My Catawba County
What's All the HYP?
“Hickory Young Professionals believes that a region influenced by young professionals is a region that can attract and retain them.” Feeling connected to a community is a big part of that – and for young professionals, that’s what HYP is all about: helping people get connected to careers, to community, and to others. We asked HYP Chairperson (and hyper-involved community advocate!) Cameron Laney Bixby to give us the inside scoop.
What is the mission of Hickory Young Professionals (HYP)?
The mission of Hickory Young Professionals (HYP) is to provide opportunities for young professionals in the Greater Hickory Metro area to excel professionally, socially and economically. HYP will work to position and establish the Hickory Metro as the destination for world-class talent, in all its diversity. This objective will be accomplished by:
- Developing, enabling, and educating the Hickory Metro’s next generation of leadership
- Working with the business community, government leaders and other organizations to make the Hickory Metro a great place to live, work and play for young professionals
- Attracting and retaining young talent by showcasing the Hickory Metro as a dynamic community to young professionals
- Addressing issues affecting this demographic and working to find solutions
How does HYP work to achieve its mission in the community?
HYP is a fully volunteer organization, so we are trying to be strategic on how we spend our time and with the events we offer, being sure to focus on a variety of days and times and varying the opportunities from small groups to larger networking and professional development opportunities. We know that not everyone can attend during the workday, while others have families and cannot attend after hours. Therefore, while we aim to present about 8-10 valuable events to our community throughout the year, we also think carefully about how we do it. Those that want to get more involved outside of just attending events can do so by participating with committees and volunteer opportunities which allow them an even better chance to plug in. Just like with The Chamber and other organizations in our area, the more you lean in in the beginning, the more you will get out of the organization.
Who is invited to participate in the organization and its events?
People of all ages, from all careers, are invited to join us at our events. The events are intentionally open to everyone so that we can help create a place of collaboration and networking for everyone. The age range of 21-40 is for membership, which offers young professionals a place to lean in and get involved in helping on a committee to create something of value for young professionals to gather and grow in and around Catawba County.
We encompass the entire Hickory MSA, meaning Catawba County, Burke, Caldwell and Alexander. The way we see it, the more the merrier! If you want to be involved, we want you to be involved!
HYP recently unveiled a new logo and tagline, “Network – Develop – Connect.” How does this reflect your new vision for HYP?
HYP has been in existence for over 12 years and has constantly evolved. We feel like the time is right for us to refocus on what young professionals in our area need, and to help gain and retain them here in Catawba County and the surrounding areas.
The new logo was designed with colors and themes from many of the surrounding counties and municipalities. We put out surveys to determine what others thought of HYP and where we might be missing the mark on communicating who we are. The results truly helped. Some top takeaways were: 64% of businesses surveyed said they would be more likely to hire someone because of their membership in HYP, and 93% said they found value in an employee being involved with HYP; the top 4 words used to describe or represent HYP are Connect, Community, Network, and Develop; HYP members span the entire four-county metro region.
We see that companies are desperate for a place they can refer their newly-hired young professionals to meet and establish some relationships that will not only engage them but help to retain them. We want to be that. We want to help young professionals find a place to contribute and grow their skills. We want to connect young professionals with mentors, and we want to do it all with a focus on creating more of a foundation in our organization and growing the opportunity for future leaders to develop and invest in HYP and other boards and committees in the area.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about HYP?
We often hear people say, ‘Well, I just turned 41. I wish I had been able to get involved.’ That’s just it. You can. Anyone wanting to be a part of what we are doing has a place. It may be as an Advisor, it may be as a Sponsor, or a Mentor, or in a variety of other ways, but we welcome you with open arms, to join us and help us continue to evolve and grow into an organization that can do bigger and better things because we have more hands on deck. Hickory Young Professionals believes that a region influenced by young professionals is a region that can attract and retain them. Core to HYP’s strategic agenda is the belief that the more informed, involved and connected young professionals are, the more influence they will have on what the Hickory Metro is and what it can become in the future.
Photo provided courtesy of Hickory Young Professionals.