Last week we had the pleasure of being recognized as a “What’s Right with the Region” awardee by FOCUS St. Louis. The entire experience was a roller coaster of emotions, but the one that really resonates with me is pride. For a little over three years, the team has poured our hearts and our souls into the mission of CyberUp. We have ebbed and flowed with our programs but remain committed to level the playing field for non-traditional talent. To see our mission honored as an “innovative solution” was truly amazing.

Let me start out by saying, for those unfamiliar with FOCUS, I encourage you to look them up. They have produced some of the best and brightest minds our region has to offer. In short, they tailor programs around leadership, equity, and collaboration, but at the core of their mission they embody what I view to be St. Louis values. Our team has had the pleasure of participating in a few of these initiatives and we always know they will deliver a top-notch service.

After finding out we were selected, we were invited to attend the awards ceremony to be held at Sheldon Concert Hall. The night of the event we had the pleasure to rub elbows with some of the “who’s who” in our region. Bob Fox and Maxine Clark were in attendance to name a few, but there were many more who attended to recognize the other 19 organizations being honored. Our region is in good hands with all our peers honored. These included; It’s Your Birthday, Inc., Challenge Unlimited, HealthWorks! Kids Museum, and our sponsor Gateway to Innovation.

Back to the thought of pride…to say we have worked hard may be an understatement. The team has tirelessly worked to get better. We always ask tough questions to ourselves on how we can be better and how we can better serve the region. We learn a little more every day, but to have that work honored on such a big stage was the gentle nudge we needed to say, “you’re doing something right.”

Now that we have earned such a prestigious award, we have to step up our game. As we look at the second half of 2019 there is a lot more work to be done. This isn’t an inclusive list, but we are finalizing ways to expand our program in San Antonio. We are pushing hard to get our candidates placed into full-time apprenticeships. We are doing a deep dive into what is the best way for us to inspire the next generation of talent.

Thank you to FOCUS for honoring what we do and thank you to those that have made it possible. The staff, the board, the financial supporters, and the volunteers who serve our programs make our mission possible. We are committed to always being better!