Windsor Chamber woos young professionals

The Windsor Chamber of Commerce is adapting to a changing market by beginning a networking group for young professionals.

 

The Young Professionals of Windsor grew out of the realization that typical chamber meetings were not meeting the needs of younger members, those between the ages of 21 and 40, officials said.

 

“Millennials do things differently,” said Jane Garibay, founder of the Windsor group. “They don’t like civic meetings, they like social.”

The group meets after hours at taverns or restaurants and is focused on socializing and building relationships with other young business people. The group’s next meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Buffalo Wild Wings. The group will meet at 7 p.m. for socializing and trivia night.

 

“It’s just a little bit of a different atmosphere,” Garibay said. Younger members were not responding well to the meeting set up of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, she said, as civic meetings seem to be going out of style.

 

When Garibay, a New England Chamber of Commerce executive member, went to a board of professional development meeting and heard about Young Professionals chapters, she thought it would be a great idea to bring the same concept to Windsor.

 

“I really like millennials,” she said. “They’re a great addition to the workforce.”

 

The group has a leadership board, and in addition to networking, it allows core members to get leadership experience to put on their resumes. They make financial choices, plan events, and manage a group, she said.

 

The group also has lunches with successful professionals where members  can ask about how they became successful, as well as guest speakers at some of the regular meetings.

 

Membership costs $20 or $35 depending on current status as a Windsor chamber member.  For details, call 860-688-5165 or email YPW@WindsorCC.org.

Other area chambers have tried similar initiatives, but opted to bring young people into the larger group.

 

“It made more sense to incorporate those just getting started with people who had more experience in their fields,” said Candice Corcione, executive director of the Tolland County Chamber of Commerce.

 

The Greater Manchester of Commerce also used to have a young professionals branch, but it is no longer in operation.

Originally published by the Journal Inquirer

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