In just over a month, young professionals from all over the world will gather in Montréal to discuss the future of urban planning, entrepreneurship, technology and more across their respective cities.
Kia Ervin will be one of them.
Ervin was recently selected to attend Next City’s annual 40-under-40 Vanguard Conference, a four-day gathering of young leaders whose innovative ideas have helped to further advance their areas.
This isn’t a new concept to Ervin. As the executive director of Accelerate Delaware, a nonprofit initiative designed to increase millennial interest within the state, one of her main goals is to improve community development.
Out of a pool of more than 650 applicants, Ervin was just one of 40 to be selected for the program. She’s the only person from Delaware in this year’s class. Furthermore, she’s the first and only person representing Delaware to ever participate, Next City’s Sarah Schuenemann confirmed to us.
“It feels like a badge of honor,” Ervin said.
Ervin said the reason for her application was simple: she wanted to learn, share and explore ideas with others on how to go about promoting the progressiveness of a city. “I want to see what other people are doing in the industry,” she said. “[In Delaware,] there are barriers in place for millennials who want a walkable city. I want to learn more about what other cities are doing, figure out our similarities and differences, and determine what will help Delaware thrive.”
The conference will feature a variety of people from different departments, including government, architecture, art and civic technology. It will be centered around what Next City calls “citizen-driven urbanism,” and Ervin said she is excited to discover new approaches.
“I get a thrill meeting new people,” she said. “I really value diversity of thought, geography and ethnicity. The strong network, community and resources are what I really hope to take away [from this experience].”