Launched in June of 2009, the YPCPA is a non-profit Canadian corporation that serves as a unifying social and professional milieu for Canadians of Polish descent. The YPCPA organizes and runs various social, professional, and educational events and programs geared towards meeting the aforementioned mandate. Among its most recent projects, the YPCPA counts having organized the Quo Vadis II Expo in Windsor in 2010, and more recent the Quo Vadis III Conference in Toronto. Other projects include: the 3rd Annual YPCPA Golf Tournament, a Symposium focused on relations between Canada, Poland & the European Union, co-organized School of Leaders for the Polish Community in Canada and the United States (SLP), the Play Poland Film Festival in Ottawa, and the first ever leaders summit in Ottawa at Parliament Hill.
YPCPA holds regular meetings, participates in a number of conferences and face to face discussions with partner organizations, community business leaders, as well as Canadian and Polish government officials. As a result of its constant activity, the YPCPA has garnered the attention of both local and international media, being featured several times as an up-and-coming, active player in the Polish-Canadian social and business fields.
In order to better achieve its mission, the YPCPA has implemented a number of organizational structures; it is comprised of a board of directors, a group of qualified individuals collectively held responsible for setting the vision and clarifying the organization’s purpose, and regional executives/project managers, who plan and execute specific projects and events relevant to their local chapters. Both of the above bodies are assisted by a board of seasoned advisors with an array of expertise, who are actively engaged in assisting these young leaders in their pursuit of the overall betterment of our diaspora community in Canada.
YPCPA members aim to collaborate and inspire others to implement positive change and growth within both the Polish-Canadian and Canadian communities alike. Our goal is to contribute to the betterment of the community as a whole, all the while honouring our commitment to being an organization known for its professionalism, integrity and heritage. YPCPA offers opportunities for personal growth and professional actualization. We welcome any individuals interested in pursuing this goal to join us in this endeavour.
Young Polish Canadian Professionals Association (YPCPA) aims at going in a new direction, one that not only embraces our past successes but aims for future ones, utilizing technology, cooperation, social activism and political participation to achieve our institutional goals. We as a group have an outlined organizational structure that enables stakeholders with specific skill sets to perform appropriate functions within YPCPA while maintaining transparency and accountability. This is accomplished through a structure that includes members, executive members and a Board of Directors. All three groups are inversely accountable to each other and all share a common purpose. This purpose is the establishing, promoting and furthering of goals and concerns of the young Polish Canadian community.
Having close to a million citizens with Polish ancestry within Canada gives an organization like YPCPA a potentially large pool of support, funding and skilled individuals to draw upon. YPCPA believes in harnessing those resources through a clear and transparent statement of objectives and leadership. This comes from reaching to our audience through the consistent offering of beneficial services to members and sponsors. These services range from social, political, educational, as well as cultural events, which enrich the members’ interaction with their community.
YPCPA’s activities include business, social and political involvement. We believe in fostering mutually beneficial relationships with our business partners as well as municipal, provincial and federal representatives as a key to furthering the interests of all Polish Canadians. The association actively pursues all opportunities to build relationships with members of the Canadian and Polish businesses and governments in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas and strengthen ties between the two. It is the goal of YPCPA to be an organizing power that can bring together key individuals and direct them towards bettering the lives of the Polish Canadian community.
By Monika Wilk & Martin Grzadka, Co-Founders:
How did you come up with the idea of YPCPA?
The original idea for an organization that eventually developed into YPCPA was written as a thesis for the application to attend the first ever Szkola Liderow Polinijnych (SLP) program in early 2009 by one of the co-founders Marcin Grzadka. The basis was a need for an organization that catered to young professionals age 25 to 40 was missing in our Polish-Canadian community. As we were developing our professional careers and were also interested in meeting other professionals within the Polish-Canadian community. A great turn out for the very first Quo Vadis Conference in Ottawa in May 2009 was proof that young Polish Canadians have interest and are excited about working together and exploring their dual identity. The goal of our first event was to gauge the interest of professionals between ages 25-40 in the Grater Toronto Area (GTA). Having seen the interest and the demand for such an organization, the next step was to create a frame work of events that would cater to this specific market. The goal of these events was to expand on the interest of social, cultural, business and political aspects which became the focus of the organization.
What was the driving force behind YPCPA?
2009 was a year that started a movement in the Young Polonia community by motivated young people that catered to interests of the new generation. Between the Quo Vadis conference, Szkola Liderow Polonijnych (SLP), Poland in the Rockies and YPCPA we were able to meet people that were like minded and also had a similar vision, especially to improve the image of Polonia in Canada. Our common goals were to build a new brand of young Polonia in Canada. Mentorship from Prof. Walter Perchal was crucial in staying motivated and having a plan of action, to get to know each other to support each other and work together. The initial speech made by Prof. Walter Perchal in Ottawa at the first Quo Vadis still resonates with us today. After that speech a question was posed to Prof Perchal “What is the critical mass to start this movement?”, his response was “All you need is one.” Further goals were to build relationships with the Polish establishment (i.e. Polish Senate, MSZ, Presidential Palace), work with the local Consulate in Toronto and Polish Embassy in Ottawa. These bodies were actively engaged in assisting young leaders in the pursuit of the overall betterment of our Diaspora community in Canada.
Why is YPCPA unique?
Our generation of young professionals is in a unique situation because there is very little new immigration to Canada. Most of our generation’s young people are fully integrated, educated and raised in Canada. At the same time are still emotionally connected to their country of origin, Poland. Our common goal is to explore and promote both Polish and Canadian interests. Simultaneously Poland is also looking to increase its prominence in the world with over 20 million of its citizens living aboard.
YPCPA is the first young professionals organization for Polonia in Canada. Since 2009 there have been a number of countries that have used the YPCPA model in the development of similar organizations. YPCPA of course is always happy to work with and mutually benefit from global collaborations. Together we can break through stereotypes, establish a significant representation in the media, politics, business, academia and arts. We have no limit to what we can accomplish and we have the potential to leave a significant mark on the Polish Canadian community.
YPCPA holds regular meetings, participates in a number of conferences and face to face discussions with partner organizations, community business leaders as well as Canadian and Polish government officials. As a result of its constant activity, the YPCPA has garnered the attention of both local and international media, being featured several times as an up-and-coming, active player on the Polish-Canadian social and business fields.
What was your goal as Co-Founders?
It was important to develop an organization that we would identify with, made up of like minded people that are educated, professional, ambitious and have strong sense of heritage. This new organization needed to be independent, non-for profit with a strong vision, and mission. Wanting to explore our dual identity we felt it was important to build relationships with the Canadian establishment but also with Poland and showcase the modern, successful young Polish Canadian talent. Along with our members our goal was to explore the contemporary and fast developing Poland of today. It was important that the organization is able to function beyond the active involvement of its co-founders; therefore having an open organization was part of the starting goal. This would allow for anyone who has the skills and ability to take on leadership positions within the organization and know how to leverage its potential in the future.
Vision for the Future of YPCPA and its members?
YPCPA is developing into a recognizable brand and community standard which highlights the achievements of Polish-Canadians in the multicultural fabric of Canada. YPCPA is on a path to become a role model not only in the Polish Canadian community but for other young ethnic communities. The organization has the potential to expand the membership and the chapters across Canada and internationally. Through our experience and mentorship YPCPA platform can form a support system for the development of young professional such as education, networking, career opportunities. YPCPA vision is to further form a wide network of achieved, diversified and connected members that will collaborate together for the betterment of the Polish Canadian communities. We want YPCPA to become a recognized organization as a strong partner, innovator and leader.