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YES 2024 March Meeting

By Annie Chen

During YES’s 2024 March meeting at Comerica Bank, our members received an abundance of insight on the functionings of Comerica bank, the Frisco city council, and police department with guest speakers Gabriel Wang, Tammy Meinershagen, John Keating, and Assistant Chief Police Darren Stevens and Sergeant Ryan Thomas. Being an advocate and leader in society requires one to be aware of what is happening in their communities. While this is a quality that YES aims to inspire in our members, it is up to them to take initiative as all of our members approach the age where changing our government’s future through voting becomes an option. Above all else, this month’s meeting motivated leadership in both the community, as well as the rapidly approaching YES Launch in May. 

Opening statements were given by Tammy Meinershagen and John Keating, both of whom have served in the Frisco city council. Meinershagen’s background of being a first generation korean american with a passion for music is what led her to pursue the role of being a part of city council. She recognized a gap in the city’s fine arts program and was able to push for an extraordinary 700% increase in art programs in Frisco; while supporting non profit art groups and the asian community she grew up in. As the first Korean American to serve on the Frisco City council, Meinershagen demonstrates that adversities can be overcome with passion and initiative, qualities that many of our members retain. 

Another important aspect of the Frisco city council was shared by Mayor pro tem John Keating, who emphasized the importance of having a communication line with all residents and voters. While the city is still in the process of developing its traffic and transportation system among other issues, Keating gives insight that with proactive leadership, the younger generations have the potential to solve issues with big and small projects. Both individuals highlight that improvements to our community can be made through both policy changes as well as tech and service oriented pitches/projects, a potential idea for many of our YES member’s startups. While having the meeting at Comerica Bank, YES was also able to have the opportunity of speaking with Gabrial Wang, co-chair of the Asian Business Resource Group at Comerica bank. As a first generation Chinese American with a passion for personal finance, he exemplified how one can advocate for cultural diversity within the establishment one works for. 

With credits to Alice Cai, our last two speakers for this month’s YES meeting were Assistant Chief Police Darren Stevens and Sergeant Ryan Thomas. Assistant Chief Stevens began his law enforcement career with the Plano Police Department in 1990. While in Plano, he was promoted through the ranks to Lieutenant and worked in that capacity as a Patrol Lieutenant, Administrative Lieutenant and Criminal Investigations Lieutenant. In 2002, Assistant Chief Stevens was hired by the Frisco Police Department as a Captain. Prior to his promotion to Assistant Chief in 2012, he served as a Captain and Deputy Chief in both the Operations and Services Bureaus, and has experience in overseeing every functional aspect of the agency. One of his main statements, to which many of our members can find relatability in, is that one doesn’t necessarily need to start off self-employed in order to work for oneself. Entrepreneurial spirit and talents can be used in corporate settings to develop experience and improve the environment one works in. And like many YES members, Sergeant Ryan Thomas grew up with an interest in volunteering, his community, and extracurriculars. Following their introductions was a breakdown of statistics within the Frisco police department. The city of Frisco is a prime example of the effects of urban growth; as compared to 50 employees in 2000, there are currently 407 total authorized positions within the Frisco police department. However, Stevens and Thomas emphasized that the functioning of the city is all interconnected, as more than 50% of the city's general fund is dedicated to public safety (i.e. water supply, city infrastructure, etc).

On top of the prevalent issues of drug abuse, venu/event security, and misconceptions with the occupation that the Frisco police department are tasked with, Assistant Chief Police Darren Stevens and Sergeant Ryan Thomas both stressed the importance of showing humanity on the job and being empathetic to the individuals that they help. Stating, “Our jobs can really have a huge impact on people, positive or negative. And our goal is to have a positive impact.” As YES members closed the meeting with YES launch brainstorming and planning, our speakers have left the impression of creating a positive impact on our community as well.

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