Montrose 21/40 Supports Youth Leadership

By Caitlin Switzer

MONTROSE—It is probably fitting that the local 21/40 Young Professionals group has weathered so many changes in its brief existence, since adaptability appears to be a strength shared by many of this generation’s youthful leaders.

Created under the auspices of the former Montrose Chamber of Commerce (now part of the Montrose Association of Commerce & Tourism) three years ago by then Executive Director Terri Leben (now with the Montrose Women’s Business Alliance) 21/40 held a “re-kick-off” on St. Patrick’s Day in 2011, and is headed by an independent steering committee.

Angela Halsey, 35, is one of the founding members of 21/40 Montrose, and remains active in the organization, which she notes is not “membership-focused.”

“It’s a nationwide concept,” Halsey explained. “People come and go as they please; the idea is that like-minded people can draw together for strength and education.”

The group, which hosts regular luncheons and networking socials, usually draws around 35 to the lunches, and around 50 to the networking socials, said Halsey, who spends her days of director of marketing for NuVista Credit Union.

“I would like to reach more young professionals,” she said, “and share ideas about how to get local college kids to want to come back home. The key for our age group is that nobody is left behind; our mantra is ‘keep it simple.’”

To ensure that all who come to the group’s gatherings are welcomed and encouraged to participate, 21/40 holds icebreakers in coordination with its networking socials, she said, noting that many young professionals grew up as latchkey kids with working parents, and are predisposed to empathize and suspend judgment.

“We don’t discount anybody,” she said. “We know where we came from, and where we are looking to go. We are selfstarters, and self-sufficient. We all know that we have to work, and we embrace change to the best of our advantage. Some of us are entrepreneurs. And we understand our philanthropic duty to our community.”

In October, 21/40 Young Professionals plan to hold a fundraiser, most likely in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County. To learn more about upcoming 21/40 events call 970-249-5000 or email Montrose214OYP@gmail.com.