13 Reader Comments
Posted By HIVE 2015 - A Look Back - December 27, 2015 on 4/28/2016 4:34:41 PM
Looking back on the year, one word comes to mind to describe it; amazing!
2015 and my time as Chair of Hamilton HIVE have been truly unforgettable.
We started the year with three major goals:
- to strengthen our member engagement
- to strengthen our HIVE brand
- and to acquire Non-Profit Organization status
I am so pleased to announce that we were able to accomplish everything we set out for! With a hardworking team comprising of my Executive, our Sub-Committee Chairs, and our Board members, along with the unwavering support of so many people and organizations in the community, Hamilton HIVE was able to achieve many levels of success this year!
Throughout 2015, Hamilton HIVE held various social networking and professional development events, we grew our umbrella to have 23 amazing member groups ranging from all sorts of industries and professions under it, and our flagship event, HIVEX Conference, is still considered the largest and best young professional conference in the Golden Horseshoe Area!
Our largest accomplishment this year was acquiring the designation of Non-Profit Organization. As a Young Professional network, we work hard to provide resources, opportunities, and networking events to our peers. As an NPO we will now be able to be there more than we ever were for our members and our community. Most importantly, with the NPO designation, it helps with Hamilton HIVE’s succession planning and sustainability. Something all YPNs hope to have. Our ultimate goal as an organization is that we want Hamilton HIVE to be the organization people come to to navigate in the city and to enhance their time in Hamilton. We want to be the organization that shows that Hamilton is the place young professionals can prosper and succeed in their personal and professional life.
2015 was a great year for Hamilton HIVE! This year just goes to shows that 365 days can change an organization in many ways, and 365 days allows the organization to alter the landscape of the city in great ways as well.
This past year I have been extremely honoured to have been the Chair for Hamilton HIVE as well as a Board of Director for the Young Professionals Network of Ontario. As I look back on the year, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me, Hamilton HIVE, and the YPNO reach new levels of success and who helped us cross off our goals from our list. You have all been truly wonderful to work with and for!
Although my time as Hamilton HIVE Chair and Secretary for YPNO have come to an end, I look forward to my position as Past-Chair and advisor and I am excited to see what the 2016 teams have in store!
Once again, thank you for your continued Hamilton HIVE and YPNO support and love! Many blessings and continued success to each and every one of you!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Chair, Hamilton HIVE
Adding value to YPN membership
Posted By Adding value to your YPN membership on 4/28/2016 4:35:37 PM
Adding value for your members is important - especially if you are charging a membership fee - but where do you start? Is your YPN reaching its full potential? Here are some ideas for ways to add value to your member base.
Speak to businesses about providing member specials or discounts
This can be a chance to promote local business while appealing to your members. Find out if businesses are willing to provide member benefits – many restaurants will offer discounts if approached. You may also wish to canvass your membership to see if there are young professionals within the group who are willing to provide incentives. For example, you may have a member that is willing to provide a group rate for home and auto insurance.
Provide members-only events
Members-only events can be special events such as whiskey-tasting nights, cooking classes, complementary membership appreciation barbeques, or educational events with guest speakers. Not only does this provide value to your current members, but it may also be motivation for new people to join so that they can be included in the fun.
Offer advertising opportunities for members
You may want to add a members directory to your website so that members can look within the group for referrals or professionals for their own needs. Additionally, you can add member announcements to an email blast or newsletter. To avoid overwhelming your membership with sales pitches, I would recommend limiting email announcements to charitable or non-profit endeavors.
Hold an annual awards ceremony to recognize exceptional members
Show appreciation for achievements within your membership by holding an awards ceremony at the end of each year. Some categories you may consider are: Young Professional of the Year; Young Entrepreneur of the Year; and Community Involvement by a Young Professional. Reaching out to local businesses can help subsidize the cost of the physical award and the venue. You should add your sponsor’s name to the trophy or plaque and invite them to attend the ceremony to present the award.
Organize mentorship opportunities
A mentoring program can help freshly designated professionals or individuals new to the community connect with those who are more established. You may wish to have members mentor younger members, or you can partner with your local chamber of commerce to have individuals matched with persons outside of the membership.
Each community has different opportunities for membership benefits. Get creative! Talk to your members – they may have ideas of benefits that they would appreciate or would be willing to offer.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting a YPN?
Posted By Starting a YPN in your community? Great insight from a recently formed group… on 4/28/2016 4:35:47 PM
Recently Hamilton HIVE welcomed our newest member group under our umbrella. In our five years of existence, this group is HIVE’s lucky number 23.
The HIVE Executive and I recently met the Co-Chairs of the newly formed YPN. During our meeting, we discussed several helpful tips that would be useful to anyone wanting to start their own YP group.
Some things from that conversation, and for your consideration:
At the early stages of starting a YPN, brainstorm ideas of what you want the group to do, what you want it to accomplish, who you can partner with and so forth. From there you can decide what the purpose/mission/vision of the YPN group will be
Use social media to inform and educate your audience. Provide them with several reasons to follow and like you
Ask your questions. Don’t be afraid to talk to other YPN’s, your City hall, your Chamber, your parent organization. There are many experts in your city, so ask your questions to get to where you want to go
Network. Attend as many other YP events as possible. Get to know the key players in your community and get them to know you and your group
Gather a team of likeminded individuals who are willing to take this journey with you. It is easier to get your new group known if there is a team behind it. Working alone may mean slower results and more time and effort expelled
Most importantly, everything is a process and things take time! Don’t be discouraged that you haven’t planned an event yet, or that your social media platforms are still in the single digits, a following and brand recognition will be won as time goes by
Lastly, remember why you are getting involved and why you are doing this as well as who you are doing it for. When you remember the “why” your journey to start a YPN will be easier and filled with more laughs and results
Good luck to all those who are starting your YPN! Have questions? I/Hamilton HIVE is happy to help! Contact email@example.com
YP Can't Survive on Espresso
Posted By Young Professionals Cannot Survive on Espresso Alone… on 4/28/2016 4:36:05 PM
More than ever, Young Professionals are stepping up and playing key roles in organizations both within a workplace and on a volunteer basis. We are jumping in with both feet to better our communities, grow and contribute in the workplace, network and build relationships, contribute to causes we are passionate about and more. With the endless opportunities available to us, and the time commitment that comes with them, it is important to recognize that taking time to unwind is equally important as all of the other things we have on the go.
Demands are just that – demands. There is endless pressure on us to increase output and say yes to every request. So much so that it is not easy to commit to taking the time necessary to do something for you, or acknowledge that taking this time will actually have a positive impact on everything else. If you’re not at your best, you can’t expect yourself to produce your best.
Taking time to balance yourself doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation (although, chances are you’ve earned it!); there are many simple ways to do something for yourself, to help you be at your best:
- Don’t work through your lunch break – it’s a break for a reason! Get out and exercise, meet a friend, take a nap, read for pleasure… these are simple ways to give your mind and body a bit of a refresh.
- Schedule your down time – it may sound strange, but when asked if we can take something on, many of us reach for our calendars to confirm whether or not we are available. Down time isn’t necessarily binge watching a show on Netflix, it could be designated time to spend with family, or a get together with friends who are likely equally as busy.
- Turn work off at a certain time each night. Understandably, there are times when you just have to get it done, but think of the time you select to turn work off, as a deadline. Set a realistic goal for what you want to accomplish by that time, and commit to shutting down when it arrives. A variation of this is to shut down from when you walk in the door til after the kids are asleep. You can get a lot done when your world is snoozing – but don’t forget to get some sleep, yourself!
There are many ways you can choose to lead a balanced life; the real first step is granting yourself permission.
Director of Personal & Professional Development – YPNO
Past Chair, Nexus Young Professionals – Kenora, Ontario
Summer and the living is Easy
Posted By Summer and the living is Easy on 4/28/2016 4:36:31 PM
With meetings and networking events taking a break to cool off from the summer heat, your social calendar may seem empty, leaving you to wonder how to spend your summer days and nights. Here are some easy tips to make the most of the season in the city you call home.
Expand – Your Networks
The best way to know the city is to know the people. Make new connections. Throughout the year we find ourselves at various Young Professional events, networking with like-minded individuals, industry experts, and community leaders. Since these networking events are few and far in between one another during the summer, it’s a great time for you to meet other individuals in the city who may share the same hobbies and interests as you.
Do you like sports? Join a team/intramural club, or become a coach. Want to be more engaged in the community? Volunteer! Interested in learning something new? Sign up for community workshops or classes.
There are so many organizations to get involved with and so many ways to share your talent and hone your interests, all the while meeting new people in the community.
Expand – Your Waistline
Eat! Drink! Be merry! Make your way to that new hot spot, have a picnic in the park, explore the Farmers Market, order from a food truck, enjoy a food festival (or two), or get dolled up to enjoy the city’s 5 star eatery. Summer is a time when you can go to the places you have always wanted to dine in, or to finally make the recipes you have dog-eared in your recipe book for months.
Indulge in the delicacies of your city; trust me, your taste buds will thank you for it!
You may think you know your neighbourhood; but do you actually know your city?
Most of us are comfortable with our daily routines; we are creatures of habit after all. This repetitive action blinds us from uncovering the hidden gems that are certain to be in your city.
An easy way to discover new and interesting places, people, shops, etc is to simply get lost. Be a tourist in your own city. Put on your sneakers, or hop on a bike, or drive to purposely get lost, and just explore the little nooks and crannies of your community.
By getting off the beaten path that you are normally on in your 9-5 life, you will uncover so many great things.
With hardly any networking events or after work commitments in your calendar you are left with plenty of extra free time, use it by enjoying the many community events happening in your city. Be it a festival, concert, movie night under the stars in your local community park, dancing by the waterfront, or even trying an endurance obstacle course (like Tough Mudder or Spartan Race). There are so many way to enjoy the city through the events that it holds only in the summer.
This season is always a great time for everyone; but with these Easy tips, you will definitely be able to enjoy the summer a little bit more. So get out there and experience your city’s local culture!
Chair, Hamilton HIVE
5 Tips For Your First Event
Posted By Five Tips To Nail Your First Networking Event on 4/28/2016 4:36:42 PM
So you’re getting into networking, and it’s a little weird. You’re nervous. I get it. We’ve all been there, and it’s natural.
Young Professional’s events are without a doubt the best place to begin your networking experience. Networking is a life skill, no matter your profession. Play with it. Have fun!
I’ve been directly involved with leadership in the Young Professional’s scene for about four years now. I’ve watched the orchestration of event after event, month after month. One of the things I enjoy most about YP events is watching the room. Seeing the variations in flow and conversations. Watching people genuinely enjoy others. Even watching awkward moments play out. YP events are different than other “Networking” events, I know this because I’m told so on a regular basis, and I completely agree.
Mainly it has to do with a young & vibrant energy in the room. People like it. It’s real.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this energy that people like. The energy they come back for. The energy they talk about & tell their friends or co-workers. The kind that makes the YP events FUN. One of the biggest factors to this energy is the dynamic of the attendees. It’s incredibly diversified every time. Doctors, Bankers, Engineers, Lawyers, Nutritionists, Gardeners, Marketers, Insurance, Real Estate Agents, Software Engineers, Designers, Florists, Graphic Artists, Illustrators…. You name it. I’ve met some totally unexpected and interesting professionals, in really neat industries.
Out of this sometimes crazy diversity the room is usually something like this: one third first timers, one third occasional networkers and one third regular networkers. The regulars are great at helping you warm up to networking, it will be easier to talk to them the second and third time and so on.
It’s the first third I find interesting; the excited and nervous first timers.
These are people who have never attended a networking event before, it’s literally their first time. How can every event have one third of it’s attendance as first timers month after month? “Where do they come from?” I’ve often wondered.
A lot of them won’t come back. It creates this void and somehow it’s always filled by a whole new group of first timers.
I think I know why some people don’t come back; they didn’t enjoy their experience. Some just aren’t cut out for it, but I believe most of these un-enjoyable experiences could be avoided.
Here are five simple tips to make your first networking event a hit, sending you back for more.
- Just be yourself… no, seriously! Be real. People will love you for it. If you put Fake out you’ll get fake back. Don’t be fake.
- It’s totally ok to tell people it’s your first networking event. I guarantee you 3 out of 10 people will say “Me too!” and 3 out of 10 people will be pros and welcome you with open arms. Being humble is an admirable quality and the seasoned networkers can’t help but take you under their wing. They’ll lead a great conversation with you, make it easy, and then likely facilitate an introduction to someone else they know.
- Be the curious one. You’re afraid to talk and sound silly? Intimidated by having you elevator pitch sound right? Ask questions. This is one thing MOST people pick up naturally. But don’t stop at “what do you do?” dig a little deeper. Then switch gears and ask them why they come out to networking events. How long they’ve been doing it. What they like most about their job. Switch gears again and ask them non-work related questions like what they like to do for fun. Where they like to eat. What they’re doing this weekend. People don’t always open up right away. It’s amazing where conversation can lead you, and the commonalities you’ll find if you give it some time.
- Quality is better than Quantity. Quality is better than Quantity. Yes, I said it twice, because it’s important. There may be one hundred people in the room, and if you only connected with five in two hours, that’s ok. Some people think they need to connect with as many people as possible. How can you establish a good connection in just a quick moment with each person? If you’re finding a great conversation with someone keep it going! If you click that’s great. That is exactly the person you’re looking for. ENGAGE with them!
- A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E. I’ve saved this one for last. This goes for just about anything in life. Attitude is everything. If you can figure this one out and live by it your life will be fulfilling, I promise you this. If you go into the networking event with a good attitude you’ll come out happy. Don’t set expectations. Don’t worry about anything. Just go and enjoy this opportunity and this exciting time to meet some really neat people. Some you’ll never see again, some will become clients, and some will even become good friends.
Chairman of the Kitchener-Waterloo Young Professionals
YPNO Director of YPN Development
Think Down The Road
Posted By Think down the road.....far, far down the road. - Happy Canada Day! on 4/28/2016 4:36:52 PM
Year after year, Canadians spend the 1st of July celebrating Canada and everything that it means to Canadian. This year was no different. As Canadians, we have so much to be proud of. The 148 year history has defined who we are as a nation and where we are headed. What we often forget, is all of the work, time and struggle that went into creating that history. Canada didn’t just happen to become a great country…it happened because 148 years ago a group of individuals had a vision, worked together to make that a reality and then for almost a century and a half, Canadians have worked hard to mold Canada into a strong, proud nation.
What do you think Sir John A. MacDonald would have thought about 148 years ago at the signing of confederation? Do you think he would have expected to have had such a profound impact on the future of our Country? Do you think he would have expected that his legacy would have reached 148 years into the future?
All we have to do is look around, there are plenty of examples of Canadian institutions and organizations that have had an incredible impact on our communities, provinces, country and the world as a whole. Do you think their founders wondered how long their organization would last? Or what kind of impact that organization would have? The chances are they saw an opportunity, they knew that their vision could have an impact and they had the drive and dedication to turn that vision into a reality.
As Young Professionals Networks representing the interest of Young Professionals in our own communities, sometimes we forget to think about what the future might hold for our organizations. What would it be like to look back, 30, 40 or 50 years from now at what our organizations have helped our communities accomplish. When we reflect on what it was like to be involved is something like this in the early years, I bet we are going to feel a sense of accomplishment and will be proud of the fact that we learned from the challenges…building support, buy in from members, and proving the nay-sayers wrong.
Regardless of what the future might hold for your Young Professionals Network or other group that you’re engaged in…just remember that Canada wasn’t built in a day. It took this country 148 years to get to where it is today and there is still a lot of work to do. Have a vision…a long term goal…and then work every day to make it happen.
Co-Founding Chair - Young Professionals Network of Ontario
Connecting a Disconnected Gen
Posted By Connecting a Disconnected Generation on 4/28/2016 4:36:59 PM
As a graphic designer and a young entrepreneur, I am always looking at new ways to reach people and engage / connect with the community. It was by chance my career took me to London, where I saw great opportunity to do this. London is a city filled with creative talent and ambitious young graduates who are ready to tackle the world. So why is it that so many feel the need to escape London after they graduate? Don’t get me wrong; originally, that is exactly what I had planned to do as well. Study, party, graduate, get out. But why is this? The thought that there is more potential in a city like Toronto? The rumours of no work in London? I think I was just discouraged.
What I didn’t know then, and what I have come to learn now, is that London has huge potential for start-up business’ and entrepreneurs. My challenge? Making the rest of the students coming to London and graduates leaving realise this.
Luckily, I found some help with YPNO. I wasn’t the only one encountering this problem, it was happening across the province, and organizations like YPNO were here to help.
So Project Connect was started.
In a world where everyone is connected through multiple social media applications and in touch in so many ways, why is it they feel so disconnected from person to person experiences. It’s because we are! Engaging in community events and social networking in person is so fundamental to creating new relationships that lead to referrals and can grow your business. I look forward to what the future brings with YPNO.
Engaging your YPN
Posted By Engaging your YPN: Prevent burnouts through member engagement on 4/28/2016 4:37:08 PM
In speaking to other young professionals who have spent time volunteering on boards, committees or an executive, almost all have run into the same problems time and time again; there is not enough capacity to deliver objectives; members are busy; there often is a scramble for extra volunteers at the last minute. In a perfect world, anyone who becomes involved in an organization at a governance level also has the time to commit to board activities, however; life gets busy and often things fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast and alternative tactics can be employed to ensure continuous growth of the organization or group.
For those who tirelessly work in order to keep the magic happening, time may be better spent by trying to engage individuals from the general membership in order to share the workload rather than an active board member potentially “burning-out”. Here are some quick tips on how to engage members to add capacity to an already strapped board of volunteers:
- Create subcommittees – offer a volunteer opportunity to your membership through the creation of subcommittees. Whether it be planning an event or helping with the review of your YPN’s bylaws, there are strengths and resources in your membership and many members are happy to help and get involved. Subcommittees increase your capacity and offer volunteer opportunities to members which are priorities for most YPNs. Win-win.
- Give it away! – Encourage members to make their volunteer experience their own. By incorporating simple accountability practices, members have the tools to ensure progress of their project. Accountability also offers ownership of a project. Allowing time on board agendas for subcommittee updates promotes leadership and gives members the opportunity to make their initiatives their own while contributing to the YPN as a whole.
- Recognize – If your YPN is fortunate enough to have members who are willing to step up to the plate and pitch in when needed, it is important that those members are recognized. Whether it is through a short speech at your AGM, or through a formal award, volunteers are an excellent resource, so it’s best to ensure those individuals feel valued and stick around for next year.
- Offer more – An engaged member is a valuable one. Encourage them to become even more involved by letting them know how to run for a seat on the executive or mentor them for other governance opportunities (e.g. YPNO).
An engaged membership is a great membership. Offering volunteer opportunities to members increases capacity, but more importantly, shows commitment to helping young professionals reach their full potential through hands-on experience. Opening the doors to the boardroom encourages dialogue for new ideas, partnerships and promotes lasting memberships.
Communication Director, YPNO
Learning To 'Adult'
Posted By Learning To 'Adult' on 4/28/2016 4:37:20 PM
My name is Bevin and I live in Sarnia, Ontario. I started at a new job last September, as a Mentorship Program Coordinator with our local workforce development board. The program seeks to find mentors for individuals who are new to Sarnia, or new to their career field. I reached out to our local young professionals group to recruit mentees for the program, except, when I finally contacted them, it seemed as if the group had lost momentum. Events hadn’t been planned in a while, and there was no structure for the group, no committee and no real active members. So I took the initiative, got a group of people together and started moving the group forward again.
When I look back at the last nine years since I graduated from university, I realized that I didn’t have much to put on a resume about any “extracurricular, or volunteer activities.” When thinking back even earlier to my high school days, I practically ran my high school involved in every group, club, and organization that existed within the school (I was even somehow in the chess club, except, I don’t even know how to play chess). I was a doer, I loved planning events and being part of fundraising activities. I loved being involved with doing things for the greater good of people. And then I got to university and that all stopped. For some reason, I lost that part of me, and I didn’t get involved in anything. Maybe it was the intimidation of the huge number of people around me, or the unhealthy relationship that I was involved in, but I stopped doing all of those extracurricular things that I once enjoyed. That is until the day that I started this job. For the first time in my career, I had a boss that encouraged me, that believed in me, and who reminded me that being part of my community was a good thing, and could really help me in my career.
Nine years into my career, I have had a lot of different jobs. Contract to contract, trying out new things, things I might enjoy or not enjoy, but whatever it takes to pay the bills. Too be honest, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m hoping that being part of Young Professionals, being a part of my community and doing the things that I loved to do, again, might help me to figure it out. Our group is small, but it’s growing, and the community is starting to see that we are here, and we are motivated to do things. Our group is really trying to encourage Young Professionals to get involved in the community by joining Boards of Directors, and volunteer for local organizations. Our group is helping young people to learn to “adult”, and to try to learn all of those important life decisions, that they don’t teach in school. We are helping our members to network, and to build the community around them. Our group is proud to be a part of YPNO to share our ideas with the other like-minded individuals in the province and to be part of something bigger. My hope is that our group continues to grow, and somewhere in it all, I figure out what it is I am meant to be.
Mentorship Program Coordinator, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board
Young Professionals of Sarnia-Lambton
Meaning of Young Professionals
Posted By What Does the Term 'Young Professionals' Mean to You? on 4/28/2016 4:37:33 PM
After connecting with dozens of YPNs across Ontario, uncertainty seems to have emerged regarding the term, “Young Professionals.” Does the wording differentiate?
The main goal of a Young Professional Network is to bring together motivated, ambitious, and committed employees from all sectors in the working world in a welcoming and progressive environment to help cultivate personal and professional development.
However, for some individuals, the term "Young Professional" seems to suggest someone in a white collar position, distinct from those in other fields including trades. However, this is far from the truth.
Young professionals represent the future of our province and the Young Professionals Network is dedicated to help make our environment and economy a stable one by assisting young people in the working world. This applies not only to the white collar workers but to those in all career sectors.
This need to clarify the term comes in the wake of a question posed on by YPN Ontario to their Facebook followers: "What is your definition of a Young Professional?" One person from Thunder Bay responded with: “I'm a believer that age is just a number and that to be a young professional the individual would have to quickly adapt to change, be innovative, and have a clear vision for the future of his/her community.”
We agree with the above statement as it doesn’t refer to a specific working class but embraces a group of people with like-minded thoughts and goals who gear themselves towards building a better future for their community.
YPN Ontario plans to clarify the notion that “young professional” is not confined to white collars but is a phrase that is meant to embrace young employees in all sectors of work. YPN Ontario plans to do this by connecting all YPNs together to create a clear, consistent view of the organization, what it represents, and how it can assist young workers.
We would love to hear your feedback and ideas on how we can market to young employees in all sectors of work. We welcome emails: firstname.lastname@example.org or please call our intern: 1 (807) 624-2623. Ask for Brittany.
Posted By Seeking Adventure on 4/28/2016 4:37:48 PM
To know me is to know that I'm an adventure seeker. Trying new things, going to new places, pushing the bar higher and higher is what I like to do. I have solo skydived, bungee jumped North America’s highest bungee height, was a contestant on Wipeout Canada where I have the distinction of being the fastest female in the country for the Qualifier Round, I've been crowned Miss Philippines, and am a big independent travel enthusiast. Being one who tries anything once is someone I`m known to be.
This quest for adventure in my personal life extends to my professional life as well. Currently, my biggest and best adventure is a daily one, as the Chair for Hamilton HIVE. Myself, along with my Executive team and our Board Members regularly communicate, collaborate, and engage with our 23 (and growing) member groups, their members, and the over 270, 000 young professionals in our city. Through events, workshops, HIVEX – the biggest YP Conference in the Golden Horseshoe area, and conversations on our various social media platforms, we try to enhance the experience all of these individuals have in Hamilton as much as we can…and this is an exciting activity! Who? What? Where? When? And most importantly, Why? Are always asked. Finding these answers, finding new answers, is never boring. I encourage my fellow YPN Chairs, member organizations of YPNO, the OCC, and other supporters of the young professional movement in Canada to be adventurous, separately and together. Let’s push the bar higher and higher, and let us see what amazing things we can do as a collective. Independently, Hamilton HIVE’s presence as a YP group in the province is small one, but put all the YPNs together, under the YPNO umbrella, our presence in the province will be a strong one and our voice, a loud one. Together as a group, as YPNO, we can accomplish great things and I look forward to seeing what adventures lie ahead for all of us.
Chair, Hamilton HIVE
Posted By Making History on 4/28/2016 4:37:56 PM
Well we're finally here, making history by launching the Young Professionals Network of Ontario (YPNO).
The idea was first crafted a couple of years ago after identifying a missing network between the dozens of YPNs across the province. Each amazing YPN was being led by dedicated leaders and community volunteers with a focus on engaging young professionals in their own communities. Each one was trying to grow and retain their own memberships, hosting value-added events, engaging governments at all levels, and also facing their own set of challenges.
Today, we're creating an opportunity to learn from one another. YPNO is a forum to bring thoughts, ideas and best practices together. A chance to learn from each other's successes and failures. A chance to inspire all communities in Ontario to have a Young Professionals Network. The fellowship that comes from a member feeling welcome to attend a YPN event in any community in the province.
We're also proud to now have a common voice for young professionals in the province of Ontario. There are key decisions made every day that affect our futures, and now we'll make sure we have a place at the right tables. Please bring forward issues facing your members, let our voices be heard and our faces be known.
Thank you to the entire YPNO Steering Committee for their hard work and determination since Spring 2014 in planning for this important launch. The Network will continue to grow and have influence. Imagine a day when our kids and grandkids become YPNOers; telling them stories about the early days of this organization and how we were all part of changing Ontario for the better.