04/29/09 — Chamber of Commerce starts young professionals gathering

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Chamber of Commerce starts young professionals gathering

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on April 29, 2009 1:46 PM

A new group led by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce is reaching out to young professionals to help them develop their leadership skills and to provide networking and social opportunities with other professionals in the area.

Targeting Young Professionals held its inaugural meeting April 22 at the Flying Shamrock Pub, where Patty Graham, director of membership and marketing for the Chamber, explained that a Chamber-conducted survey revealed interesting information about the demographics of Wayne County businesses.

"They found that a lot of our managers and supervisors in the area are of a younger generation," Mrs. Graham said. "We hope by pulling them together they'll learn a little bit more about the community and what the chamber is doing in the community."

The group of 25- to 40-year-olds will be like an arm of the chamber, and the group will be specifically targeting the needs of chamber members and employees of chamber members, member Julie Daniels said.

"Our committee will be the behind the scenes. We'll just be the support, the backbone," she said.

But the members will have the say in how Targeting Young Professionals develops. The chamber conducted a survey at the meeting to see what members would most like to see from the organization.

"We're going to really let it be the decision of the group, we're hoping it will be a leadership program," Mrs. Daniels said.

About 25 people attended the first meeting, which included icebreaking and networking games, free snacks and discussion about how the group may develop in the future.

Goldsboro native Brooke Hackmann moved back to her hometown last year to start a business, the Wayne Child Development Center, and said she heard about the meeting by email through the chamber. She decided to attend to help spread the word about her business and to be more involved with the community.

"I've lived in Goldsboro for about a year now," she said. "I want to get involved in something."

She also planned to bring her sister to the next meeting, too, she said.

Goldsboro Jaycees President Kelly Barber, who attended the event, said she hopes to see more young professionals come out to join the group.

"It's good to see young faces," she said.

Hopefully the group will help young professionals become more active members of the community, the organizers said.

"We are definitely looking for this age group to step up and become leaders," Mrs. Daniels said. "This is just a start."

The next meeting of Targeting Young Professionals will be held Wednesday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the Flying Shamrock Pub on North John Street. Call 734-2234 for more information.