Officers of the Lehigh Valley Network of Young Professionals were the only representatives from the Commonwealth of 16 such organizations across the state of Pennsylvania at a young professionals summit held in September.
NET President, Abraham Nemitz, Vice President, Wendy Gerlach, and Treasurer, Patric Dublin along with 133 other young professional leaders represented over 46,000 young professionals nationwide at the Third Annual YP Summit in Madison, WI. Young professional organizations are springing up around the globe and are influencing the way traditional business organizations, education associations and governments conduct business.
Madison MAGNET (Madison Area Growth Network) and Next Generation Consulting, a marketing group that aids businesses in attracting young professionals, hosted the conference. Attendance has grown 63% since 2005. Attendees learned how to build strong YP organizations, increase their individual leadership effectiveness and be inspired by how their peers are building better places to live and work.
Nemitz was one of only a handful of young professionals who held a seminar, speaking about how to reform a YPO’s board of directors. This was based on the NET’s recruitment of a new board of local "power brokers". Nemitz’s presentation illustrated that having an advisory board of senior leaders can open doors to resources in the community.
“The national YPO conference is a tremendous opportunity to meet other Young Professional Organization's around the country, learn best practices from them, and share our experiences, as we are all united in the common goal of stopping brain drain and attracting and retaining an exceptional young talent pool to our communities,” says Nemitz.
"This conference has reinvigorated my involvement in the NET," says Gerlach. "It was a great opportunity to meet other officers and staff members of young professional organizations and share experiences, frustrations, and successes."
NET officers were surprised to find that most YP groups are funded and run by the local chamber of commerce. The NET, on the other hand, is an independent entirely volunteer run 501-3c non-profit corporation.
"Even without chamber funding, we manage to have more events per month than these YP groups," says Gerlach.
Still funding is limited.
"We are constantly seeking businesses to sponsor marketing materials and events," says Nemitz. "Looking ahead, we hope to hire a full-time NET employee to further expand our reach. This will take significant funding, which we are actively seeking."
The YP conference wasn't all business however, the NET officers had an opportunity to bond during the conference's Amazing Race.
"We had to go all around the town gathering clues, talking with businesses, and answering questions all about Madison," explains Gerlach. "It was a great team-building activity as well as a chance to get to know Madison really well. I think I might know Madison better than Allentown."
The NET intends on sponsoring a similar Amazing Race event in the summer of 2007 for the NET's annual interns program. The NET Summer Interns program is a series of events held from June through August in which area interns get to experience some of the various activities the Lehigh Valley has to offer.