Figuring out how to get involved in the local going-ons in a community when you’re the new kid in town can be a fun (but sometimes daunting 😳) mission. Maybe you just moved here for a job and are looking for some like-minded individuals to hang out with outside of work. Or maybe you aren’t new to Knoxville at all but have been looking to grow your leadership skills and do some professional networking. Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to take on a more active role in your local neighborhood. If you’re reading this, you’re in the right place (obviously) – maybe you’re feelin’ good about the top places to eat, drink, and be merry. Maybe you’ve even gone to some events or signed up for a New2Knox Hop… but now, how do you take your Knox involvement even further?
Have I got an organization for you! 😉 Let me introduce you to (drum roll, please) Young Professionals of Knoxville!
WHAT IS YPK?
Young Professionals of Knoxville (or YPK as the cool kids call it) is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with a mission to inspire Knoxville’s young professionals to connect, develop and serve to build leaders and improve our community. This association really does take an active interest in the Knoxville community and goes above and beyond just networking.
As a member to the organization myself, I sat down at a recent YPK Happy Hour with Grace Bennett, current YPK president, to find out more about it and their upcoming events. (psssst, if you’re looking for Happy Hours across the board we got you.) Grace was a transplant who moved to our Scruffy City in 2019 for a job and didn’t know a single soul. She says the friends she has made through YPK, “have truly been genuine and it’s made Knoxville feel like home.”
EVENTS & PERKS:
In addition to making real connections like the ones Grace has made, being a member of Young Professionals of Knoxville gives you the chance to get to know Knox on a deeper level. There are exclusive events, meet & greets with civic leaders in our city, private tours of local businesses and more. “We pride ourselves on providing those behind-the-scenes and exclusives [to Knoxville],” says Grace.
Not only does YPK host several events throughout the year, they also have a variety of committees and affinity groups you can join and take an active role in to hone your leadership skills. If there is something you are passionate about but there isn’t a specific committee for it, YPK will dive in to help and encourage you to take on a leadership role in said area of your interest. Bennett, being a leader herself in the organization said,“The leadership opportunities that YPK provides helps you state on your resume the leadership skills you have that go beyond [your current job].”
SO WHERE DO I SIGN? 😏
Now, I could go on about my own personal experience and involvement so far in YPK but the best way to find out more would be clearing your calendar for one of their YPK 101 events. Not only do they host them at some of the cutest event spaces in Knoxville, these fun little gatherings have drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and time for networking. They’re specifically designed to educate potential and existing YPK members on how to get the most out of their membership. During these events, YPK members will explain their three pillars: Connect, Develop and Serve by sharing what each committee does and how participation from members makes each committee more valuable and talking about upcoming events and affinity groups.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT YPK:
🌟 You don’t actually have to be that young. I know, I know… it’s in the name of the organization, Young Professionals of Knoxville – but there is no age restriction to how old you can be. Aren’t we all young at heart anyway? 😉 But seriously, the only stipulations are that you are a young professional, over 21, and that you live, work, or play in Knoxville.
⭐️ Yes, there are membership dues ($200 for new members, and $100 for renewing members) BUT if you come to any of their free YPK 101 events, you can get 25% off your new member dues which is $50 buckaroos (and like, several coffees and bagels from K Brew)!
🌟 Just like most things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it. There are no mandatory meetings or required attendance to events but showing up and getting involved will make all the difference!
If none of this is up your alley but you’re still looking to find community locally, hop on over to this article to find a ton of different ideas on where to go and what to do to meet people and connect. Hope to see you on Tuesday and if you have questions, please reach out to me on the ole Instagram @knoxknena!