Home » YPAL Emerging Leaders Program: Professional development, recreation resonate with the young

YPAL Emerging Leaders Program: Professional development, recreation resonate with the young


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 28, 2016) – The Greater Louisville area offers an abundance of opportunities for professional development, recreation, special events and festivals – important elements of talent attraction and retention – but would benefit from improved marketing of these assets, according to graduates from YPAL’s most recent Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

The ELP is a three-month accelerated and intensive leadership development program for young professionals. The Fall 2016 ELP class chose to research “Quality of Life for Young Professionals” – focusing on parks and recreation as well as special events and festivals – and “Professional Development” – focusing on why young professionals engaged with YPAL and similar groups and what holds them back from increased engagement.

Research surrounding parks and recreation opportunities revealed that young professionals:

  • Want to lead more active, healthier lifestyles and welcome creative programming and recreational opportunities;
  • Are pleased with the Louisville Metro Parks system;
  • Want more creative programs that focus on fitness and relaxation;
  • Most value hiking trails, boat rentals, community gardens, bike trails and bookable event spaces as recreational offerings;
  • Desire a more centralized system for finding special events and festivals.

Research surrounding professional development revealed young professionals:

  • Want a wider variety of times and locations for networking and professional development events;
  • Would like to see more events specific to their industry;
  • Seek development opportunities geared toward small businesses and entrepreneurs;
  • Want more collaboration among young professional groups, the city of Louisville, nonprofits, and schools;
  • Would like to see young professionals working together on a larger scale to make a bigger impact on the community as a whole.

In both research areas, the ELP class found that while Louisville is not lacking in recreational resources or professional development opportunities, it would benefit from improved education and marketing efforts around them.

“This ELP class focused on some of the top categories identified by young professionals in our area and explored these categories through additional research such as focus groups, interviews, survey data and the comparison of our peer communities,” said Haley James, director of professional development for YPAL. “From this they were able to make recommendations to improve talent attraction within our community.”

Recommendations from the class include:

  • Creation of a centralized search engine that provides easy access to all recreational activities and special events in the metro area;
  • Development of neighborhood associations for area parks;
  • Improvements to existing bookable event space facilities;
  • Increased walkable park access;
  • Development of community gardens;
  • Increasing young professional volunteer opportunities;
  • Expanded times and locations for professional development events;
  • Guided and facilitated networking;
  • Expanded times and locations of YPAL events; and
  • Greater collaboration among young professional groups, employers and GLI to provide development opportunities geared toward small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“How Louisville attracts, retains and engages young professionals is the founding reason our organization was developed,” said Chris Nation, president of YPAL. “Throughout the years we have collaborated with and developed initiatives to help Louisville have a growing young professional community. The findings by our recent Emerging Leaders class were quite clear in showing that Louisville has many assets and opportunities available but needs to better communicate them. We will be sharing these findings with those in Metro Government, GLI, and other organizations to help equip and inform their own talent and marketing initiatives.”

The Emerging Leaders Program is presented by Yum! Brands, Northwestern Mutual, Underhill Associates & YPAL Cares, and includes twenty hours of training led by Chris Schulz, Learning Manager with Humana. The Fall 2016 ELP class concluded their coursework on December 6. The 18 graduates include:

John Ackerman, DMLO CPAs; Anthony Baker, Centric Consulting; Lauren Beckley, Greater Louisville Inc.; Lisa Brents, Nativity Academy; Cassie Chambers, Louisville Legal Aid Society; Holly Claire Griffitt Neeld, The Kentucky Center for the Arts; Tony Herdzik, KFC; Logan Hornung, Vibrant Nation; Lena Iwu, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Tyler Jury, Springhurt Family & Cosmetic Dentistry; Brad Mackin, Katherine Markuson, University of Louisville; Alexander Nauert, Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky; Daren Neel, Assistant Jefferson County Attorney; Alex Pauncz, Gorilla 76; Erika Rohrer, March of Dimes; Jessica Schellenberger, Pregliasco Straw-Boone Doheny Banks & Bowman; Amy Swenson, Universal Woods.

Applications for the Spring 2017 ELP class will open in January. For more information, visit www.ypal.org.


About YPAL:

The Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL) was created in 1999 after a study showed Louisville was losing its young people after college graduation to larger cities. Since its inception, YPAL has built credibility as a social and professional organization for young professionals in Louisville and Southern Indiana to be a conduit to connect to their communities. YPAL strives to connect and engage Metro Louisville’s young professionals through community, professional and social opportunities. More information is available at www.ypal.org.