Do you remember your first networking event? I know you’re a veteran, a pro, now, but do you remember that very first time you made the leap to put yourself out there?
It was intimidating, awkward, maybe even a bit scary, but after you spoke to that first friendly person and they took your fears away, it became easier and easier to engage and network. And now you couldn’t imagine your business success without it!
That’s what the Young Professionals (YPro) of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce (SPACC) seek to do. Introduce young professionals to a chamber setting in a fun and rewarding way – the way networking should be! We are introducing the future leaders of this town to what can be a huge asset in their business-tools arsenal.
If you’ve never been to a YPro event, our events encourage all young professionals (and young-at-heart professionals!) at different stages in their careers to meet, mingle and create lasting relationships. Isn’t that what networking is supposed to be all about?
This month, we met at the beautiful Penfield Apartments in Lowertown. We couldn’t ask for a better event – cocktails and grilling out on the beautiful patio, 84 degrees and 65+ eager young professionals in attendance.
At the event start, I meet Gina, new to the Chamber, YPro, and networking in general. Her deer-in-headlights look signals that she might need a friend to guide her through her first event. I explain the friendly nature of our events, how we can help introduce her to anyone she’d like help meeting, and encourage her to approach anyone at the event – we’re all here to meet people!
I walk her in and we start chatting with other YPros. The spark catches and ignites – success; another networker is born.
I try and greet as many people at the event as I can – as part of the YPro Committee our mission is similar to that of the Ambassador Committee – to help members get the most out of their membership and to encourage a great first experience for newcomers so we can hopefully show them the value of SPACC and get them aboard! Everyone I meet is in a great mood and I see lots of connecting happening.
At about 7:15pm – well after the event is over, I see Gina again, now with three new friends who are also newbies to YPro. They all vow to meet up next month for the June YPro event, Progressive Dinner. How rewarding it is to see friendships made, business relationships start and fun being had by all. All in a day’s work at YPro!