YLS Member Spotlight: Will Darley

CEO Fireside Chat - Paul

Will Darley, one of the Young Leaders Society’s newest Premier Members, joined the group to follow his passion for educating the next generation while networking with fellow young professionals. Read on to find out how he is taking his commitment to the pavement on May 4, his favorite YLS event and what he does in his free time.  

Why did you join YLS, and what is your current role with YLS?

Upon graduating from Indiana University and moving back to Chicago, I was looking for an opportunity to give back to the Chicagoland community. I joined YLS because I saw a great opportunity to network with other Chicagoland young professionals while being able to give back through the great organization of United Way. My current role is to inform as many people as possible about the benefits and significance of supporting YLS. I become more and more involved after each event and am able to make a much more significant impact.

Tell us about that role and what some of your goals are for the remainder of this year?

YLS hosts many events throughout the year and it is important to bring in as many Chicagoland young professionals as possible. The more people understand and acknowledge YLS, the greater participation in philanthropy will be. I am in the process of becoming a Premier Member, and my goal for the year is to encourage others to take the next step with YLS by joining a committee or by volunteering more time!

There are so many good non-profit opportunities. What makes YLS the right option for you?

There truly are many great non-profit opportunities, but I think what separates YLS from the others is the networking that comes with it. Being that I have just started my professional career it is great to have the opportunity to attend all of these networking events. Also, the whole YLS team has the urge to surpass all expectations of community philanthropy, and we all want to keep it growing throughout the Chicagoland area.

Tell us about a recent YLS event you attended and why these opportunities are such a great way for people to get to know YLS.

The most recent project that I have done is the YLS March Bingo Madness. I was able to spread the word to many young professionals and encouraged some to join. At these events, people are engaged and able to meet YLS and non-YLS members. You have the chance to ask specific YLS questions and have them be answered by current members. Everyone is informed about the goals of YLS and about upcoming events.

What are your favorite things about YLS?

The principles that YLS stands for, and the people who stand behind those principles are my favorite things about YLS. Everyone that I have worked with is very energetic and determined to promote our issues of INCOME, EDUCATION, and HEALTH. These are the core principles that YLS is looking to spread throughout the Chicagoland area.

What would you say to someone interested in joining YLS?

I would tell them that if they are looking to support a wonderful organization and build their professional network that YLS is a perfect match. Everything that YLS supports is extremely important and has a huge impact in the community. Everyone that joins and shares their philanthropic efforts is directly impacting the community!

What causes are most meaningful for you to support?

The causes that are the most meaningful to me are the ones that affect the children in our community. You hear stories all of the time regarding children and their lack of education. I think it is vital that every child has the opportunity to receive a good education. Children are the future, and it is important to instill education and morals at a young age. I have been involved with children’s education through various organizations in the past and am looking to apply everything I have learned for YLS.

What made you decide to run on Team YLS for United Way’s annual 5K?  What are you most looking forward to about this?

Being a very active person who enjoys the outdoors, this was a no-brainer for me. I have participated in other 5K events in the past and they have always been a great time. More importantly, the event is providing families with access to quality health services that live in the region. I am definitely looking forward to running alongside other YLS members and getting to know them outside of a typical setting.

Tell us about your day job and what you like about it?

I am a Senior Commercial Associate at Fifth Third Bank working in the Commercial Middle Market group. Our group is a lender of commercial loans for businesses in the sweet spot of the economy. I like that I am exposed to all different types of businesses and am able to look at them from the credit point of view. It also allows me to meet many business owners and hear about their businesses and successes.

Some fun ones:
Favorite TV show? Top 3 are: Shark Tank, Breaking Bad, and Workaholics. Can’t decide on one!
Favorite book? Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Favorite movie? The Dark Knight
What are your iPod favorites? I am across the board, ranging from Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Tom Petty, to my all time favorite — Blink 182!!
What are your biggest hobbies? I am very active and enjoy playing sports with my friends, and I really like backpacking and traveling when I have the opportunity.

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