By Emerald Lowe, Director of Membership and Oceanside Young Professionals
Today, the modern young professional is almost an enigma to other generations. Millennials are making waves on a global scale when it comes to workplace culture, social and political reform, and every day business practices. Based on the feedback of the business community and the echoes of major media outlets, younger generations of professionals are considering the value of the experience itself and ethical results versus the direct return when making any type of decision, whether it be a career path, product purchase, or nonprofit donation. It’s not enough for employers to add additional benefits and higher wages, they must now consider how they are shaping a culture in order to attract the right talent. The importance of mission statements, workplace cultures, as well as meeting social and environmental responsibilities have never been greater.
Our organization recognizes the need to address our region’s employment issue and the ever-growing need for avenues for young professionals to develop personally and professionally. We sought to identify our core group of members seen as North County’s future leaders and were excited to explore new ways to support their respective businesses and organizations. Earlier this year, the Chamber held a roundtable discussion during one of our monthly Oceanside Young Professionals Network (OYPN) committee meetings. Our goal was to find out what issues were important to them and the types of programs they would like in our community. We found that they are seeking new ways to make meaningful connections, to support their community and develop both personally and professionally. We also found that they wanted to be part of the larger conversation surrounding community issues while bridging the current generational gap and combating the stigma surrounding millennials along the way.
Since then, we have focused on networking events with a clearly defined purpose which produced opportunities to shed light on regional issues and new developments. Each month, participation continues to increase, and ideas consistently flow in from a variety of industries. Our focus in the coming year is on incorporating a mentorship opportunity for local college students majoring in business degrees. Our goal is to connect them with a like-minded young professional to help them gain exposure to a variety of industries, gain access to resources to help them take their next step in their career, and stay informed on the overall business climate in Oceanside. As the movement continues to grow and evolve, #OYPN is becoming the forefront avenue in North County San Diego for young professionals to thrive.