AYP launches eighth year
The Aiken Chamber Young Professionals (AYP) group launched its eighth year in January with 268 members strong.
Six young professionals comprise this year’s AYP Steering Committee, and they are eagerly working on the 2015 programming. Their goal is to accomplish the group’s vision of being an organization that brings young professionals together by hosting meaningful networking and educational events.
AYP’s 2015 Chair Eric Brinkley, Aiken Laundromats, plans to build upon the ongoing momentum and accomplishments of the group. “We plan to keep the energy going with programs, events, and community service projects that have been growing over the past seven years. We will continue to be the premier connection to all things Aiken for our demographic,” said Brinkley.
Part of AYP’s vision is to attract and retain young professionals to the greater Aiken area. The group also strives to be a voice in the community by fostering a collaborative relationship between the greater Aiken Chamber and area businesses.
John McMichael, Hutson-Etherredge Companies, will work closely with AYP in his role as the Chamber’s 2015 vice chair of Business and Community Development. “The Aiken Young Professionals are an integral part of our community. They are the future leaders of Aiken, and I look forward to working with them to meet their goals,” McMichael said.
The Events Committee chair is Rebecca Vigne, The South Company. She and her committee will provide programs that stimulate personal and professional growth in addition to continuing AYP’s signature monthly networking event, Third Thursday.
“I look forward to making new business connections by working with local businesses to set up our Third Thursday events. These events provide a win-win situation, giving local businesses the opportunity to market to our age group while giving us the ability to network, share ideas, and learn from each other,” Vigne said.
Elizabeth Cahill, Rural Sourcing, Inc., will organize the monthly Supper Club at local Chamber member businesses.
“The Supper Club gives members who are not as comfortable in large group settings the opportunity to interact and foster close friendships and business relations,” Cahill said.
Kendall Carter, Aiken Technical College, will direct the Membership and Marketing Committee.
“The Membership and Marketing Committee will focus on engaging new AYP members and ensuring they receive the greatest possible value for their membership,” said Carter. “We will work with local businesses to promote AYP to their employees as a way to connect to the community.”
James Samorian is the chair of the Sponsorship Committee. He will help make area businesses aware of opportunities AYP presents, so they can engage and help develop young professionals while promoting their goods and services to this unique audience.
“AYP has a strong impact on attracting and keeping young professionals in the area. We will continue to seek economic growth and prosperity for businesses in the region,” Samorian said.
An additional goal of the group is to engage its members in service and giving opportunities to enhance their sense of community.
“As chair of the Community Service Committee, I hope to help others within our organization find what I, and so many others, have found – Give of yourself, and Aiken will give you everything that you need,” said Allison Brinkley, Long Term Liaisons.
The first project of the year is the United Way Be a Bunny campaign. AYP members will shop for items and necessities, such as toiletries, socks, books and eyeglass cases, and fill baskets to give to senior citizens in the Aiken area.
The Professional Development Committee will offer opportunities to members to learn and develop new skills through interaction with successful business owners in the community.
“How to dress for success, building your networking skills, and basic car repair are a few of the opportunities we will be presenting to our members this year,” said Committee Chair Cathy Shaw, USCA Convocation Center.
“Our steering committee is energetic, talented, and ready to get going on our 2015 goals. I look forward to working with each of them,” AYP Chair Brinkley said.
AYP’s mission is to provide an environment for young, career-minded individuals between the ages of 22 and 39 to meet and develop socially and professionally. To learn more about the Aiken Young Professionals, visit www.aikenyoungprofessionals.com.
Sponsors of AYP as of 02/18/15 are:
Aiken Pest Control, Inc.
Cherry Bekaert LLP
Floyd & Green Fine Jewelers
Security Federal Bank
UPS Customs Brokerage
Woodside Plantation Country Club
Aiken Technical College