With all the success that Gwinnett's young professionals have achieved since the inception of hYPe two years ago, one could say that the organization was a homerun for its members and the community. hYPe members celebrated their two-year anniversary on June 18th with hot dogs and cold beverages during a tailgate before a Gwinnett Braves baseball game. The 1,000-member strong organization had reason to celebrate with all that they accomplished in just two years, including holding 40 events, a Web site re-design, the launch of a Facebook page and Twitter account, partnering with multiple non-profit organizations, and developing three "work crews" to promote social networking, career development, and community involvement within the organization.
Abby Wilkerson who works for redpepper and leads hYPe's event management work crew, commented on a defining event that let her know hYPe was on the right track.
"I'm extremely proud that the hYPe leadership team was asked to sit on a panel during the lunch session of the Partnership Gwinnett Summit," said Wilkerson. "To be asked to speak in front of that crowd gave us some credibility and made me feel like we had created something legitimate. Almost like the first time you realize that the adults are taking you seriously."
First recommended in the Partnership Gwinnett Community and Economic Development Strategy, hYPe was developed to establish and cultivate young talent within the community and to build Gwinnett's next generation of community and business leaders. The main goals identified for the organization were to offer members the opportunity to interact on an informal level with business and community leaders; provide opportunity for networking with others of like interest and age on the weekends and weeknights; seek out areas for community involvement; and expose the young professionals in metro Atlanta to the hottest hangouts and cultural-rich attractions in Gwinnett.
With a goal in mind, hYPe's high impact, savvy group of diverse young professionals (ages 21-39) have worked diligently to showcase Gwinnett as a unique, fun, and cool place to work and live by holding events, recruiting new members and supporting the community.
The hYPe Event Management work crew, led by redpepper's Abby Wilkerson, worked hard this year locating venues, planning, volunteering their time and spreading the news about hYPe events. The Event Management work crew successfully held numerous events, with an average attendance of 150 people, throughout Gwinnett, including:
- hYPe Quarterly event "Games & Gifts" at Dave & Buster's- August 2009
- Not a Holiday 'Party' Party at The 1818 Club – December 2009
- Thursday Schmooze Day held at Marlow's Tavern every first Thursday of each month
- hYPe Two Year Anniversary with the Gwinnett Braves- June 2010
During their first year, hYPe experienced unprecedented growth starting with just 90 members at the Encore Launch event in May 2008 to now over 650 members. Along with enrolling new members, the Membership Recruitment work team, led by Jared Burrell with Grimes Insurance and Financial Services Inc., was also responsible for career development. Thanks to the dedicated members of the membership recruitment work crew hYPe was able to achieve the following:
- Held lunch and learns with a presentation on being "Healthy Young Professionals in June 2009 and "How to be an excellent Networker" in July 2009
- Conducted college recruitment at Georgia Gwinnett College
- Hosted booth at Gwinnett Technical College's "Graduates Networking Session"
- Recruited over 300 members in one year
- Held "Finding a Job in a Down Economy & Positioning for a Promotion" seminar on March 30th featuring Bill Mahoney from Career Builder
Along with social networking and professional development, hYPe members also wanted to give back to the community. Thanks to the Community Involvement work crew, led by Trinity Hundredmark with Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., many lives were touched by the efforts of hYPe members to give back to community. For each event held, hYPe partnered with a local charity and requested that attendees provide a donation to the specific non-profit. The following charity drives were held at various hYPe events:
- In December 2009 members participated in a toy drive for the Gwinnett Children's Shelter which helped give hundreds of presents to children in need
- Partnered with Habitat for Humanity and Clark Howard to build homes for those in need
- Donated books, paper, pencils, binders, etc to the Lilburn Co-Op at the August 2009 quarterly event
- Presented hundreds of canned foods and items to the Lilburn Co-Op on November 3rd 2009
- Volunteered at the SNS Golf Tournament in May 2010
- Formed team with Gwinnett Chamber Board Members for the Great Days of Services and picked up trash on Highway-316
"hYPe is not only a great way to meet new people, but it's also a great way to get involved in the local community," said Trinity Hundredmark, who works for Andersen, Tate, & Carr and leads hYPe's community involvement work crew. "Most young professionals are coming from college or graduate school where getting involved was easy and sometimes even mandatory. In the real world, getting involved and giving back to the community can be overwhelming at first. Where does one start? hYPe has helped me to find answers to those questions. By always keeping me informed of the latest activities going on in Gwinnett County, I can always find a way to get involved and meet new people."
For more information on hYPe, visit www.hypegwinnett.com.