A member of our Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook has a really strong young professionals group but he hates the name as it reminds people of recent graduates, when the average member is in their 30s. He asked:
The Dubuque Chamber has a flourishing ‘YP’ program… 700 strong! The thing is…I don’t like the term Young Professionals. It is limiting as some potential members perceptions are that YP indicates college age. Has anyone heard of a great replacement name for YP groups?? Our average age is 32.
While the Dubuque group is doing very well, I wonder why Chambers want a young professionals group? It draws a line of demarcation an us versus them perspective. As someone who’s smack in the middle of two very large generations, I am well aware that I am neither a “young professional” nor do I feel like the opposite of that.
Most chambers form young professionals groups to recruit younger members and give them a voice but the upcoming generation doesn’t want to lead their own group, they want to lead the group.
Giving Gen Y a group of their own doesn’t give them a voice, it segregates them. Allowing them opportunities to lead and volunteer within the larger chamber membership is more important than giving them their own group.
Where’s the Middle-Aged Professionals Group?
Some chambers would argue that their young professionals group is more of a social group that encourages after hours fun over networking. Ouch. I want to have fun too. I’m 41. Can’t I have fun with the chamber? See the problem?
A young professionals group would’ve worked well for my generation (Gen X). We wanted to be a part of the larger chamber but we felt the need to serve our time learning the ropes and paying our dues.
Millennials Want to Lead
Millennials do not feel this way. They are ready to dig in and lead. By relegating them to a young professionals group, you are not providing the same level of opportunity.
I’ve seen several groups publicize the fact that “young” is a state of mind and their young professionals group was for people who enjoyed socializing after hours. This is both inclusive and fun.
What has been your experience with giving an age group their own group?
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by Nezemnaya