November 2018 YP of the Month: Ben Giles
First and Last Name: Ben Giles
Hometown: Fond du Lac, WI
Educational Background: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from UW-Madison
Describe Yourself in Three Words. Passionate, Funny, Driven
Place of Employment and Position: Membership Director and Youth in Government Advisor at the Fond du Lac YMCA, City Council Member at Fond du Lac City Council
What do you enjoy the most about your current position?
I have always felt called to help people. At the Y, I have a very unique opportunity to do just that. I help people by offering discounted memberships and programs to families and individuals in need, by facilitating a Youth in Government group for 6th-12th grade students, and running cutting edge programming to create a healthier community. It’s very fulfilling to work in a dynamic place that helps so many people in so many different ways.
What is the one thing you would do if you knew you could not fail?
I would run for Governor of this great State of Wisconsin! Public office has intrigued me since my time at Badger Boys State in high school. Elected officials have a unique opportunity to better our society by bringing people together to find common ground and achieve collective goals. It would be fun and rewarding to be the Wisconsin Governor.
How has YPF contributed to your personal and/or professional development?
YPF has given me the opportunity to meet a ton of like-minded individuals who care about bettering themselves and the community. That’s rare in an organization. I also enjoy the balance between fun and professional events. The people and the events inspire me to strive for the best for myself and this community. I love YPF!
Who or what is your source of professional inspiration?
From a young age, my family has always been very supportive – offering me anything and everything to help me achieve my goals and dreams. Specifically, my father inspires and empowers me every day. I’m inspired by his commitment to the community and his family. Someday I hope to be able to invest so much passion and energy into the community/world while still being a rockstar Dad.
In keeping with YPF’s theme for this year “Take A Chance”, how have you taken a chance in 2018?
Earlier this year, I decided to run for City Council. As I was mulling over the decision, I received a lot of positive and negative feedback. Some thought that at the age of 24, I was too young and inexperienced. But my vision for the City Council was one where we had a voice and a perspective that represented young people. This was a big factor in my decision to run and “Take A Chance”.
Where do you see the Fond du Lac area in 5 years?
I see Fond du Lac as a place where young people want to grow and invest their time and energy. A dynamic downtown, a picturesque park and lake, thriving major businesses and industries, and fun events/programs will continue to contribute to this vision.
What words of wisdom do you have for other young professionals working in Fond du Lac?
Be yourself! Set lofty goals! Don’t be afraid to fail! Don’t let anyone else tell you that you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough! If you dream big enough and have the right persistence, drive, humility, and positive outlook on life, you can achieve anything and everything that you set your mind to.