“Chasing” Our Dreams, with Chase Untermeyer


By Akhila Mamandur

HOUSTON: Saturday morning, Chase Untermeyer, suits, ties, dresses, and a room full of young, ambitious high school students. What more is needed to describe the intriguing, yet professional environment that is created to foster these young teenagers’ future careers?

On September 24, 57 high school juniors and seniors of YLDP (Youth Leadership Development Program of Houston) gathered to listen to the honorable Chase Untermeyer, a former U.S. ambassador during the George W. Bush administration. He vividly described his experience, on how he got himself to the successful position in which he is in today — and while he reminisced about his past, what the students liked best was that he started from the day he was born. This is exactly what teenagers, normally confused on how to proceed with their near futures, need when they listen to speakers. They are college-bound, yet confused little souls that need some guidance on how to attack this next, grandiose phase in their lives— and Chase Untermeyer provided them with just that. He went on and described how all it took to reach the turning point in his life was being actively involved in his community. He started off small, and ended up bigger than he ever imagined to be. This was just the type of encouragement and motivation these kids needed to hear. As busy adolescents, with a lot on their minds, teenagers are prone to questioning the reason for everything:


“How does volunteering help me?”

“What about all my other activities?”

With such ease, Chase Untermeyer was able to provide one simple answer to all of our questions: it is vital to start from the bottom to reach the top. As leaders in our schools, communities, and future leaders in our respective fields of work, we were able to gain some clarity on how the work we do today, so many years from the apex of our successful professional careers, will aid in gaining knowledge and experience on work ethic involved in working with others, and more importantly, achieving confidence in our abilities to communicate effectively and carry out duties without hesitation.