AYP: 250+ members strong
The Aiken Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals organization is in the middle of a productive eighth year. The 256-member group of 22- to 39-year-olds is engaged in numerous activities that include networking events, educational programs and community service projects, all designed to nurture future leaders of the greater Aiken area.
Third Thursday is AYP’s monthly signature networking event that provides members the opportunity to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere. It also offers businesses in the community that host the group, the opportunity to market to the select demographic which AYP represents.
“We have been overwhelmed with the outreach and support we have received from our local businesses, new and old alike,” said Eric Brinkley, AYP 2015 chair. “The excitement they show when hosting AYP is reassurance that young professionals have a place and a future here in Aiken.”
The group also participates in a variety of community service projects. Among the activities volunteers have participated in are the City of Aiken’s first community Earth Day event, updating a common room for the teen girls who live at Helping Hands and participating in and raising funds for Aiken Relay for Life.
“Our membership is broad, with even broader interests. Because of this, we strive to offer our members multiple ways to give back to organizations that are close to their hearts,” said Allison Brinkley, AYP Community Service Committee chair.
AYP will continue its community service projects this year by participating in a Project Vision ramp build and cleanup day with the United Way, assisting Aiken Downtown Development Association with the Aiken Oktoberfest and planning a special holiday event for senior citizens.
Professional development opportunities are offered to members throughout the year. The IN Crowd™ seminar was presented in June by Amy Kilpatrick of Nspired Networking. The seminar focused on the development of strategic alliances, conversion of clients into referral sources and innovative marketing techniques to increase referral opportunities. An automotive care workshop for female members, Heels on Wheels, was presented by Wayne’s Automotive. Lionel Smith, Ltd. will host an upcoming workshop for the male members later this year covering dressing for success.
Aiken Regional Medical Centers will host two Dine and Development events for members this fall. The first event in September will include a meet and greet with Aiken Regional’s new CEO, Vance Reynolds. This will be followed by a tour of the hospital and discussion on health topics affecting overall well-being and work/life balance. A second event will be held in November to coordinate with the national men’s health movement, Movember.
In September, a delegation of AYP members will attend the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and LeadSC Young Professionals Summit in Columbia, SC. At the summit members will learn about personal and professional development, community impact and South Carolina business issues. They will network with the state’s top business leaders and legislators and have time to connect with peers from across the state.