The Hippo


Jun 26, 2019








Source: Tim Sink, Concord Chamber of Commerce

Find a Young Professionals Network near you

Get connected to a Young Professionals Network in your area, or find an event.
• Manchester YPN
• Concord YPN
• Greater Derry/Londonderry YPN
Visit: or
• Catapult Seacoast YPN
Call: 498-0630
• Fusion, Lakes Region YPN
• HYPE (Greater Salem) YPN
• iUGO (Nashua) YPN

Networking for millennials
State’s Young Professionals Networks are expanding


 Seven years ago the Concord Chamber of Commerce asked about 15 of its young professional members to invite their peers to a social networking event that would gauge the level of interest. About 100 people showed up. 

It was a surprising turnout for an event meant to test the waters, but it doesn’t compare to the Concord Young Professionals Network’s current success. The group has grown to nearly 2,000 members ranging from 21 to about 40 years old. 
“It’s really, from my perspective, a workforce issue,” said Tim Sink, president of the Concord Chamber of Commerce. “There is a trend, and there has been for some time, for young people graduating college to leave New Hampshire. … We were interested in making sure there was a well-educated, well-trained workforce.” 
Across the state, 12 Young Professionals Networks that are catering to the needs of people who choose to stay post cap-and-gown have cropped up everywhere from the Mount Washington Valley to Nashua. 
They offer free membership to young adults who want to both live in New Hampshire and have a lucrative career. The networks address concerns like Sink’s; goals include helping members expand their contact bases, develop professional skills, make friends, gain access to community leaders and promote their personal brands. 
Responsibilities are minimal for members. They can register easily on YPNs’ websites and go to as many or as few events as they want, said longtime steering committee member Angie Lane, who is the events and marketing coordinator at Red River Theatres.
Each month, the CYPN hosts two professional networking and peer-to-peer development workshops on subjects including marketing, finances and technology, Sink said. 
“These are topics of interest to the young professional demographic,” Sink said. “It is social. People make friendships, but also they also want a professional peer-to-peer network that’s helpful to career advancement.” 
Working up the courage to come to networking events may be a challenge for some, Lane said, and organizers work hard to make those events comfortable for long-time members as well as newcomers. 
“There’s an intimidation factor. People go and say, ‘Oh, I have to network and talk to people,’ but we try to make sure we introduce ourselves and make a welcoming environment. If we see people looking for someone to talk to, we do our best to introduce them to other people,” Lane said. 
She wants people to know that the network isn’t only for white collar, office-types — they encourage anyone from teachers and landscapers to come. 
“I’ve met so many cool people,” Lane said. “For me [at my job at Red River], I’m always calling people for sponsorships. … When  I call [someone I know from CYPN],  it’s less intimidating — it’s not like a cold call. It happens a lot. It has been extremely valuable.”
At about 60 members, the Derry/Londonderry group is still working up to what its organizer Nicholas  del’Etoile, who works in sales at Liberty Mutual, hopes it will become — an organization that offers similar activities as Concord. A couple months ago, it began holding casual monthly social events at local restaurants, including Halligan’s and the Common Man. 
“The really great thing is it’s not constantly the same people. There are always new people coming in and trying to see what the group’s about,”  del’Etoile said. 
Many of its members are entrepreneurs and depend on word-of-mouth relationships built at the events to drum up business.
“If you create a solid relationship with that guy in the room, he’s going to have no problem talking to his clients about it,”  del’Etoile said. “And that’s who you want. ... Face-to-face outweighs social media. Nothing works better.”
But many young people who get involved aren’t only looking for business opportunities. They’re trying to find other ways to make a difference in their communities. The Derry/Londonderry group invites local nonprofits to speak at networking events.  Many of its members volunteer,  or are on the boards of various nonprofits and organizations. 
“I think we are all looking for ways to grow, and it’s a different level of leadership,”  del’Etoile said. “Very few people aren’t involved in more than one thing. I don’t know if that’s unique to my age group.”
While some YPNs stick mostly to more traditional networking and education events, others also take an un-networking approach. 
Perhaps you’ve seen a bunch of  runners racing down Nashua’s Main Street in pursuit of a man in a full moose costume? That’s the annual  the Mad Moose Mile, and it’s hosted by Nashua’s network, iUGO. The Lakes Region YPN called Fusion hosts a Wii Bowling night. 
“That’s not what people think of when they think of networking,” said Kate Luczko, who is active in the Manchester YPN and is the director of Stay Work Play, which showcases the groups on its websites and helps facilitate a statewide YPN community. 
While many of the groups are growing and thriving, the Central New Hampshire Young Professionals Network near Plymouth is trying to figure out how it might do things differently than the other groups — the rural, college student-driven location has meant problems keeping member numbers up. 
“They are having conversations with chambers of commerce in Lincoln and elsewhere to talk about what they might do collectively and differently, because monthly social events don’t have the same appeal as they do in Concord, Nashua and the Seacoast,” Luczko said. 
In Concord, the network is part of the city’s chamber of commerce, but it has an autonomous steering committee. The Manchester Young Professionals Network — the first created in the state — functions independently. Its founders wanted an alternative to the chamber, which seemed to cater to an older, more established crowd. 
“The chamber has always catered to the middle-age, older crowd, and as a young person who goes to an event, if you are new or getting started it’s really hard to get looked at,” saids  del’Etoile, who worked closely with the Manchester group. “You’re not really the expert by any means. … It’s hard to [network] when you’re the youngest face in the room and no one’s giving you any time.” 
However, other YPNs benefit from the resources of established chambers of commerce. 
“The nice thing about being affiliated is they get staff support,” Luczko said. “There’s infrastructure in place to print name tags or send out email reminders.” 
As seen in the June 19, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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