Young and Social - the Play Hard Loop Hole for Networking Professionals

The day in the life of a networking professional begins at 5 am with the pressing of dress shirts and proceeds to the drinking of coffee (make that a double) and morning shower. Then, the ceremonial and mood based picking-out-of-the-tie followed by a quick drive across town. Check for business cards, referral slips and a quick look at the calendar to make sure you've got your day straight .. appointments set and then you begin the long journey to 5pm.

Wayne Quint, Eric Maldonado and Frank Castella at the Orange County Young professionals breakfast meeting 8am! (photo provided)

Sound familiar? On Wednesday morning members of the BNI Roundtable in Newburgh will assemble at 7am for the official start of their weekly professional networking meeting.  Business Networking International is just one of the professional networking groups operating behind the scenes of the visible and highly discussed 9 - 5. For these 50 professionals - all exclusive to their industry - Wednesday is consistently a 7 - 5...or later. And, with a strict attendance policy how do they keep their members coming? Great food and endless coffee at the Neptune Diner are a great selling point, and this group gives out a monthly award for "best performance" in exchange for entertaining speeches. Visit them on FB to find out how you can visit a meeting of the BNI Roundtable. (Membership $465 yearly)

Who doesn't love to win?! (Photo Provided)

It's not all work and no play in the white collar division of life especially when the Young Professionals put their twist on it.  The Hudson Valley Young Professionals are a social networking group ages 21 - 40 who routinely set their meetings within the time frame of 5-7pm - in coordination with Happy Hour. The HVYP's sponsor some uniquely competitive events like September's well received Office Chair Challenge - always hysterical and just as it sounds. The race to the finish line in customized office chairs is just the thing to spark some creativity and excitement for young professionals - and you thought spinning was fun!

HVYP office chair challenge in action (photo provided)

HVYP's are a combined force of Dutchess and Westchester counties. Ambassadors of the group were recently spotted crossing the Hudson River in the spirit of collaboration - said to have sat in on the Orange County YP's September breakfast meeting. Joining the HVYPs is free with a paid membership to Dutchess Regional Chamber of Commerce or $50 yearly outside of that membership. Get details : Here.

In Orange County the Chamber is famous for great educational seminars, powerful monthly breakfast meetings, and well attended ribbon cutting ceremonies - but the social culture of the group is also something special. The Young Professionals are often seen mingling at after-hours events, like when the O.C.C. held their annual 'Dancing with the Chamber Stars' party at Kuhl's Highland House on September 21.  Early birds got a free dance lesson from Junior Ryes and other professionals from Mas Salsa Que Tu Dance Company. And, the blazers became full-length gowns in no time! Orange County YP's are comprised of professionals 21 - 40 (or the young at heart) check them out on facebook.

Up in Sullivan County the YEL! (Young Emerging Leaders of Sullivan County) held their annual YEL!fest at Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts on September 20th. The progressive social event now it's 4th year was named "Bridge the Gap".  It was incredibly well attended and beautifully executed by the venue host, Bethel Woods.

Bethel Woods CEO Darlenem Fedun welcomes attendees

The band Belle - who's harmonies were made possible by the Hudson Valley's own Kaye Rubacek of Sugar Websites played some beautiful songs during a raffle-off of locally donated goods and services that went on all night. One attendee left with two season lawn passes to Bethel Woods 2013 season!

A professional photo station was flashing all night thanks to YEL! chair Matt Dorcas and his media production company ND Pro and a hundred photos were up on facebook the very next day. Connect with YEL! on facebook.

The glam squad ft. members of Jeff Bank

In wanting the best possible status as a great place to work and play the young and social have found a way to stay connected, stay professional and stay relevant. Join them!

Article by Stefanie Pearl
Beautiful Yel! Photos by Peter Salo