RUTLAND—On July 14, representatives from Rutland Young Professionals (RYP), Castleton Downtown and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) announced the details of an upcoming statewide summit set for September. The 2015 Young Professionals Summit of Vermont will gather young professionals from around the state to discuss issues facing them and explore ways they can contribute to the future of Vermont.
“Rutland Young Professionals is two years old this month. In that time, we have had one overarching goal in mind: to improve the experience of our fellow young professionals here in Vermont,” said RYP President Katye Robare Munger. “How do you find the best ways to do this? Plan something to bring us all together, talk, listen and take action.”
Munger explained that the goal of the summit is to host an interactive, thoughtful event that will expose young professionals to ideas and resources, connect them with peers and inspire them to action by gathering young professionals, policymakers, entrepreneurs, artists and community members from around the state to downtown Rutland.
The event will be comprised of a morning workshop and afternoon tracks focusing on entrepreneurship, farm and food, leading your community, renewable energy and socially responsible business, and professional development. The tracks are being designed by organizations such as the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), United Way of Rutland County, Green Mountain Power, Evolve Rutland and VCET. Formed by U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the University of Vermont’s Dr. John Evans and the Vermont Technology Council, VCET is a nonprofit that advances Vermont based startups and entrepreneurs with spaces, expert advice and investment capital. Since 2008, VCET has served over 1,000 startups, now operates three coworking facilities, curates a network of expert mentors and manages a revolving seed capital fund.
Matt Bloomer, summit chair and RYP board member, was drawn to the idea of a statewide summit when it was first discussed about a year ago at an RYP board meeting.
“I loved the idea of an event that would inspire more young professionals to get involved in shaping the state’s future,” said Bloomer, who is also a member of the Rutland City Board of Aldermen. “Hosting the event in Rutland is also an exciting opportunity to show off venues like the Paramount Theatre and expose other young professionals to the great things our community is doing.”
After conducting an online survey of more than 100 young professionals from around the state, Bloomer recruited Lyle Jepson, dean of entrepreneurial programs at Castleton Downtown to help organize the event. Jepson, in turn, recruited Catherine Collins, vice president of entrepreneur development at VCET, and herself a young professional, to join the planning team.
“It is with great pride that Castleton College is partnering with RYP on the September summit,” Jepson said. “The summit will be an event that provides an opportunity for voices to be heard on important issues for Vermont. It will also offer inspiring direction for future career options, which has the potential to inspire strong economic vitality and growth.”
“So often the narrative is, there are no young people in the state or that they are all leaving,” Collins said. “As young professionals in Vermont, we want to shatter that story. There are young entrepreneurs, legislators, artists, developers, farmers, who create, live and work in Vermont.”
Collins added that leaders across sectors will facilitate workshops and pitches to establish this narrative.
“This is an event for young professionals run by young professionals,” she said.
The 2015 Young Professionals Summit of Vermont will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. Registration is $20 and includes morning refreshments, lunch from Roots the Restaurant and the chance to continue conversation over drinks at the Hop’n Moose Brewery. Summit attendees are also eligible for discounted tickets to the BrewHaHa comedy showcase at the Paramount Theatre that evening. For more information or to register, visit rutlandyoungprofessionals.org.