Meet Young Leaders Society (YLS) member, Hilary Hershner.
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for fun?
I am a Capricorn, a Cedar Rapids native, and currently work as a regional transportation planner for the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). I just purchased and moved into my first house!
I studied undergrad at the University of Northern Iowa and got my masters at the University of Kansas—I’ve always been a big fan of Jayhawks basketball! I enjoy playing rec sports, browsing the internet, watching TV (The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are my go-tos), going to local events with my friends and family, and hanging out with my boyfriend and our chocolate lab, Kolby.
What is your favorite part of working in the Corridor?
I like seeing the increased vibrancy and development occurring here. Downtown, NewBo, Czech Village, and Kingston is “where it’s at,” where the action is happening. In the 00’s, I never went down there unless it was for a specific event at the US Cellular Center or something like that. All the changes from when I was growing up in Cedar Rapids—seeing the city become a destination—makes me proud of my hometown.
What is a fun or unique fact about you?
My love of KU stems from two things: 1. My grandparents met and fell in love at KU 2. I started to get into college basketball in the late 90’s-early 00’s, and a couple Iowa boys were on the team, so I guess because of them I became a forever fan!
Why did you decide to get involved with United Way and YLS?
I wanted to make a positive difference in my community. I first volunteered through Volunteers in Proficiency (VIP), and that inspired me to seek out more opportunities with United Way. I want to do my part to help improve peoples’ lives in the community, because I know there’s a lot of need.
What advice do you have for other young professionals who want to be more involved in the community?
Seek out opportunities that speak to you, whether it is something you’re interested in or something you feel is important. My volunteer experience with VIP is not directly connected to my profession (urban planning) but I enjoy it because I feel I’m really helping kids become better readers. The main point is to find something you think will make a difference, and if it also can help you meet professional goals, that’s a win-win!