In an effort to get more young professionals involved in the community, the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce has created the Rising Professionals, an organization comprised of young professionals under the age of 40. The group was created to empower young professionals in the region, provide networking opportunities and promote civic engagement, professional development and mentoring.
“We have plenty of young people here in Beloit,” said Tim Dutter, executive director of the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce. “We need to find ways to get them involved and engage in ways that will allow them to meet other young professionals.”
The Rising Professionals was launched earlier this summer by Dutter, who previously worked at a chamber in Colorado, where a similar program was formed.
So far, the Rising Professionals have more than 125 participants, who come from a variety of fields including technology, marketing, banking, education and many others.
The Rising Professionals host luncheons for professional development, work with local leaders in Government Affairs, facilitate a mentorship program, and hold networking events. The group is led by a nine-member roundtable which meets once a month and oversees the professional development and mentoring, civic engagement and networking committees.
This summer, the Rising Professionals held a kickoff rooftop party, an education luncheon and a volunteer event where members gathered to paint a west side church. “The Rising Professionals is a group of like-minded individuals who want to make positive contributions in the area,” says Sara Burns, assistant vice president/branch manager of First National Bank and the group’s treasurer. “This is an awesome opportunity for young people to make a difference.”
Jeff Vohs has been involved with the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce for the past decade. He is president of the Chamber’s Ambassador Program and recently joined the Rising Professionals.
“Keeping young people engaged is important,” says Vohs, assistant vice president for business banking at Gateway Community Bank. “Sometimes it can be intimidating for younger business professionals to meet CEOs and company presidents at networking events. The Rising Professionals can help them engage with people their own age, and give them a head start as they work on engaging with the next level of professionals. This group has created a new enthusiasm and hopefully it will continue growing.”
Burns has had plenty of help along the way in her 13-year banking career. Now, she’s planning on working with other young professionals through her involvement in the Rising Professionals. “I’ve had a handful of mentors here at the bank that I’ve learned from,” she says. “Now I can take some young people under my wing and help them. This is a great way of paying it forward. We can make a lot of cool things happen.”
Dutter is counting on it. A Beloit native, Dutter moved back to head up the chamber after being away for 20 years. “I was awestruck when I returned and saw the growth taking place here,” he says. “Economic development has really taken off; the downtown area has exploded. There are many people trying to make Beloit a better place. I’m hoping the Rising Professionals can do their part as well.”Learn more about the Rising Professionals Back To The Beloit Experience