Kellan White, 29, is a city council staffer and son of long-time politico John F. White, Jr. He is also co-founder, along with his wife Nikki, of the Pattison Leader Group, a collection of ambitious, young change agents. This Saturday, they host their 2nd annual Pattison Leader Ball at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. All profits will be donated to the Monkey and the Elephant.
What motivated you to create the Ball?
In 2012 we went up to New York for the PA Society. We enjoyed Friday evening, which is relatively open to the public, but we found Saturday to be closed off to the average person. The flagship event, the PA Society Dinner, is an invite-only dinner that brings together the traditional PA “power brokers.” We felt as though young professionals should have a similar opportunity to come together. We found that there was no event that was attracting Millennials in this way, so we created the Pattison Leader Ball. We chose to name the ball after the two youngest governors in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
What’s the vibe?
Upscale and elegant, with a strong element of fun.
This is the Ball’s second year. How would you like to see it evolve?
We would like the Pattison Leader Ball to attract more attendees from across the Commonwealth—at the very least the five collar counties. The first year we had a few people from York, Montgomery and Delaware counties. This year we are expecting four or five counties in the Commonwealth to be represented. As the Ball grows, we would love to have an event happening in Western Pennsylvania at the same time.
We would also love to see more of the “power brokers” represented at the Ball. Coming together and networking is important, but the ultimate goal is to garner mainstream attention. We focus on bringing together Millennials and Gen Xers together but we also contend this is a generation of thought.
Our ultimate goal is to take this event and the organization (the Pattison Leader Group) and use it as a catalyst to mobilize the next generation of leaders—to empower this group to become engaged beyond voting, whether it be running for office, joining civic associations or just being fully aware of the issues and expressing opinions.
What has the response been?
The word is spreading. We are constantly emailing people to invite them, and they respond that they have already heard about the Ball and plan to attend. The most positive response came from the Leader family. Last year we sent them a letter requesting their permission to use their name. They were so supportive they sent the former Governor’s grandson to attend the Ball on behalf of the family. We can feel the momentum building behind this event and it is our responsibility to make sure that we do some good with the momentum and the engaged audience. We have plans in the works for a meeting in the spring, to get the ideas discussed on paper and create a platform of sorts. We are also planning for a fall service project. We are excited about where we can take this and we are ready for the challenge.
Tickets are still available at www.pattisonleader.com.