"UniPro Chicago-Midwest’s 2016 Year in Review" by Ryne Dionisio

Dear friends, partners, and our UniPro family,

What a long road it’s been to get where we’re at right now. While we had our official launch event in April, the initial talks of having a Midwest UniPro chapter happened over a year prior. It took many months of recruiting, community polling, and event planning to ensure that there was even a spot for us among the other great organizations in the region, and that we’d have the capacity to meet the goals we envisioned.

There were times when it felt like the chapter would fizzle before it could get off the ground, or that we would be overlapping the efforts of others too much. And even after all that work, we honestly had no idea if the launch would be a success. Well, about sixty attendees later, it felt like we were on to something.

But while our first event went well, it was one of hope and promises. With Iris and Kirklyn from NY with us, we had the opportunity to explain UniPro’s values and goals to a fresh audience. Now it was time to deliver.

Our surveys showed that the young graduates of our region were interested in content about the next phase of their careers, and we started to deliver on that. Between our first networking panel and our mentorship kickoff event, we planted the seeds for a strong professional development program.

We also were very fortunate to serve as the central geographical hub for the other UniPro chapters. We closed out 2016 having fellow members from Seattle, Houston, New York and more fly in to help us present at the annual FACT conference, and we hope to continue to strengthen those bonds as we bring fresh perspectives to the Midwest.

In 2017 we hope to keep up the momentum we found in 2016. We’ll continue building up our professional development program, while also branching out into other areas that we find important, but just didn’t have the time or resources for. Social justice, mental wellness, and promoting local artists and creators are all on our radar.

If these sound like worthwhile endeavors to you, please consider joining our cause; we’ll be happy to have you. You can also contribute to our Generosity drive, as the funds will help ensure we can continue our programming.

Thanks and see you next year,

Ryne Dionisio
President, 2016-2017
Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro), Chicago-Midwest Chapter