The next generation

YP Week puts the focus on young professionals statewide

Posted on Mar 1, 2017 :: Connections
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Wisconsin YP Week returns this April and promises fun and food with a side of learning, community engagement and provocative discussion.

The event, which began in 2015, has grown to include 25 groups this year. Wisconsin is the only state running a statewide initiative, all under this year’s theme of “Think. Make. Happen.”

Adrienne Palm, director of Fox Cities Chamber’s Pulse Young Professionals Network, says she’s excited to see the collaboration happening across the state. “It’s great to have support instead of competition.”

Set for April 22 through 29, Palm says a cheese crawl, featuring wine, beer and cheeses ranging from curds to higher-end offerings, will kick off the week in the Fox Cities. Bazaar After Dark, Pulse’s successful night market, will make its return in downtown Kaukauna on April 29.

Last year, people from all different sectors, from Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. employees to religious leaders, gathered for Pulse’s “politics and religion” dinner. It invited people to discuss uncomfortable topics in an intimate setting. “A lot of people thought we were crazy last year,” Palm says, but those who attended came away energized.

This year’s topic is sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. “Most people have some kind of story that ties to one of those topics,” Palm says.

Pulse also plans to hold an information session on immigration, which became a timelier topic than expected, a debate about marijuana legalization and a discussion about the need for venture capitalists and angel investors in Wisconsin.

Jenna Floberg of Young Professionals of Fond du Lac says her group also plans to tackle tough topics. YPF will host a speaker on human trafficking to discuss the problem. “I learned there’s a lot of it in the Fox Valley,” she says. “It’s something that people aren’t really talking about.”

YPF will hold a campfire crawl at Grande Cheese. Smaller, more intimate groups can gather throughout the expansive facility and then join for a big bonfire at the end.

Current Young Professionals of Green Bay will host its third annual SOUP event, while Pulse will hold its first ever in the Fox Cities. SOUP stands for Support of Urban Projects and is a micro-granting, community-building event that funds local projects.

Attendees at the dinner each pay $5 and receive a vote, a bowl of soup and bread, says Andrea Tobias, Current program manager. The project with the most votes receives the funds.

“It’s been very well received in our community,” Tobias says, with the dinner drawing 100 attendees the first year and close to 200 the second.