This year, the Young Professionals Network of Howard County (YPN) will celebrate eight years since its inception. What follows are just a few of the reasons why you, or members of your company, should get involved with YPN.
1. Build Business Relationships: Networking is the key to success in any industry. What began with a small group of individuals nearly eight years ago has grown into a diverse and dynamic mix of people. This past year, more than 500 people attended YPN networking events. As participation has grown, so have members’ personal contact lists. It’s a great way to meet your peers, especially when you’re just starting out in your career.
2. Get Past the Receptionist: When you walk into any YPN event, take a look around — business and community leaders attend the mixers. On an average day, you’d have a hard time getting past the assistants to these top executives, CEOs and VIPs, but they actively attend YPN events and take the time to interact with its members in small group and one-on-one conversations. Members of the chamber’s board of directors in particular are happy to mentor young professionals and offer advice, community and professional opportunities, or business referrals.
3. YPN Is Going Places: Literally. YPN isn’t all work and no play. Each year, YPN organizes social events that are open to members and guests (including families). In the last year, the group has held a private walk-through of The Howard Hospital Foundation’s Symphony of Lights and attended an Orioles game. A special outing is being planned for this fall. In the past, YPN has organized a family pumpkin-picking event, participated in Howard County recreational sports and more.
4. Challenge Yourself: Wherever you are in your career, YPN can help you develop skills to move ahead. This year, YPN will be developing partnerships with local schools and colleges to offer advice and guidance to students as they prepare to enter the business community. Just a few weeks ago, YPN members took on a physical and mental challenge by participating in a team-building event on the high ropes course at Terrapin Adventures. Next time you see its immediate past chair, Wayne Johnson, ask him about the “flying bear.”
5. Give Back: Being part of the business community means you’re also a part of the community at large, and YPN takes that very seriously. At each of its networking mixers, the group invites a local nonprofit to share and distribute information about its organization. Each year, YPN participates in Howard County’s annual Relay for Life and also spends four Saturday mornings cleaning up its adopted stretch of Old Annapolis Road.
6. You Like to Try New Things: In addition to the other items on this list, YPN mixers give you an opportunity to check out a variety of Howard County restaurants and bars. Since last May, YPN has held mixers at Nottingham’s, Union Jack’s, Players Bar and Grill, Alexandra’s at Turf Valley and Merriweather Post Pavilion. YPN even was one of the first groups to hold an event at The Ale House – Columbia this past January.
7. You Are Never Too Old to Be a “Young Professional”: Don’t let the word “young” fool you. More than a quarter of the people who attend YPN events know what a 40th birthday feels like. Business and community leaders attend the events to meet the next generation of leadership in Howard County. No one will be turned away because of his or her age — just ask honorary “Young Professional for Life” Dick Story.
8. Find, Change and Further Your Path: Whether you’re between jobs, looking to change industries or considering advancing your education, YPN can help open those doors. The membership of YPN is made up of representatives from virtually every industry, which affords countless opportunities for professional growth and development. In fact, one of YPN’s annual sponsors, Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business, offers several certificate and MBA programs for any stage of your career (including a Professional’s MBA: a part-time, evening program perfect for working professionals). YPN also has been able to connect individuals who are out of work with potential employers.
9. You Want to Be a Leader: Whether it is on one of YPN’s committees or as part of its board, you’ll have the chance to develop your leadership skills. Besides, serving on its board and committees can be a lot of fun. Want to find out? Stick around after the mixer is officially over and get to know the current leadership of YPN. You won’t regret it.
10. YPN Is Ready for the Future: At the beginning of YPN, a Steering Team was created to drive the direction of this motley crew of young professionals. As of April 12, recognizing that it no longer “steers” the organization, the leadership will be known as YPN’s board of directors. In addition to this recent change, the YPN board met for a half-day retreat in October to explore and revise the mission, vision and values of the organization.
To ensure the continued success of the community through leadership, service, participation, innovation and enthusiasm.
To inspire emerging leaders in the community while enhancing personal and professional growth.
1. Service & Participation
2. Innovation & Enthusiasm
3. Principles & Leadership
Are you interested in getting more involved in YPN? Contact YPN Board Chair Andy Carmer at 301-497-3380 or email@example.com. More information on YPN can be found at its web site: www.howardchamber.com/youngprofessionals.aspx.