Attracting and retaining young professionals has been a hot topic among Columbus leaders for several years, and the city's ability to nail down a strong workforce will shape its future in coming years. One person devoted to that project is Robbie Banks, an ambassador for the Columbus Chamber.

Attracting and retaining young professionals has been a hot topic among Columbus leaders for several years, and the city's ability to nail down a strong workforce will shape its future in coming years. One person devoted to that project is Robbie Banks, an ambassador for the Columbus Chamber.

I was born and raised in Columbus. My whole life. I grew up on the South Side, and then in high school we moved to Olde Towne East. I currently reside on the South Side, the Children's Hospital area.

My job at the chamber is to wake up every day thinking of how to make Columbus a stickier city for young talent. Our focus, since I've been here, has been on retention in all aspects. You know the old saying, "It's much easier to keep a customer happy than it is to attract a new one."

The key to success for anyone is building relationships.

I feel like this position was my calling. I feel like I'm a great advocate and spokesperson for Columbus and why it's so great. I'm truly homegrown. I've actually left Columbus, but not to live. I have left for vacations. [Laughs]

The coolest place I've traveled is Japan. My sister was in the Marines for 21 years, and I had the opportunity to go visit her. That was my graduation gift when I finished undergrad. That was an amazing experience. It was gorgeous. It was cherry-blossom season. There's so much rich culture.

My favorite thing about Columbus would have to be the people, just the diverse group of individuals that I meet all the time, whether they're from here or they're transplants. That's what makes our community great - we're inviting and accepting of all people.

If I were to pick a specific place in town, I feel the most at home or most alive in German Village or Short North. I feel like I never get bored. And I definitely love our parks.

Someone I admire is my mother. She's very even-keeled, always calm. She has been the rock in our family. She's just been an example of someone who's very hard-working and always giving back. Without even thinking, she would give someone the last dime in her pocket.

I have three sisters and two brothers. I'm lucky. Being the youngest one, I learned from all their mistakes. I was an aunt, I think, at age six. It was more like having a little brother.

One thing I'm good at is helping people feel and look good. [I like] this whole idea of image consulting, helping people piece a wardrobe together. I've done it for fun, and then a friend of mine said recently, "You need to do this. This should be your gig."

Three things I can't live without are concealer, fruit and music.

The best advice I've ever received is, more or less, someone telling me that I need to not worry about what other people think. You can't please everyone, and I'm such a people-pleaser. Lately, I've really had to learn not to have to go so far out of my way to make everyone happy, because I know that's impossible.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.