By Kelli Karpinski, Director of Marketing and Communications
In 2003, the Oshkosh Chamber recognized a need to bring young professionals together to expand their network and learn more about the community. In developing an organization that would fulfill the social and professional needs of 20- and 30-somethings, the Chamber would satisfy an ultimate goal of retaining and attracting to Oshkosh the best and brightest.
Thus, the young professionals group, Propel, was created as an affiliate of the Chamber. As an affiliate, it had the backing of the Chamber and could tap into the Chamber’s resources when needed. However, it was led and sustained by a dedicated group of volunteers who believed in Propel’s mission of connecting, inspiring and cultivating relationships among young professionals.
Faces may have changed throughout the decade, but the dedication among those leading the organization did not waiver. However, like many of us, these volunteers eventually found themselves pulled more and more often in several directions, both at work and in their personal lives. It was time, they decided, to seek more help.
Discussions between the Propel board of directors and Chamber staff led to the decision to make Propel a program of the Chamber as of January 1, 2012. What does this mean? It means that the Chamber will dedicate a staff member, Member Relations Manager Megan Kok, to lead a plan for growth and further opportunity for young professionals.
We will develop a 2012 slate of events and programs that meet the social and professional needs of the demographic. Our goal is also to get more businesses involved. We ask that businesses encourage their young professionals to become members and to support the program through sponsorships and/or by providing expertise that can be tapped for programs and events.
We will do this by staying true to the organization’s mission and with the help of volunteers who now make up Propel’s Steering Committee.
Since its inception, Propel and its members have been held in high regard. The community seeks their opinions and ideas. They are considered—and rightly so—an integral part of Oshkosh’s growth and success.
If you are interested in learning more about Propel or becoming involved, contact Megan Kok at (920)303-2265, ext. 16, or firstname.lastname@example.org.