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How Young Professional Organizations Can Aid Professional Success [Interview]

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You might have seen Brazen’s upcoming networking event for young professional organizations. But maybe you’re unclear on what these organizations are about and how they can help you professionally.

To find out more, I talked to Molly Foley of Madison, Wisc.-based Next Generation Consulting. Molly shared details about what young professional organizations do and how they can help your professional development.

Jaclyn Schiff: In short, what does Next Generation Consulting do?

Molly Foley: We’re a small market research firm, founded in 1998 by Rebecca Ryan. Our purpose is to leave the world a better place for the next generation and our niche is in bridging generational gaps and helping cities and companies create cultures that attract, retain, and engage young, educated talent.

JS: That’s neat! What is one of the most interesting findings from your research on young professionals?

MF: In terms of the workforce, “life-work balance” has different meanings for everybody and older generations need to better understand younger workers’ definition of “l/w-b” is more defined as having flexibility in how, when, and where they get their work done. It is less defined as the number of hours they want to work, which is what older workers tend to assume.

JS: So what exactly is a young professional organization (YP Org)?

MF: YP Orgs are organizations in communities that target the “under 40″ demographic and typically offer a customized, locally relevant blend of offerings, such as: social activities, civic projects, philanthropic efforts, political advocacy, volunteerism, and professional development.

YP Orgs play a key role in attracting and retaining a city’s younger workforce.  As “brain drain” becomes a critical issue in communities across North America, YP Orgs help their communities engage and retain talent by giving them a dynamic forum of their peers, committed to making a difference in their communities. There is no “recipe” for a YP Org.  Each city is different and YPs have broad interests and passions.

Molly Foley of Next Generation Consulting

JS: Okay, sounds interesting. How do you find YP Orgs near you?

MF: The best way to find local YP Orgs is to ask your peers or do a simple Google search for the name of your city and “young professional.”  Many communities have more than one kind of YP Org with different focuses. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce as many are affiliated with Chambers.

Next Generation Consulting also offers an online directory of more than 300 YP Orgs throughout North America. Click here to see if your state/city is listed. If you don’t see a listing but are aware of a YP Org in your community encourage them to post their information.

JS: There are so many things to get involved with outside of work. What are some of the benefits of joining these groups?

MF: Young professionals should take advantage of these groups in their communities for a few reasons: 1. Many offer great community engagement and development opportunities; 2. Networking options – developing strong relationships early on in ones career can help catapult success; and 3. We need stronger YP voices in our cities and YP organizations can help foster this advocacy.

JS: Do you have a favorite YP Org?

MF: Well, I have to be a little biased to the organization I helped develop, The Network, in the Quad Cities region (Iowa/Illinois). FUEL Milwaukee is another favorite group of mine because they really paved the way for this YP “movement” in many ways. FUEL was very lucky to gain community and business support early on, something many YP Orgs struggle with year after year.

JS: I hear that there’s a good opportunity for those who are already involved with YP Orgs. What’s the deal with that?

MF: The Next Leaders initiative was started to bring together leaders of the “YP movement”. Those emerging leaders and change agents who are passionate about building better places to live and work for the next generation. The primary goal of Next Leaders is to outfit YP organizations with the resources and tools they need to grow and engage their local young professionals.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! I’ve often wondered about YP organizations and what exactly they do. Now I know. :)

  • jery tohn

    This is great for people looking for jobs …

  • Bob Matharoo

    Nice post for young pros like me.. thanks for sharing….

  • http://jwschiff.tumblr.com Jaclyn Schiff

    Happy to provide valuable information! Next Gen. is doing some cool work. Hopefully I will connect with you all at the networking event this week!

  • http://www.biap.de Schimmel Göttingen

    Good post with a lot of valuable information for YPs !

  • Disgruntled Canadian

    The line(s) “Next Generation Consulting also offers an online directory of more than 300 YP Orgs throughout North America. Click here to see if your state/city is listed.” are misleading… this is not a North American listing!! It’s American only.

    • http://jwschiff.tumblr.com Jaclyn Schiff

      Thanks for pointing that out! It does not appear to have non-U.S. listings. Perhaps they’d like to attract a more international group…

    • Molly Foley

      Thanks for your comment. There are a handful of Canadian groups listed (i.e. Fusion Halifax). Unfortunately they are not searchable by Province, except Ontario, a tech glitch on our end – my apologies. This is also an “opt-in” directory. Groups are invited and encouraged to add their information to the list. We would welcome a larger international presence!

  • Kingofworld789

    thanks for sharing this amazing post its really informative

    maverick
    http://www.green-weightlosstea.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/briannaswartz Brianna Swartz

    I highly recommend young professionals interested in nonprofit employment or volunteer careers look up their local Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (aka YNPN). I’ve participated in the San Francisco Bay Area group for nearly four years now, and it has been THE pivotal experience in my professional career. Find a chapter near you at http://www.ynpn.org!

  • Banking Analyst

    Any suggestions for such a group in Toronto?

  • http://www.oem86.com oem86

    thanks for sharing,it’s usefull for interview.i like learn this experience

    juily

  • http://www.oem86.com oem86

    I am so glad this internet thing works and your article really helped me. Might take you up on that home advice you