Young Professionals Group Members Quotes

"On June 19th, my wife Vanessa and I attended the June Sarasota Chamber of Commerce YPG Icebreaker. While the business side of the networking was outstanding for sourcing new potential clients and developing mutually beneficial relationships, it was also a great success personally. In the span of several hours we were introduced to multiple individuals that we can see as possibly developing into friends in the near future. For our business, Seaward CrossFit, and ourselves, we consider the evening a great success and a fantastic use of time."

—Charles and Vanessa Bennington, YPG Members and Owners of Seaward Crossfit

"Thank you for all the hard work that put into cleaning up our Plant Nursery, it looks great. And, a great big thanks for sharing the pictures on Facebook. We certainly look forward to working with the young professionals again next year. We agree, Anny is very passionate about Community Haven and a valuable team member."

—Susan Creech, Director, Human Resources and Administration at Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities, Inc

“As a relatively new member of the YPG, I find myself being encouraged to further my professional relationships as well as develop new ones. I believe the YPG events offer a unique opportunity to gain valuable perspective in a relaxed environment, of which I personally am enjoying. As well, I thought the eclectic mix of personalities amongst the Sarasota and Manatee group combined truly provided for a fresh blend of conversation. I will definitely be attending more YPG events after last night’s successful turn-out.”

—Kylie Jackson, Jackson & Associates / YPG Member

“I always have a great time at the YPG events! I really enjoyed meeting and connecting with members from the Manatee YP group. We all kept saying we should combine our groups more often!”

—Dawnyelle N. Singleton, Red Elephant Designs / YPG Member

“The Young Professionals Group function at the Treviso was an enjoyable opportunity to meet some new faces, enjoy a cocktail and learn about the growing community we live in. It was a good idea to blend the Manatee and Sarasota groups, as I personally, rarely get up to Manatee. It gave me a chance to connect with a business owner of a new Restaurant who I had classes with years ago at MCC. All in all, it was well worth the time spent and I look forward to building relationships with the professionals I met.”

—Scott Yoder, TriNet / YPG Member

“Treviso is always a great venue, that with the combination of the Sarasota and Manatee Young Professional groups in the same place made for a perfect environment to meet new people. It is always nice to hang out with our neighbors to the north and see how easy it is to make new friends.”

—Martin Rivenbark, Snap Fitness / YPG Member

“Sponsoring an event for the YPG was a great opportunity for our business to make contact with young professionals in our area! As young professionals ourselves, we understand the importance of building a network of support to grow our business and to help other businesses in our community through partnerships and bartering. Sponsoring YPG was the perfect choice to do just that. Thanks, YPG for opening the door to Kissa Cupcake! We can't wait to partner with you again soon.”

—Brooke Cole & Melissa Brantlinger, Kissa Cupcake

“YPG has been an excellent partner with Asolo Repertory Theatre and the Culture Collective membership program. I enjoy meeting and talking to Sarasota’s young professionals at the After Hours events. Sarasota YPG is a great organization with a dedicated and forward-thinking leadership team!”

—Corinne G. Deckard, Asolo Repertory Theatre / YPG Member

“YPG After Hours is something I look forward to each month. With get-togethers at local and trendy restaurants or venues, I am able to meet up with my peers and friends after work. After Hours is also a great opportunity to connect with current and future clients in a fun and casual environment!”

—Jennifer Aguilar, SRQ Media Group / YPG Member

“We would like to thank you for all of the hard work YPG did for the shelter! The four hours each volunteer donated on a hot summer day made a dramatic, positive impact on the shelter. We have gotten loads of compliments on the landscaping and painting you completed! We are also very thankful for all of the wonderful landscaping tools Frank Maggio (YPG Chair) donated. We deeply appreciate YPG’s culture of philanthropy and community service and the impact it has on our community. We look forward to another partnership in the future! Again, thank you on behalf of all the abandoned animals we serve each day!!”

—Amie Boyle & Kristi Dorman w/Humane Society of Sarasota County

“Thank you Anand Pallegar, Matt Buchanan, Kent Hayes and Veronica Pastore for a very interesting and insightful lunch presentation!”

Jonathan Whitney, Attorney / YPG Member

“Today’s luncheon [Network, Lunch & Learn “Entrepreneurship”] was very inspiring. Sarasota is full of intelligent young entrepreneurs and the future is looking very bright for our community!”

Jon Pierce,

“I was recently offered the opportunity to participate as a luncheon panelist for Sarasota Young Professionals Group (YPG) that focused on Entrepreneurship. The committee members and staff of the YPG did an excellent job of setting up and managing the event. Frank Maggio, the YPG Chair, Valarie Wadsworth, the Events Committee Chair, and Anand Pallegar, the Moderator for the event, were true professionals in every sense of the word. It is so important, now more than ever, that our generation take advantage of these programs that Sarasota YPG has to offer. Where else can you find a group of peers who are so open to learning about others, who are committed to personal growth and development, and who constructively drive each other towards becoming the future leaders of OUR wonderful Sarasota community.”

Kent Hayes, Tandem Construction / YPG Member

"I really like the community and living Downtown is really great. Bird Key and St. Armand's are so close by. Everyting's right there. I think Sarasota's biggest potential mistake would be to not let its young professionals play a large part in the growth of the community."

—Ryan P. Whiteley, Wells Fargo / YPG Member

"I am a Sarasota YPG member and part of the Culture Collective group. I really enjoyed the plays I have seen through the membership. It is such a great idea to have such a group where young professionals can enjoy theatre for an affordable price."

- Suzie Abadjian, YPG Member

"The Sarasota Young Professionals Group (YPG) really came through big-time in helping guests of the Van Wezel's 25th Anniversary Gala with a new silent auction bidding process. A smart phone app style technology called “BidPal” was used as each guest was given a device to use to punch in an item number by color of the item's tablecloth. YPG members helped those either not familiar with this technology, or if there was a glitch for some reason in their device. Questions arose as simple as how to turn on the device, how to get a wireless access, how to watch an item that was bid on, and how to see if they had been outbid. After time was up, YPG member collected the “BidPal” devices from all the guests before they entered the performing arts hall for the Seinfeld show. After that, we had the task of clearing of all the items and placards for the auction tables and sort them according to table color in the lounge area so that they could be processed and given out to the highest bidder after the show. It’s a nice feeling to have helped a different type of crowd in bringing them “into the 21st century,” so to speak, with the latest technological advances in which they were very thankful and appreciative!!"

—Joe Marra, Cancer Support Community & YPG Member

“Thank you again for all the hard work Sarasota Young Professionals Group (YPG) did this week end at Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities, Inc. (CHAC). The playgrounds look amazing! The kids were really excited about the new fun tires you “planted,” and the teachers were very impressed with the cleanliness of the equipment and a thankful for all the leaves removed and trees trimmed! We are so grateful to have volunteers to help with these matters, as you can see the campus is very large and requires a lot of attention. YPG is welcomed at CHAC any time! We can’t do what we do alone; it’s nice to know we have amazing young people in our community who care and show it.”

—Anny Barker Schefler, Community Haven for Adults & Children with Disabilities

"As a member of YPG, I enjoy lots of different perks being affiliated with such an amazing group of individuals in the community. There is something here for everyone get involved in from business networking, social activities, community events and charitable opportunities. What has really got me excited this year is the wonderful partnerships YPG has created with the cultural endeavors that are the hallmark of Sarasota that allows me to enjoy the rich diversity of arts this city has to offer."

— Kimberly Long, Studio Manager w/Booth Studio, Inc. and YPG Member

"I have found YPG helpful in launching our business not only from the great speaker and networking events, but the opportunity to reach Sarasota business owners. In fact, I recently made a great connection with a new client from attending a YPG event. What an impressive value YPG has been to the young professionals in Sarasota."

-Michelle Colburn, Co-owner w/Workplace Solutions Pros

"I recently attended my first Sarasota YPG After Hours event and was thrilled to meet so many diverse and interesting young Sarasotans. It's exciting to see how a new generation is making Sarasota its own. I can't wait to attend another event!"

-Katie Cunningham, Actor/Asolo Repertory

"It was a pleasure to work with the Young Professionals of the Sarasota Chamber. I was impressed with the dedication the organization has to professional development for its members. But I was even more impressed with the enthusiasm and energy the group brought to the learning experience, and their commitment to excellence."

-Judith A. Sedgeman, EdD, Leadership Consultant w/Sedgeman Consulting, LLC

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast and the Young Professionals Group believes we can 'start something' in our community to improve the lives of area youth. The Young Professionals Group has 'started something' in our community through their multiple volunteer activities and philanthropy for Big Brothers Big Sisters! We appreciate all of the YPG for their enthusiastic and dedicated time and effort to benefit the youth we serve. Thank you YPG.”

-Joy Mahler, President / CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast

“In a short time, I’ve seen how supportive YPG is to the community and how great all of the programming is. I’m very interested in building my relationship with YPG and getting more involved in 2012!”

–Dana Bakich, Director of Marketing for Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County and YPG member

"I have experienced significant personal and professional growth since in the past year, and I attribute much of that growth to being an active member in YPG. Looking beyond the opportunities for social, and professional development-and there are many-I personally found that I became more of a joiner and doer, which has been equally if not more valuable to me.

For instance, a few days after signing up with the group, I started attending the board meetings of a non-profit I was only tangentially involved with. A couple of months after that, I joined their marketing committee. Two weeks ago the incoming Chair of the organization named me co-chair of the marketing committee. I mention that, because in a round about way I think that is thanks to the confidence I received through YPG.

In conclusion, thank you. Thank you to all the people that make YPG the dynamic, vibrant, and inclusive organization that it is. It truly has made a difference, and it is truly appreciated."

-Sean Duade, YPG member

"I’m delighted that the Supervisor of Elections office ( was able to participate in the YPG/SUM + Annual Conference this year. As a result of the innovative ideas generated at the conference, my office implemented an online vote by mail (absentee ballot) request form and created a Microsoft Tag that can be used with smart phone devices to access the elections office website. In addition, my office is now using Facebook and Twitter to communicate regularly through social media with Sarasota County voters."

–Kathy Dent, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections

"Before I connected with YPG, I viewed Sarasota as a place to go to college and then move on from. Now I realize that there are an immense number of opportunities for students, both while in school and after they graduate. In fact, my relationships with YPG mentors have opened my mind up to new career paths and the possibility of staying in Sarasota to start my professional life."

-Tristan Zucker, New College Student

"I really enjoyed volunteering at Mote Marine on World Oceans Day on June 5th, 2011. Not only was I able to get into Mote and tour around the facilities, but I also got to catch up with some fellow YPGers that I had not seen in a while. Volunteering at YPG events is one of my favorite things to do within the organization. It's a nice way of giving back to the community and socializing all at the same time. What a great way to get involved!"

-Alina Klein, YPG Member

“The volunteer day at Mote Aquarium was a great event to meet more YPG members one on one and help the community. The children really enjoyed the activities we assisted Mote with.”

-Heather Koester, YPG Member

"On behalf of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, I would like to thank the Young Professionals Group for their help and participation in our World Oceans Day event. With your help over 1,100 ocean enthusiasts were able to celebrate the seas and learn how to preserve them. Thank you for volunteering with a variety of activities from helping kids paint puzzle pieces to playing Connect Four with them. It is great to see young professionals from theSarasotaarea committing their time to nonprofits such as Mote. We hope you will work with us in the future to keep our events spectacular!" Thank you again for your participation!

-Stacy Alexander, Corporate Relations and Promotions Director, Mote Marine

“New College is quite pleased to be working with Sarasota Young Professionals Group on a mutual goal--matching highly qualified applicants with local employers offering dynamic jobs. At New College, we develop a student's critical thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal skills in preparation for their life after college. Many New College alums will seek graduate school admission within 3 years after completing their bachelor's degree. Some will complete internships while students. However, having a "gap" year between college and graduate school is not uncommon. Students want to feel as if the gap year is beneficial or informative, leading them towards their future career. I believe as we continue to evaluate our relationship that we will find other opportunities to come together around shared objectives for the future of business and industry within the Sarasota area.”

Raymonda Burgman, Associate Provost at New College / YPG Member

YPG on Facebook

Stay connected with Sarasota Area Young Professionals via our Facebook page. Come check out photos from past events, gets information about future events and share stories about your SRQ experience as a young professional! 


Come join us on the first Thursday of each month for our After Hours events! These are the biggest networking events for Young Professionals in the Sarasota area, so grab your business cards and elevator speeches and we'll see you there! MORE EVENTS 

YPG Sponsorship 

As a program of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the YPG must rely on sponsorship of Chamber Member businesses in order to help fund our professional development, networking programs and initiatives. Annual Sponsorship is a great way to support and reach the young professionals in the the community while gaining exposure for your business or organizations.