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‘Access and Opportunity’ afforded to YPAL members

By Kathie Stamps

YPAL affords members opportunities to be involved in their local and state governments.
YPAL affords members opportunities to be involved in their local and state governments.

The millennial generation will comprise half the workforce by 2020. Will your city’s commissions and boards of directors be represented with young professionals’ voices and insights? In Louisville, raising the awareness for YPs themselves to serve on boards is one of the priorities of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville.

YPAL’s 2016-17 president, Chris Nation, has a goal of creating good pipelines of communication and partnership with community leaders and elected officials.

“We have especially paid close attention to how we can use the influence of our organization to be an indispensable champion to attract young talent to move to our city,” he said.

Convincing YPs to stay in Louisville was the reason YPAL was formed in 1999 at the behest of former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson. Today’s membership base is 850 strong, with the organization hosting an average of 60 events each year, all designed for professional development, connecting, engaging and networking.

“The value of membership in YPAL, I believe, can be summed up in two words,” Nation said. “Access and opportunity.”

Community outreach programs provide volunteer opportunities. The annual YP Day at the Capital is YPAL’s invitation to young professionals across Kentucky to meet with state leaders in Frankfort. A series of community talks this year is encouraging YPs “to engage in meaningful dialogue with city influencers around topics such as affordable housing, food justice, poverty and safe neighbors,” according to Nation.

Through various social channels, YPAL members engage with other young professionals across the country.

“We can instantly participate in national dialogues or simply share our perspectives about why young professionals from Chicago, Austin or Nashville should consider Louisville to be their next opportunity to live, work and play,” Nation said.

Nation is director of client services at Quantum Communications, an advertising and public relations agency in Louisville. He joined YPAL four years ago. “I saw the value it provided early on,” he said, “and I knew I wanted to be involved in leadership.”

Over the past two years, YPAL has been collecting and developing research to provide data about young professionals across the region. “We hope you see us as a hub of information, best practices and a model for being advocates for keeping and retaining the brightest talent in the commonwealth,” Nation said.

YPAL has strong relationships with organizations in the River City, including Greater Louisville Inc., Leadership Louisville Center and Louisville Metro Government, because YPs are important to the economic success and growth of the city. When businesses are looking to relocate or to grow, they look for talent.

“We need this millennial talent moving into Louisville and engaging in entrepreneurship,” Nation said, “selecting our city as their destination to raise their family and participating in our vibrant arts, parks and cultural attractions.”

It is the young professionals who are “changing the way we think about the corporate culture, employee communications and philanthropic giving,” Nation said. It’s a change that will continue for years to come, and Nation believes “the companies that are already adapting to these changes in the workforce will be better positioned for success.”

Learn more at ypal.org.