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Young Professionals Network ‘Take a L.E.A.P’ toward success

Miami’s young Black professionals making huge strides around town

4/10/2014, 9 a.m.
(L-R) Cam Noldon, 663 Marketing Director; Frances Young, Professional Development Co-Chair; Ernisha Randolph, Professional Development; Chi Chi Troung, Professional Development; Lydia Desnayers, CPA, Civic Engagement; Pandwe Gibson, Entrepreneur Chair and President of YPN, Cedric McMann. Photo by Ashley Montgomery

More than 50 young professionals from around the city made their way to Cafeina Lounge last Thursday to join the Young Professionals Network (YPN) for their Member Reception social.

YPN is a fledging addition of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (M-DCC). YPN aims to address an ever so present problem in Miami — the retention of young Black professionals.

Of the 50 people that come to the event, more than half became new members of YPN on the spot.

Becoming a member comes with great benefits like attending programs, workshops and initiatives that can strengthen your ties to the growing business community in Miami. Also, to fix the ‘Black Brain Drain’ problem — talented young professionals leaving the region in favor of more desirable metro cities that offer better opportunities professional and socially.

Cedric McMinn, president of YPN oversees the direction of the organization, serves as an advisor to the Executive Board and leads all YPN initiatives and program planning.

“We had an awesome turnout,” McMinn said.“This was the perfect event for launching and we are excited for the new year.”

Pandwe Gibson, entrepreneur chair says that she has witnessed a positive change within YPN since she has joined almost three years ago.

“YPN is very helpful,” Gibson said.  “I was able to get my first contract because of YPN — there’s money to go around and the types of people you encounter here are different.”

By different, Gibson means dedicated, ambitious and open-minded minorities who are looking to prosper in their businesses. YPN’s mission is to connect, develop and empower young professionals by creating a nurturing community of like-minded and diverse professionals. The type of people who are looking to connect, network and interact with one another through programming that fulfills the need for success and personal/professional growth.

“The face of Miami is changing,” Gibson said. “If you can get through the muck then you’ll make it here.”

YPN is dedicated to the growth and prosperity of small Black businesses. They see it as their responsibility to create a platform that would develop our young minority professionals.

“Our main goal is talent retention,” Ernisha Randolph, who’s in charge of professional development said. “Many young adults leave for college and don’t return. There isn’t much to work with but we are working to stop that.”

Plans for YPN reach far and beyond 2014.

“We plan to reach out to other chambers in other counties to grow and increase the synergy,” Gibson said.

On Thursday, April 17th at 5:30 p.m., YPN will be hosting: Look and Poise of a Professional at the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center located on Miami Dade College North Campus. The overall agenda of this event will be to show how much YPN is about making sure young leaders are ready and prepared take their careers or businesses to the next level.

“Our next YPN event will include speakers providing techniques on how a professional should look and behave,” McMinn said. “We will also provide free headshots to those in attendance.  With professional development workshops like these, we hope to empower young leaders to achieve their potential.”

YPN has proven itself to be a great cross-section in the community. McMinn and his team are all looking forward to giving back to the community through the partnership with the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (M-DEAT). M-DEAT is committed to addressing the socio-economic disparity of Miami-Dade County’s Black community.

YPN plans to provide internships to several students in Miami-Dade County in the upcoming year.

To join YPN visit ypnmiami.com for more information.