, but find myself wondering when I can leave because of the lack of development and untapped potential in Rochester. Luckily, there is the DMC initiative and it passed! I’m excited to see the city grow into its fullest potential and continue to draw in the worlds’ best and brightest while giving those of us who live here a reason stay.
Coming from a city of nearly 1 million people, moving here ended up being quite a change. Because of the reputation of Mayo Clinic, my expectations of Rochester were high. I figured there would be great shopping, restaurants, museums, a university, lots of activities, etc. I was sorely disappointed. While there are a few good restaurants (that aren’t expensive) and a few good shops, the rest leaves the community to be desired. It struck me as very odd that a community with so many different types of people, visitors from around the world and a world class health care facility seemed to exist in a sleepy, small town. While that may be the attraction for some, for many of us who live here and would like to stay, this presents a problem. If you don’t work at Mayo, IBM or a successful enterprenuer, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for growth. There is no major university here besides satellite campuses with a limited number of degree offerings, no museums, no zoo, small town retail, and a limited number of restaurants. Chick-Fil-A, Q’doba, Texas Roadhouse and Red Robin, where are you? Sephora, West Elm and Pottery Barn, please come to Rochester! How is the community expected to grow or advance? Why would anyone want to stay if opportunities are slim? While I love new experiences, I don’t want to always have to go to the Twin Cities to do that. I would rather spend that time and money in my community. I have several friends with great business ideas but are afraid to “venture out” because they feel Rochester doesn’t have that kind of market and sadly, they’re right.
My generation is the future. We’re young adults, young couples and young families who want the best for our future and our children. Connecting with the community is important. DMC is a shining light for prosperity, growth, jobs, stability, education, and advancement in a small town; a diamond in the rough. I’m grateful for the vision of the community leaders for a Rochester Master Plan for growth to keep this community thriving. I’m now feeling excited to be in Rochester during this time to live and contribute to its vision for growth. I plan to help with vision and direction of DMC not just because of my place of employment, but mainly because I want to see the untapped potential of this wonderful community come to fruition. Join me and many others as we go on this journey together!
What kind of potential do you see in Rochester’s future? Share your thoughts through the comment feature below.
Tia Calvert is a Media Analyst in the Creative Media Department at Mayo Clinic
I was greeted to Rochester upon arrival with a bit of a head start than most. My wife (girlfriend at the time) presented to me a 5-page, front and back, laminated guide to all things Rochester. It showed me where the closest coffee shop was, where the Library is found, what events are good to attend, and maps on how to get around. Her passion and love of this city was infectious, and now I find myself with that same passion and zeal for this town. I want to share it to every new resident, nurse, and student, as fervently as an evangelist for this fair city.
One of the key factors that has kept me here is not just what this mini-metropolis offers now, it’s the potential that it holds to be an even greater city. We find ourselves at a time where we are limited only by our imaginations, and the power to collaboratively build the future of this city.
I look at this community as one that is like none found anywhere else, and is truly a gem to the state, and the country. For those of my generation, and younger, change is a normal part of life. We haven’t known a life of stability like those before us, and change, to us, brings something better and innovative. My wish is that these changes bring us together as a community, and we work together to build something great for ourselves, our children, and their children. I am excited to be a part of the change that is happening, and proud to call Rochester home.
What excites you about DMC and the future of Rochester? Join the conversation by adding your comments below.
It’s Friday Night. You have three options: going out to eat, see a movie, or grab a drink. Are you bored of your options? Do you feel like you’ve done everything there is to do here? When someone asks you where you’re from, do you find yourself sheepishly replying, “Rochester”?
You’re not alone! I grew up in Rochester. As I got older, I began to feel that as I aged, Rochester stayed static; nothing ever seemed to change. This town seemed built only for families and professional adults. When I left Rochester for college, I swore to myself that I’d never come back. Rochester was not the place for me. It was difficult to make friends when I came back and in order to have fun I had to look hard to find something I haven’t done before. I felt that my future here was bleak.
With Destination Medical Center developing I see Rochester’s future full of bright and exciting opportunities. As a young adult, it’s my social responsibility to address the issues Rochester faces and to help create the identity of this city outside of the shadow of Mayo. It’s our time to customize this city the way we want. It’s our time to speak up about the limitations of Rochester not with judgment, but with enthusiasm about what we can change. I think of DMC as an urban revolution. DMC will allow Rochester to create a place where people stay because of the arts, diversity and passion inside the city limits and within the surrounding communities. I want high school seniors and college graduates to see Rochester as a great opportunity for their future as adults, not as a backup plan. This is the most exciting time to be living in this city.
My generation gets excited about locally owned businesses, cafes, thriving arts not strictly for entertainment but for educational purpose as well. We share a passion of expressing ourselves by engaging more within the community. We are the future. Think big, and bring your ideas to the table. The city is ready, and this is our time to be heard, create and cultivate our talents. If you’re not satisfied with your options here, then take action and create change.
This is the time to shape Rochester’s future. Start your legacy now. We are Rochester.
Laura Elwood is the Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator for R&S Transport in Rochester. She is also a DMC Ambassador.
What are some of the things you would like to see happen in Rochester to make it more appealing to younger people? Share your thoughts through the comments below.