By Liesl Greathouse

MONTROSE-The Montrose area has been attracting professionals of various ages for years now.  To create an atmosphere for those professionals to thrive in both their work and personal lives, the Montrose Young Professionals group has revamped itself to provide more value and opportunities for people in this area.

Started about seven years ago, the mission of Montrose Young Professionals is ‘to create a community for young professionals to build and foster relationships through professional development, philanthropic involvement, and economic development in order to cultivate a higher quality of life in our community.’

The organization focuses on three specific areas: YP Social, which creates an opportunity for people to connect both as friends and colleagues; YP Grow which provides for the educational side of things, including helping people develop both professionally and personally; and YP Give, which supports the local community through large events including a coat drive and a food drive.

In recent years the group hit various roadblocks and began to dissolve in terms of memberships and attendance at various events.  That is where the current steering committee came in, comprised of Chelsea Rosty, chair, Thomas Keller, co chair, and Ashley Pietak, Montrose Chamber of Commerce Representative

“The original steering committee had dissolved, so I tried to keep things up,” Ashley explained.  “I reached out to members of the group who were still attending events and who really wanted to keep it going.  We decided to revamp it and we are excited about getting people talking about Montrose Young Professionals again.”

“We facilitate ways for people to get together, make friends, do business, and give back to the community,” Chelsea said.  “We also provide opportunities for meaningful professional education at a low cost.  We help bring people in to help people grow professionally and personally.”

The recent kick-off event for the group was held at the end of August and welcomed 60 people together for an evening of great networking.  “All the feedback from the kick off event has been awesome,” Ashley said.  “People are super excited and they liked that we kicked off with speed networking which forced people to interact outside of their regular groups.”

“We received a lot of comments from people,” Chelsea said.  “The biggest thing that we have heard is that people ‘did not know there are so many young professionals in the area’ and that they really enjoyed the event and are looking forward to the next one.”

While there are various aspects to the group, the relational goals for the group’s activities are some of their favorites. “Personally, I really like connecting with people and gaining friendships that I would not usually have,” Chelsea said.

“I love the networking,” Ashley added.  “I also believe that giving back to the community is super important in any group.  It’s very powerful and speaks of young professionals in the community.”

With a group with a name like ‘Young Professionals’, of course there can be a bit of confusion about who is allowed to attend.  Both Chelsea and Ashley wanted to encourage people to not be put off by the name.

“We don’t exclude certain age groups,” Chelsea explained.  “If you are a student who is interested in learning about business, someone who is self-employed, a stay-at-home mom interested in making connections, or someone interested in this group as a business working opportunity, it is not limited.  It is a community get together in a social and professional setting.”

“Some of the confusion comes from people who do not fit the ‘typical desk job’,” Ashley added.  “This is a group for young professionals to come out and grow a community with like-minded individuals.  There is no certain age [or work] demographic.  ‘Young’ could mean young in your professional career or new to Montrose.”

The Montrose Chamber of Commerce is especially excited for the revamping of the group  “As an outreach of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, the Young Professionals group encourages young professionals to bond together throughout the community and business settings,” explained Executive Director Jenni Sopsic.  “The board of directors and I appreciate the dedication the steering committee has to growing the Young Professionals membership and programming.  If you are a young professional or have a young professional on staff, I invite you to get involved with this fast growing group.”

The Montrose Young Professionals would also like to thank Casey Wareham with Major Mortgage for being the appetizer sponsor at their kick off event. If you are interested in having your name and business promoted before and during YP Social events, opportunities are available and it gives the group the ability to host YP Social events without charging.

The next Young Professionals event will be a YP Social event on Sept. 24, 5:30-7 p.m.  All events are held at The Bridges Golf & Country Club, 2500 Bridges Drive in Montrose.  While a paid membership is available (with additional perks for members at the Young Professionals events), all the events are open to non-members.

This fresh beginning for the group has unlocked a lot of potential that the steering committee is hoping to see with the group.  “I would like to see the community grow and see people get involved,” Ashley said.  “Our ultimate goal is building relationships, and in the Montrose community relationships are still important.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing Young Professionals grow,” Chelsea said.  “It has been a really long process to get to this point and I see more and more opportunity for the group to flourish.”

For more information, call 249-5000, email or check them out on Facebook.