In 2017, we were off the heels of a new station strategic plan that outlined the need for expanding Houston Public Media’s community footprint. It was then that serious conversations with leadership and the station’s board began around the need for engaging new audiences and ensuring the next generation were invested in preserving local public media for future generations to come. In early 2018, we thought carefully about providing an intimate and meaningful experience for young professionals in the region that appreciated storytelling and quality journalism with one overarching goal in mind: creating lifelong public media ambassadors.
In early 2018, HPM’s Victoria Cordova helped put together a committee made up of board members, staff from various departments, and a young professional that was already heavily engaged with us to brainstorm how we would define the council’s success. It quickly became apparent that this community-driven initiative needed to be personal, it needed to create a space for sharing life-changing stories and connections to public media, and it needed to bring Houston Public Media’s greatest fans closer to the station and content they cherish daily.
In May 2018, Houston Public Media launched the Young Leaders Council. The inaugural class of 16 members was curated through contacts put forth by the selection committee. The candidates received a discovery survey to better inform us of how they envisioned the future of the council. Following the survey, we created a standard application that would be used to on-board future classes. Candidates came in for interviews and the selection committee helped guide the decisions.
The selection committee continues to have diverse representation and now has members from previous classes participating in charting the future of the council. The service commitment includes a two-year staggered term. The end goal is to have 30-35 active members at a time that share their love for public media by encouraging others to read, listen to and watch Houston Public Media content.