NEWTON, NJ - “The Young Professionals of Sussex County is a way for people under 40 who are on a career path in Sussex County to make new business connections and friendships with others in the same situation, within the context of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce,” said Sean Hyland, co-chair member, and employee of the United Way of Northern New Jersey.
Hyland explained, “The Young Professionals Committee holds monthly social-networking mixers, hosted each month by a different area restaurants chosen by geography and appeal to younger people.”
Committee Members Include:
Dawn Gomez - Chairwoman, Garden of Life Massage & Yoga
Chris Wolverton - Member, HQW Architects
Jennifer Lynch - Member, Genesis Insurance
Bill DeBoer, Jr. - Member, DeBoer’s Auto
Ryan Barber - Member, Barbershop Studios
“The social-networking mixer is meant to be somewhat informal than a straight up networking event,” Hyland explained., “Allowing people the opportunity to relax and get to know one another, with the potential to grow helpful business relationships, rather than just swapping cards and calling it a day.”
“The group is committed to developing young/junior professionals through business meetings and educational programs creating networking opportunities for young professionals to build relationships and reach their full potential,” said Tammie Horsfield, President and Spokesperson for the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce.
“Social-networking mixers are great fun and a good way to make new connections, but the other aspect of the Young Professionals group is educational, with a focus on mentorship from those at the top of their respective industries. To this end in May 2012 we held the first annual 'Speed Mentoring' event hosted by Farmstead Golf & Country Club in Lafayette,” said Hyland.
The “Speed-Mentoring” event had participants placed in groups of three to six, and were given 10 minutes to as a group to talk with mentors from the business community.
Mentors included: Tom Caines, Clear Vision Coaching; Don Hall, Chatterbox Restaurant; Tammie Horsfield, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce; Chuck Roberts, Ames Rubber Corp; Tom Madsen, Tom Madsen, LLC; Sara Megletti, PB&J Stores; Tom Ryan, Laddey, Clark & Ryan; Frank Warr, HQW Architects.
“Both participants and mentors felt it was a worthwhile event and got a lot out of it. Attendance by young professionals from Chamber of Commerce member businesses was free of charge,” said Hyland.
“After graduating college, I found it difficult to find professionals my age to work with in Sussex County,” said Wolverton, “The Young Professionals of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce has allowed me to connect with a whole new group of diverse professionals that I probably would have not encountered otherwise. These connections, as well as those made during the Young Professional’s mentoring events will assist me as I develop in my career and personal life.”
"After I opened Garden of Life in 2003 I became a member of the chamber of commerce," Gomez said. "It made sense to me to participate and be active in the chamber's events and committees. My participation paid off. The center gained business and the trust of the community, and after a few years I was asked by chamber president, Tammie Horsfield, to co-chair the Young Professionals Committee.The Young Professionals is not only a forum to meet with peers socially, but also to bridge the gap between greener and more seasoned professionals through educational events and networking."
“Personally, I have made some great new friends at the socials, visited restaurants I wouldn’t normally have gone to that I think are great and also got some business out of it. I think the same could be said for a lot of people who attend the socials,” concluded Hyland.
2013 Upcoming Events (Social events run from 6-8 p.m.)
March 20, Social - O’Reilly’s Pub & Grill in Newton
April 17, Social - Sheridan’s Restaurant & Tavern in Andover
May - Special Education Programming - To Be Determined
June 19, Social - Down To The Bone BBQ Company in Byram
July/August - No socials or events
September - December - To Be Determined
Attendance at more than two socials is limited to members of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce. If a young professional in Sussex County is interested in coming to a social, please join the Young Professionals at their next event, where they can discuss advise potential members how to become more involved with the Young Professionals of Sussex County, and, the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce. Call the chamber office at (973) 579-1811 for more information.
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