Thu, April 25, 2024

Local nonprofit provides many benefits for young business leaders

Public speaking used to be one of Daniel Wilson’s worst nightmares.

Daniel Wilson has served as the president of Young Professionals of Augusta since January, but he’s served on the board for about five years.

That was until he became involved with Young Professionals of Augusta – a local nonprofit that provides networking, professional development, and community outreach opportunities for working professionals between the ages of 21 and 40. “Public speaking is much easier for me now,” because that skill is required in both his role as YPA’s president and his full-time job as a building performance specialist for Total Comfort Solutions, says Wilson. That’s just one of the many skills he has developed in his five years of serving on the group’s Board of Directors. Wilson has also gained valuable leadership experience. “You think you know about leadership until you lead,” he explains.

Founded in 2007, YPA currently has about 150 members who work in a variety of professions, including accounting, sales, and real estate. Some of the members are business owners. “It’s a very diverse crowd,” Wilson states. The group meets the second Tuesday of every month, and each meeting typically includes a guest speaker and a community outreach spotlight about a local charity. Of course, members also have the opportunity to network with other professionals, which can be invaluable for those looking for jobs. “The time to build a network is before you need one,” he says. YPA members regularly discuss local current events and issues the city faces. “If you want to know what’s going on in Augusta or what will be going on, you can talk to this Board of Directors,” Wilson adds.

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The group also raises funds for various local charities, including the Golden Harvest Food Bank and the local chapter of the American Red Cross, during its annual Anniversary Party. “We do it at a different location just about every year,” he explains. In previous years, the party has been held at the Miller Theater and the Augusta Museum of History. Rather than meeting in person last year, YPA hosted a live feed and raised $7,500 for Golden Harvest. Wilson says they’re currently planning this year’s party, which will be called the YPA Choice Awards. “We’re aiming for December,” he adds.

Besides networking and community outreach, YPA also participates in various social activities.

YPA members have the opportunity to participate in a variety of social events, which have included kayaking and enjoying drinks at The Indian Queen and enjoying Green Jackets games (see photo at top). The group will soon take a cruise on the Patriot Riverboat. Attending one of these events is “a less formal way to get to know people,” Wilson states. “It’s a little less uptight.”

The cost to join is $50 for the year. For more information or to become a sponsor, visit ypaugusta.com or email Wilson at president@ypaugusta.com. Sponsors include TaxSlayer, Flowers on Broad, and Phoenix Printing. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to operate the way we do,” he says.

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