Danielle Mercer, Emerge Tampa Bay - Last Thursday evening I learned about Deanne Dewey Roberts. Although her name was unfamiliar to me, her vision for Tampa became clear to me. As I learned about Deanne's selfless leadership and commitment to this community, I realized why I have been so drawn to the people and opportunities I have been experiencing these past few months since joining Emerge. The fabric of this group was put together by a woman who understood that young, passionate, selfless leaders needed a place to grow and "rub off on each other" as Simon T. Bailey, keynote speaker for the evening, put it. Deanne mentored countless young professionals and created a place for a new generation of leaders to learn how to take the reigns and impact the direction of Tampa Bay's future. In an article in the Tampa Bay Times published on Friday November 30th Robert Trigaux echoed Deanne's sentiments and answered a very good question. "Why highlight this award over others? Because this one is all about a new generation shaping Tampa and Tampa Bay's future." -Trigaux Mike Griffin was the recipient of the Inaugural Deanne Dewey Roberts award. I have never met Mike, but I learned of his instrumental role as one of the inaugural co-chairs of Emerge along with his numerous other contributions to the community. After listening to him speak I was inspired by his humility, honest character, and dedication. He, like Deanne, rubbed off on me. As Mike later wrote, "Last night's event served as a fitting tribute to the incredible legacy of Deanne. A diverse group of community leaders were brought together to challenge one another to do more - just like Deanne always pushed us to do. It is a high honor to receive the Chamber’s Inaugural Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award and I will continue to try and live up to the example that Deanne set for all of us" What I took away was this: until you actually start engaging in your community, putting yourself out there, taking action, and listening to what people are saying, you will have a hard time even knowing who these quiet change agents are; much less allowing them to rub off on you. Our new generation of leaders is leading by example, action, and influence, not title and position. These leaders are committed to making a difference by standing up for their passions and the future of this city. More interesting though is the fact that they are committed to bringing us along with them. With people like Mike Griffin, and others I have met through Emerge, I feel that Tampa is in good hands...and Emerge is a great place for these hands to join together.