The North Country has long had a problem attracting and retaining young professionals into the ranks of its business class.
The goal of the Adirondack Young Professionals (AdkYP) has, since its inception in 2007, been to reverse that trend. The 501c3 not-for-profit organization met in Plattsburgh recently for a regularly scheduled meeting, and getting the word out about their orgainzation and expanding their numbers was key on the agenda.
One of the key barriers AdkYP faces according to Vice President Leigh Carter-Simonette is perception, both the perception of who qualifies as “young,” and who qualifies as a “professional.”
“When you talk about young, I myself am 33, but basically there’s no age requirement,” she said. “We’ve had someone as old as 73 before, so we really think of it as young or young at heart.”
As for who qualifies as a professional, Carter-Simonette said AdkYP is equally as inclusive. When she first heard of the group, she pictured only business owners or people in management positions.
“I thought, ‘How do I ft in?’ I was basically more of an administrative employee at the time, and that was something that obviously needed to be debunked,” she said. “It’s not just for business owners. It’s not for this crowd or that crowd, its for anybody in the community who wants to network and meet new people.”
Networking and socializing with other like-minded professional people is one of the main strengths of AdkYP. They have attracted people from as far away as Rouses Point and Champlain, and occasionally from the Lake Placid area, but Plattsburgh is their core membership area. It is a place to get noticed in the community and to grow as an individual as well.
The group is active with civic causes, planning activities and getting out in the community and volunteering. First Weekends in Plattsburgh, which Carter-Simonette is also the Vice President of, was an idea that came in part from of the AdkYP along with other Plattsburgh civic luminaries.
There are more tangible benefits to membership as well, such as discounts at participating businesses, but it’s networning with like-minded people of a similar demographic that is AdkYP’s strongest asset.
People interested in learning more about AdkYP can check their Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email Carter-Siminette directly at email@example.com.