Q: Can you explain your role with the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga and what that might bring to the Young Professionals of Northwest Georgia?
A: Right around the time I started at the Chattanooga Chamber in June of 2010, the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga (YPAC) approached the Chamber to explore ways the two organizations could partner. I was 34 years old and the only member of the Chamber's management team that fit YPAC's demographic profile, so our CEO asked me and our VP of Finance and Administration to meet with YPAC's Board.
Those discussions quickly moved from partnerships to discussions about YPAC becoming a program of the Chamber, and we worked
out a three step process to merge the two organizations. Once the transition was complete, YPAC became a program withi
n my department at the Chattanooga Chamber. In the end, the merger served the best interests of both organizations. YPAC gained
stability and credibility because of its association with the Chamber, and the Chamber gained access to the next generation of business and civic leaders in Chattanooga.
After the merger, my role with YPAC transitioned to mentor and head cheerleader. I rarely made decisions for the organization, but I did my best to advocate for them and provide good mentorship to the board. I'm most proud of two things YPAC and I accomplished together. First, YPAC really matured as an organization over the course of the time I was working with them. Their events took on a more professional look and feel, and their financial situation improved as well.
Second, we created a non-traditional mentorship program called Protégé Chattanooga. Protégé Chattanooga is an eight month program that allows eight young professionals to meet as a group with eight different business and community leaders. Protégé has become one of YPAC's most sought after signature programs over the last four years. Our first graduating class even gave me one of my favorite and unusual bowties!
I think I'd like to play a similar role with YPONG; mentor and head cheerleader.