Friday, April 27, 2007

What exactly is NET?

Formally, the Lehigh Valley Network of Young Professionals "fosters awareness of employment possibilities, welcomes new young professionals, supports community organizations, provides professional development opportunities, and engages in social networking."

Yeah, yeah you say. But what exactly does that mean? Let's look at it piece by piece.

One of the most active parts of our organization is social networking. Our First Thursday events consistently draw 60-80 people, sometimes more. Although we don't define "young professional" generally NET members hover in age between 21 and 45, with the average age being 28.

Although we certainly like to cut loose and have a good time, we are not a party or drinking club. However, many members go out together after our events which generally let out around 9 p.m.

We provide employment and professional development opportunities through events like our Connect: Business Card Exchanges. Held at art galleries, lofts and hip restaurants around the Valley, these events provide a more formal, business atmosphere which usually attract 20-40 people. Other professional development events we have held include business lunch etiquette and entrepreneurial events.

In addition to professional development, we also occasionally host educational classes of interest to young professionals like first time home-buying and financial planning seminars.

We support and volunteer for various community organizations, including Musikfest and the American Lung Association. And every year we collect cans for our November First Thursday for a local food bank. In addition, we are involved with Renew Lehigh Valley, an initiative to promote smart growth and revitalization in the Lehigh Valley. Community leaders are listening to young professionals, since we are vital to the future of this region.

Finally, the NET is the unofficial welcoming committee for all young professionals new to the area. The NET is a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people and get out into the region. We hold activities at a variety of locations, and will be able to help orient you in no time.

So what exactly is NET? It's what you make of it. If you just want to hang out, make friends and have a good time, fine. If you want to further your career, beef up your resume, and impress your boss, you can. Or if you want to get involved in the community and make a difference great! You can do all of the above. It's up to you.

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