OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In an effort to keep more young professionals here locally, a group in Omaha is doing its part to support diversity in our community.
"Our goal is just to take all of that talent, all of the young leadership in Omaha and just put it in an environment where we can help each other and grow," said riseOMA co-founder Keaton Hutchinson.
Kail Walker, Kaleb Betzold and Keaton Hutchinson are young professionals in Omaha and, together, they're building a network to support other young professionals in the area. In August 2019, they created riseOMA.
“We want to uplift Omaha,” said Walker. “We want to lift the people up here and put the city on the map. Rise in Czechoslovakian means empire, and so we are trying to build our empire individually, but also the city of Omaha and the empire that we have here.”
The group focuses on hosting a social networking event every few months which they say is more of an experience that people will want to come back to.
“We just host quarterly networking events that you can come to and it's very very high-class, high-energy,” said Walker. “We'll have guest speakers that come so you can get knowledge from the event. We are very big into our community. We want to help people here and the businesses here so we'll have local vendors come. You can promote your business...set up a booth.”
And focus on building those interpersonal connections.
“It doesn't matter who you are, or what you do, I think everybody has different goals and dreams and you are the sum of the five people you hang out with the most,” said Hutchinson. “We're really big believers in that and you know, it's all about who you know and who knows you, so you're literally one person away from making that connection and maybe changing your life.”
“We feel like there is so much talent within Omaha...people doing amazing things, having incredible businesses,” said Walker. “There's incredible artists, musicians, and designers and just really awesome things happening in Omaha that we just wanted to showcase...that and essentially put our city on the map. The city is really underrated and there's a lot going on here that the world needs to know about.”
The group started their first event with 17 people. The next one — nearly 60.
Their hope is to get more local entrepreneurs to stay in Omaha and make it a welcoming city for those young professionals who moved here for a job, so they can move forward in their careers and grow their business.
“I think a lot of people feel like they have to leave Omaha to be successful, to do what you want to do, but you can do it right here in Omaha,” said Betzold. “That's one message that we wanted to portray to Omaha. Stay here and let's build this city together because the opportunities are here, you just got to go find them.”