YPN: Growing Opportunities for Young Professionals
By Lauren Fosheim
As part of the Chamber's efforts to have constituents meet with elected officials with its Inside Washington series, YPN members also have had opportunities to sit down with South Dakotaâ€™s Congressional delegation in small groups.
In its first five years, the Sioux Falls Young Professionals Network has established strong programs, provided networking opportunities and grown its membership to more than 900.
With the purpose of creating business opportunities, supporting civic involvement and promoting an overall investment in the future of Sioux Falls, the YPN started in 2009 as a program of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. YPN brought together a group of young leaders interested in creating a community geared toward the retention and attraction of young and diverse talent to Sioux Falls.
"Creating the YPN was such a forward-thinking idea by the Chamber to get more young professionals involved in our community, and really start developing future leaders on a large scale. I've been honored to be a part of it since the beginning," said 2013-14 YPN Chair Megan Myers American Heart Association. A founding member of the YPN, Myers also attributes the organization's development and networking opportunities a big part of her family's decision to stay in Sioux Falls.
As part of the 2013 Crossroads Summit, YPN members helped package food for Feeding South Dakota.
Led by a 23-member Steering Committee and three Action Teams, YPN has consistently allowed its members to be actively engaged in the world around them and develop the skills they need to be successful in both their personal and professional lives.
In the first YPN Mentoring Program, 37 YPN members were selected and placed in groups based on an application process, and each group was assigned a mentor. These groups will meet regularly with their mentor, who will provide their groups with knowledge and guidance based on their own personal experiences. Julie Nelson, Senior Vice President and Business Development Officer for Great Western Bank serves as a mentor for a group focused on Leadership Development.
"I am energized by the young professionals in our community. It's a great opportunity to build relationships, learn from the experiences of others and tap into the talents of our future leaders," Nelson said. "The YPN mentoring program provides an opportunity for everyone to win — the participants, the mentor and our entire community. I feel honored to be a part of the program."
The mentoring program kicked off in March, and will continue through March 2015.
YPN members participate in Wine and Canvas.
YPN's focus on personal and professional development and providing social engagements for its members through a wide variety of events has contributed to its successful growth in the past five years. Events like the YPN Morning Buzz, Power Lunch, and Off The Clock provide opportunities for members to network and connect in a casual setting. A Seat at the Table offers a personal look into the experiences of an established community leader. Community Connections Tours and the Our Sioux Falls events take a behind the scenes look at what's happening in the community. All YPN events are held throughout Sioux Falls, exposing the group to more of what the city has to offer.
YPN members can attend seminars, workshops and forums throughout the year. The information is designed to provide young professionals with personal and professional development opportunities.
Moving forward, Myers has expectations of continued growth of the YPN. "Through our programming, I really do believe we have created a more informed population of young adults who are showing the broader business community our potential, and our willingness and ability to be the future leaders of our state and region. That will only continue," says Myers.
The YPN will officially celebrate its 5th Anniversary on April 24 from 4-7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. The 5th Anniversary Celebration is open to all current members and anyone interested in learning more about the YPN.
For more information about YPN or any YPN events, visit siouxfallsypn.com.