By Marie Roberts / Guest writer
The Meridian Star
The Young Professionals of Meridian (YPM), invited by Mr. Billy Estes, will attend a Mississippi Braves game at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., on July 1. The group will be seated in the Trustmark Suite, and use the event as a recruiting tool for the upcoming year.
Meredith Rea, public relations coordinator for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation, serves as treasurer for YPM, and joined the organization to network with other young professionals.
“I wanted to get involved in the community with others around my age. I also wanted to make new connections,” Rea said.
YPM, founded in 2007, defines itself as an organization whose members strive to make a difference in their community. Members come from a broad spectrum of industries and range in age from 21 to 45, or are young at heart. The organization frequently volunteers in and around Meridian, including working with the American Red Cross, United Way of East Mississippi, and the Care Lodge Domestic Abuse Shelter.
Different committees determine where YPM’s focus will be in a given year, and members plan and carry out various community projects.
“Those in the Young Professionals not only give back to the community with their time, but we also do so monetarily through events like the Café Dumont Beignet Breakfast, which goes to United Way, and 59Twenty Music Festival, which goes to Care Lodge. I truly believe this organization is cultivating new leadership for the Meridian area,” Rea said.
The upcoming event will host approximately 24 YPM members, as well as prospective members invited as guests who are interested in learning more about the benefits of membership. Food and drinks will be provided.
“This is just a chance for YPM members and friends to go have a good time outside of Meridian and enjoy a game. Trustmark offering us the suite has allowed us to take a large group so that everyone can enjoy the game together,” Rea said.
“Through our meetings, committees and events, we are learning how to run a successful organization and help create a community that we all want to be a part of, and hopefully will be attractive to other young professionals who consider moving to the area,” Rea said.
Individual memberships for YPM cost just $50 per year, and spouses of members are included. The membership fee also includes member discounts at socials and at participating area businesses. Young Professionals of Meridian also offers a corporate membership rate that allows local businesses to sponsor five or more of their employees for the discounted rate of $35 per year, which also includes spouses.
For those interested in learning more about the organization, Rea recommends dropping by a meeting or upcoming social.
“Anyone interested is welcome to attend a meeting and/or social to see what YPM is all about firsthand. We meet on the third Monday of every month at noon in the Rush private dining room in their Ambulatory Building. Meetings vary in content with speakers coming from other community organizations, local entrepreneurs/business owners, as well as our own YPM members,” Rea said.
Rea would also like to add that the organization boasts a wide range of professional diversity and welcomes members across all professions.
“A common misconception is we are all attorneys, doctors and bankers. That can’t be any further from the truth," Rea said. "This group is made up of professionals from everything from landscapers to retailers to non-profit employees. We are a group that wants to have a good time, meet new friends, and make a difference in the quality of life in our community.”