The YPS at Five

Chris Thomson and Pam Thornton say the primary challenge for YPS is to effectively communicate that it is much more than a networking organization.

Chris Thompson isn’t a young accountant — his business card declares that he is vice president of Business Development for the Springfield Falcons hockey club — but he put himself in the shoes of such an individual to help explain what the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) has accomplished in its first five years, and where the group intends to go in the future.

“Can you imagine being a 22-year-old accounting graduate from UMass who has a chance to meet with Mark O’Connell?” asked Thompson rhetorically, referring to the recently named president and CEO of Wolf & Co., P.C., who was the featured business executive at a recent YPS CEO Luncheon. “You can’t put a price tag on having a face-to-face with a decision maker like that. ”

Indeed, in addition to valuable insight about the accounting industry and business in general, O’Connell provided his luncheon guests with indisputable evidence that one doesn’t haven’t to leave Western Mass. to script a success story. O’Connell, a long-time partner with the firm, has long worked out of the Springfield office rather than the firm’s headquarters facility in Boston, and he made a conscious decision to keep that business mailing address when he was chosen this past summer to lead the company.

Those career decisions enable YPS’s marketing slogan — ‘Live, Work, Play, and Stay’ — to resonate, said Thompson, a long-time YPS member, adding that exposing the group’s membership to more of these stories is one of many formal and informal goals moving forward for the organization, which recently turned five, and marked that milestone by completing a new, three-year strategic plan.

That document, which calls for hiring a full-time executive director, among other steps, addresses goals and aspirations, but also perceptions about the group and apparent misperceptions as well, said Pam Thornton, business-development director for United Personnel and current president of the organization.

Elaborating, she said YPS is perceived by many as simply a networking group, a view facilitated by the group’s popular and highly visible Third Thursday gatherings.

Those get-togethers will continue, she went on, adding that networking remains a high priority for the organization. But there are other missions, ranging from educating members about issues and the region in general to helping members get involved in the community, to, overall, providing motivation for young people to stay in this area.

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