Working to provide volunteer, networking and educational opportunities to its members, the Edmond Young Professionals (EYP) organization has extended its reach to college students, including those at Oklahoma Christian University.
Alumnus Matthew Boydstun, a member of EYP, attended Oklahoma Christian from 2000-2004, where he was involved in chorale, the Chamber Singers, musicals and operas, before graduating with a Liberal Studies degree, with emphasis on Bible, psychology and communications. Boydstun now serves as the Managing Funeral Director at Baggerley Funeral Home and Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery.
“While I was at OC, I was not sure about what I wanted to do, hence the Liberal Studies major,” Boydstun said. “Through a family connection, I met a cousin who went to church with a funeral director and he got me a part time job working at a funeral home in Del City just for the summer — washing cars, mowing lawns and sometimes helping with funerals. I thought that was interesting but still was not completely sure if that was what I wanted to do.”
Boydstun said that, after working at Office Depot after graduation, he decided he wanted a career and not just a job, so he decided to attend the University of Central Oklahoma to pursue a Funeral Services degree.
“Since I already had all the general education courses, it was only going to take me a year and a half,” Boydstun said. “While at UCO, I worked as an apprentice at a couple of funeral homes, which is a legal requirement to become a funeral home director. As soon as I graduated and passed the different state exams to get licensed, I was offered the job as a director and I have been doing that for almost 10 years now.”
According to Boydstun, the skills he acquired in all three focus areas of his major at Oklahoma Christian helped him make the transition to funeral home director, especially the art of controlling emotions and understanding the psychology of grief.
“The strength in my faith; it definitely helped me with my own personal understanding of what happens when you die,” Boydstun said. “That foundation of faith helps me deal with very difficult situations on a fairly regular basis. We deal with a lot of elderly people who pass slowly or pass away in the night, but we also deal with other tragedy — younger people, children, suicides — and if I did not have my own faith to help ground me, that could be psychologically detrimental.”
Since Boydstun works to “meet people before they need him,” he began to get out in the community in order to be a face for his business, leading him to find involvement with the Edmond Chamber of Commerce and later, the EYP.
“I started meeting people, making more business connections and then someone finally invited me to the EYP program, which is a subset of the Chamber,” Boydstun said. “It is basically for young professionals, 20-40 years of age, or young at heart. We have a lot of educational events, a lot of networking events, and also do some things, like play volleyball without an agenda, that are just fun.”
According to Boydstun, Oklahoma Christian students do not have to wait to graduate before taking advantage of a membership with EYP. Dues are $10 per year for college students and EYP works to have at least 2-3 events per month.
“We had a Leadership Latte at the Brew recently, where the CEO of Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream came and talked to us about his journey, how he came to own Dippin’ Dots and his philosophy of life,” Boydstun. “It is just a good, open forum to ask leaders questions and a way to get some face time with political leaders that you otherwise would not feel comfortable approaching.”
EYP also hosts monthly Lunch Brunch meetings and volunteer opportunities. Recently, the group volunteered with the Miracle League organization and spent time playing baseball with children with special needs.
“Especially for seniors who are getting ready to graduate, it is a great way to be like, ‘I am graduating with this degree. Who do you know that is hiring? Who should I talk to? Is there a mentor I could get paired with?’” Boydstun said. “We know a lot of people and can connect you and pair you with people in the career path you are pursuing.”
According to Boydstun, EYP can also build relationships and gives college students a “leg up” on the competition as they begin looking for jobs after graduation.
“It is one thing to email someone a resume, but it is another to get a personal introduction from someone who knows somebody,” Boydstun said. “There’s the old cliché, ‘It’s not what you know but who you know.’ That is not completely true, but who you know helps you get through the door and then you can get the chance to show what you know.”