The Network’s Craig kickoff expected to bring positive changes for, by professionals | CraigDailyPress.com

The Network’s Craig kickoff expected to bring positive changes for, by professionals

Kirstie McPherson, second from left, founding member and board member of Yampa Valley Young Professionals, speaks to attendees at the group's rebranding event Thursday at Carelli's. The young professionals group, in an attempt to become more inclusive, is renaming its organization "The Network" and is inviting professionals of all ages to join.
Jim Patterson/staff

Professionals from Craig and Moffat County attended a kick-off event at Carelli’s Thursday, Feb. 21, for The Network — a membership organization for professionals.

The Network, formerly Yampa Valley Young Professionals has for about three years brought together people beginning their careers to network with others younger than 40. The new brand reflects new inclusiveness, as the Network now welcomes professionals who might not consider themselves, young but seek opportunities to find like-minded people interested in creating positive changes in the community.

“When they think ‘young,’ they think under 30. Age is just a number, and everyone had a different interpretation. We were not as well-known as we thought, so rebranding made sense,” said Kirstie McPherson, founding member, board member, and global economic development marketing consultant.

McPherson and Derek Duran, outgoing mayor pro tem and local businessman, started the organization because “there wasn’t an outlet for this demographic to be engaged and feel like they could be or learn how to be engaged,” McPherson said. They modeled the group after similar initiatives found across the country, but found they needed to adapt the model to fit Craig.

“I have met some of the best people through this organization and take pride that they are a part of our community,” said Dorina Fredrickson, board member and broker associate at County Living Realty. “We hope to grow our organization and continue to produce connections, access, and value for our members through professional and fun events and community impact … we want you to know that our members range from all ages and all professions.”

At age 24, plumber Jorge Gonzalez has been a board member for two years and said the group is “looking for people who are wanting to make some change and work together to make changes for a new generation of leaders.”

Originally, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Holloway didn’t feel comfortable participating.

“I always felt it was a good idea, but their cut off was 40, so it felt uncomfortable,” she said, “Their rebranding is a reflection of feedback. People felt they were too old or too young or did not yet consider themselves to be professionals.”

Holloway believes the new brand and effort to be more inclusive is “exciting,” as it will allow a broader range of people to participate, from those just starting out to those farther along in their careers.

The original name might not have lasted, but efforts to connect people wanting to make a change are here to stay.

“I have businesses in this community, and I am dead set for making sure this demographic has outlets for community development here,” McPherson said.

To learn more about the group visit Facebook.com/TheNetworkYVYP, or call Kirstie McPherson at 970-629-5915.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.