Guest Commentator: Andrew Still, Manager, Financial Advisory Services, EisnerAmper and Advisory Board Chair, Young Professionals Council (YPC)

How have your experiences with YPC impacted your vision for what’s to come as our new Chair?

Four years ago, I decided to attend my first networking event with YPC. At the time, it was still called the Young Professionals Network, or YPN. The event was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the YPN. I remember being nervous. I remember wearing a dumb tie. I remember it was so hot that I started sweating in my suit on the walk over to WHYY. I remember arriving so early that I had to wait in the lobby with the other awkward networkers.

The main event of the night was a Q&A panel of YPN alumni who are now all prominent and successful individuals. Among other topics, the panel discussed how YPN helped fast-track their careers and the valuable relationships they gained from their involvement. I must have spoken to 100 people that night and sent 101 emails the following morning. The first email was to get approval to see if I could officially join YPN.

Shortly after joining YPC, I joined the Events Committee and a year later I was elected to the Board. Fast forward to 2020, I’m writing to you as your new Chair! I still get nervous, wear a dumb tie occasionally, sweat during summer events, and awkwardly network, but I’ve grown exponentially because of YPC.

As a Council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, YPC has provided me the opportunity to attend events and explore the city, become a better public speaker, gain exposure by writing thought leadership for the Chamber, and volunteer in our community. I’ve gained valuable skills, mingled with the mayor, connected with city council, learned from some of the region’s most influential individuals, and, most importantly, I’ve developed meaningful friendships.

My vision for what’s to come:

My term started in July amidst a global pandemic. My first thought was — great, the organization that I’ve waited for four years to lead, that hosts live in-person events, is now virtual. Perhaps, I should have waited another year … can I get a do-over? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed that possibly more than half of my term as Chair is going to be virtual. But, at least we’re saving money on dry cleaning. Am I right?

Despite the challenges of 2020, I can’t help but see a silver lining. The board of YPC is comprised of incredibly talented young leaders who are excited to innovate. Being virtual has allowed us to reset and re-evaluate our goals and afforded us more opportunities to get creative with our events and our future plans.

  • Just last week we had the largest attendance at a professional development event… ever! Check out this recap written by Aileen Gallagher, a fellow board member.
  • Our soon-to-be Civic Engagement committee (formally known as the Volunteer Committee) is leading an outreach initiative to encourage our elected officials to sponsor legislation that will support the Chamber’s Recharge & Recover PHL initiative. (If you are interested in getting involved, please let us know!)
  • Our Events and Membership committees are working on some unique alumni panels and virtual events.
  • Last year’s Chair, Monica Allen, signed the Equity Pledge on behalf of YPC and we will continue to engrain these values into our mission and what we seek to accomplish this year.
  • Myself, and our board members have taken the PHL Pledge, which is framed around key short-term actions designed to:
    • Support the ability of businesses to safely operate during the pandemic;
    • Create opportunities for displaced workers; and,
    • Bolster support for Black-, brown-, and locally owned businesses.
  • Finally, I invite you to join us for our next event, YPC Connect for Community Impact, a virtual volunteer fair. You can expect to hear from local nonprofits searching for passionate volunteers and an opportunity to connect with other philanthropic young leaders.

Our committees are always looking to expand, so if you are interested in learning more about how to get involved in YPC, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, or reach out to a YPC staff member by using this contact form.