More than 100 attend young professionals’ first meeting

State Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, tells the Richmond Young Professionals A

The Richmond Register | by Machaela Ballard

More than 100 people attended the first Richmond Young Professionals Association meeting at noon Thursday, more than double the number expected.

The Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Kentucky University and others invited anyone ages 21 through 40 with a job to Apollo Pizza for lunch and networking, said Jason Rainey, director of the Small Business Development Center at EKU.

State Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster was the main speaker.

Attorneys, accountants and small business owners, along with employees of EKU, local governments and banks crowded into the restaurant’s meeting room. Mendi Goble, chamber executive director, laughed as she said organizers would prepare for a larger crowd next time.

“People are realizing that it’s time to make a difference,” Goble said in a later interview. “Many people are starting to see that they need to connect with others to be successful in business. Apart from that, we have all been through the cutbacks. Finally, the economy is snapping back and allowing people to get out more.”

During monthly meetings, the RYPA plans to host a variety of speakers who can help participants be more successful in their professional lives. They also will discuss ways to give back to the community, Goble said.

Attorney Morgan Eaves, a founder of the group, said it was important for young professionals to help advance the world around them as well as their careers.

“A business can only be as successful as its community,” Eaves said. “We need to learn to give back and be a part of its strength.”

Although other Kentucky cities, including Lexington and Louisville, have thriving young professional organizations, Shell said none of the groups he previously attended had larger crowds.

“This room says to me that there is not only a bright future for Kentucky, but for Madison County,” he said.

The RYPA will next meet 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Gillum’s Sports Lounge in the Richmond Mall.

Reach Machaela Ballard at or at 624-6623.

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Published on January 22, 2015