Success? YEP: New organization fosters communication between young leaders
Published 8:49 am Monday, May 2, 2016
The turnout at the inaugural Young Elizabethton Professionals meeting Thursday proved an important point to the group’s founder.
“It tells me there are younger people that live and work in Elizabethton that care about the future of Elizabethton,” said Kris Yarlett, YEP founder and president. “And from the other side, the support we got from organizations with leaders older than 40 sent people as well, and that’s because they also care.”
After work Friday, 24 of the new group’s members met at Beef O’Brady’s for a casual networking opportunity unlike any other in Elizabethton.
“At the core of what we’re doing, we’re going to be an organization that provides a venue for networking for young professionals to get to know each other and to become friends,” Yarlett said.
Members represented Carter County Bank, the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, East Tennessee State University, TLC Massage, Edward Jones, the City of Elizabethton, the Elizabethton Star, United Way and various others.
Members said they felt comfortable at the meeting and already felt more connected in the community after just one meeting. Member Josh McKinney, the new community impact coordinator for United Way, said it helps to be able to put faces with the names of people and organizations. He said he now feels he has contacts and is building relationships.
“Being new to my role in this community, it can be intimidating looking for ways to develop the relationships I need to be successful,” McKinney said. “The atmosphere at YEP was different from other formal events, because a group of my generational peers understand that difficulty and have dealt with it themselves. In this regard, YEP has the potential to unleash new leaders in this community in a way that few other organizations can duplicate.”
Whether the organization will serve solely as a networking board or whether it will take on projects has yet to be determined. Yarlett presented a tentative plan for bylaws suggesting officer positions, meeting proceedings, and bi-annual service projects. He said members would decide what they want the group to look like.
The board mimics the Chamber of Commerce for members under the age of 40. In communities, these boards act invarious communities and may do service projects, plan social events or simply work together on shared goals. McKinney said he thinks the board has great potential to make an impact in the community.
“I like to see it as a networking organization, but I think it has a lot of potential to address needs in the community that aren’t seeing enough attention from the rest of the community, because of our interests and age,” McKinney said. “This could really be a vehicle for collecting those ideas into initiatives and to make things like that a reality.”
The group will meet on the last Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at various local venues.