September 23, 2020

Corner Office

Nurture Young Professionals

Lynda Keever | 9/1/2007

Lynda Keever

In June, Forbes magazine published the “Best Cities For Young Professionals.” Miami and Orlando came in at No. 32 and No. 35 respectively, mostly because of their low salary-to-cost-of-living ratio. Tampa was ranked No. 40 because of its low concentration of young professionals, low never-married population and high cost of living. On the other hand, young attorneys in an American Lawyer survey named Tampa’s Carlton Fields as the best Florida firm to work for.

“With an increasingly competitive market for talented young professionals, Florida’s business leaders must find unique approaches to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce,” says Wendy Abberger, president of Leadership Florida. “Young people today are looking for more than just a job. They’re anxious to make connections and make a difference.”

One of the ways young professionals are developing relationships is through organizations designed just for them. Leadership Florida’s Connect Florida program helps young professionals make an impact throughout the state.

In preparing for a speech at Connect Florida’s meeting this month, I found more than 30 regional organizations for young professionals around the state. The Young Professionals for Covenant House in Fort Lauderdale has raised more than $1.63 million for the shelter since 1992; the Young Professionals of the Metropolitan Orlando Urban League gained sponsorship from Citibank to teach financial skills to students; the South Florida Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs in Miami offers resume clinics and mock job interviews for its members; Jacksonville’s ImpactJax hosts networking workshops; and Access Tallahassee members enjoy opportunities to work with the Chamber of Commerce’s leadership. In addition to industry-related events, Ad 2 Tampa plans picnics and softball games for its members. You can read about the Pensacola Young Professionals in “A Seat at the Table.”

Young professionals say their involvement has helped them make friends and learn about unadvertised jobs. Additionally, the professional development opportunities these groups offer strengthen Florida’s workforce.

Ryan Sampson, an accredited land consultant of a Tampa-based commercial real estate firm, understands the benefits of getting involved. Sampson, 24, has helped obtain contracts worth more than $100 million since joining the company in May 2005. He has gained national recognition as the vice chairman of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Young Leader Group Tampa Bay and as a member of at least six other organizations.

“Being involved promotes a young person’s name and his or her company’s name,” Sampson says. “I’m so connected to this area. Getting involved locally keeps me rooted.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, almost 50% get their jobs through personal referrals. Recruiting within a young professional organization or trade organization could get you a great employee — and keep the talent in Florida.

Business executives and employers can develop a good relationship with a young professionals organization by joining its mailing list, reading its newsletter and asking the organization to post your company’s job openings on its message boards. You can offer sponsorship and encourage your company’s up-and-coming employees to join an organization of their choice. We’re creating a directory of young professionals organizations online at Send your organization’s information to to be included. We all benefit when our young people excel.

Tags: Publisher's column, North Central

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