by Daniel Regan, Vice President, Kanbar Properties //
Tulsa is a fortunate city. Fortunate to have a rich history of entrepreneurs and risk takers, of community leaders who learned long ago that sometimes you just have to be willing to take a leap of faith and bet on the bold ideas. This is the foundation on which we are growing our young talent today.
Standing on the shoulders of giants, inspired by the great gestures of generations before us, it feels to me as though our community’s young talent has started to wake up to its potential and began taking our city’s destiny by the hand.
Stepping out in faith, seemingly unaffected by the naysayers amongst us who would reject anything that resembles progress as being speculative or premature, my generation has become emboldened to lead. Thanks to the encouragement of enterprising millennials, our town is now being invigorated by a renewed sense of ownership of our future and our communal potential. The kind of real community engagement amongst the 20- and 30-somethings that gets sparked by this type of support can be transformative. It is without a doubt one of the reasons for Tulsa’s recent revitalization. It is also something that has been a core competency of Tulsa’s Young Professionals since its inception.
Indeed, I am convinced that when barriers begin to shrink and once-thought crazy ideas get encouragement through “little bets” by those with resources and experience, our generation starts to step up. It’s precisely the reason we created the Tulsa’s Young Professionals Foundation – to help give life to those innovative ideas that make our city awesome. Bold leadership, driven more by actions than words, is something embraced by my peers. We have grown tired of polling and analyzing and talking things to death. We want action. We crave results. We thrive, despite skeptics.
Case in point, a few friends and I recently decided it was time for our community to stop just talking about the potential of our downtown adjacent river and instead start doing something about it. On Labor Day 2015, after a nearly 25 year hiatus and in an attempt to showcase the recreational potential of our urban waterway, we brought back what was once the largest attended event in our state’s history: Tulsa’s Great Raft Race. In spite of being told for years that it wasn’t possible to revive the race because of new municipal, county, state and federal regulation; we decided it was time to bet on ourselves and trust in our capability to rally the resources needed. The grand revival of this beloved community event is now in the books and by all accounts it was a huge success; but that’s only because a small group of committed individuals were encouraged to say “why not”.
When those in power begin to realize the potential of enabling those who are coming up, and when they encourage the next generation to be fearless in realizing their dream, that is when a community truly begins to double down on what is good. That is the real key to unlocking future potential of a community.
Daniel Regan is Vice President of Kanbar Properties, a commercial real estate developer in downtown Tulsa, OK; co-owner of Garden Deva Sculpture Company; and the 2016 Chairman for Tulsa’s Young Professionals.