Chamber of commerce launches new young professionals’ groupWritten by Jacob Ruhe | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce has been working behind the scenes to develop a young professionals’ organization called EPIC Toledo. The new organization’s name is an acronym for “engaging people, inspiring change.”
Nearly a year ago, Brian Epstein, trust executive of The Trust Company of Toledo, approached the chamber of commerce about starting an organization for young professionals in the area.
Now, with Epstein as the chairman of its newly formed Advisory Council, EPIC is preparing for its public launch on Feb. 7. EPIC’s full calendar and list of sponsors will be unveiled then.
Epstein said more than 100 community members have been involved in the organization’s development during the last eight months. Recently, the organization formed several action committees devoted to areas including advocacy, community involvement, economic development and networking.
EPIC is soliciting corporate sponsors. Its current list of sponsors includes SSOE, Fifth Third Bank, Owens Corning, Columbia Gas, the Hylant Group and UT.
William Pridgeon of the Hylant Group said he thinks EPIC will benefit young professionals at his company by providing “a more directed approach to get involved in the community.”
EPIC’s mission is to connect high-potential emerging leaders to each other and the community. The organization has three goals: to develop future business and community leaders, to provide emerging leaders with a voice in the future of our region and to attract and retain diverse young talent in the area.
“It’s extremely important to the economic growth and well-being of our area that the next generation of leadership is ready to roll,” said Wendy Gramza, Executive Vice President of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.
EPIC’s membership will be separate from the chamber’s. It will be open to all professionals between 21 and 40 years old, not just those who work for companies that belong to the chamber.
“Membership is really available to anyone in the age range who wants to get involved,” Epstein said.
All the employees in the age range who work for EPIC’s corporate sponsors automatically become members. Corporate memberships cost $1,000 per year for every 250 local employees up to $5,000. Individual membership costs $75 per year.
Gramza said member benefits include the opportunity to make a difference in the community by participating in activities and programs EPIC sponsors. Some programs and events will have additional fees depending on their cost, she said.
One example of these programs is a speaker series that will be sponsored by EPIC’s economic development action committee. Michael Hanf, chairman of the committee and president of Hanf Associates, said the speaker series will likely include representatives of the Regional Growth Partnership of Northwest Ohio and the Lucas County Improvement Corporation, among others.