Young professionals networkGet ready to connect. Superior Young Professionals host a kickoff celebration Thursday to promote social networking and development among young professionals in the area. If you live, work or play in Superior, this group’s for you.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Get ready to connect.
Superior Young Professionals host a kickoff celebration Thursday to promote social networking and development among young professionals in the area. If you live, work or play in Superior, this group’s for you.
“For the people who are new to town, we really want to be kind of that welcoming committee,” said Lynne Williams, a member of the SYP board and director of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. “We want to help them network.”
Getting connected can help newcomers settle in and encourage them to get involved.
“So many people come here for an education or stay and work,” said Erin Makela, board member and strategic operations manager at PureDriven. “But then there’s no real way to keep them networking, keep them engaged, so that they can grow their careers.”
Enter SYP, which was an offshoot of the 2011 Superior-Douglas County Leadership program.
“One of the ideas we had was retention of young professionals,” said Eric Siljendal, board president and branch manager for BMO Harris Bank.
At the same time, the big local news was Kestrel Aircraft’s move to Superior and an expansion at Exodus Machines. It seemed an ideal time to bring in a young professionals group that was truly Superior.
“There’s always been that need,” Makela said. “As we were moving through our careers a little bit, there seemed to be less and less activities or organizations that maybe our age group were really a part of.”
Superior Young Professionals already has a local cheering section.
“I think they’re going to bring vitality and energy and cohesiveness and much needed service,” said Michelle Hostetler, director of the Development Association, by providing “the glue that will keep young professionals here.”
“I’m hoping for wonderful things from them,” said Dave Minor, executive director of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce.
Young people these days have no qualms moving across the country, Minor said. A group like SYP can help them learn about the local landscape, from choosing a doctor or church to finding night spots.
“The more connected they feel to the community, the more likely they are to stay,” Siljendahl said.
The group is “timely, necessary and perhaps overdue,” said Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen. He said the organizers are very energetic and committed.
“I’m tickled pink they stayed with it two years,” Minor said.
Part of the reason they did was the groundswell of local interest.
“One of the things that really had helped us, I think, is the community really seems to want this,” Makela said. “We’ve had great community support. Business leaders are already coming up to us individually and talking about the group and wanting to know how they can help. And that has been wonderful, really wonderful.”
Along with social events, Superior Young Professionals will also offer educational opportunities.
“There are not a whole lot of outlets for people our age to understand, for instance, retirement planning or insurance,” said Sean Tenerelli, board member and sales engineer at Superior Lidgerwood Mundy. “This is an outlet for that as well, so we can all learn a little more, too.”
There are no dues, no membership requirements, no hoops to jump through to join.
“We don’t want to be a clique,” Williams said. “We want to make sure that we’re very open in all of our events” to provide an opportunity for people to mingle outside of their normal connections.
To learn more about SYP, stop by the kick-off event 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Nemadji Golf Course Clubhouse, 5 N. 58th St. More information is available on the group’s website, www.superioryoungprofessionals.com or their Facebook page.