PR: Quinte Joins Launch of Young Professionals Network of Ontario (YPNO) in Toronto



Quinte Joins Launch of Young Professionals Network of Ontario (YPNO) in Toronto

Local under 40’s connect and want a voice in the province’s future.


November 26, 2014 – Meagan Gray, Kristina Lane, Adam Burr, James Krikorian and Jillian McCormick from Quinte Young Professionals joined dozens of under forties from all corners of the province today to announce the launch of Young Professionals Network of Ontario (YPNO). YPNO is a central hub to support young people to do business, network, advocate, have a voice at provincial and national tables, and build economic development opportunities.

Says Chair of Quinte Young Professionals Meagan Gray “There has been a significant lack of opportunities for young professionals from the Quinte Regionandacross the province to meet like-minded peers and have a voice on provincial issues. YPNO is a volunteer-based organization that will serve as an essential provincial network to connect, engage, inspire and advocate for professionals under 40 years. Quinte Young Professionals is delighted to join YPNO and represent Quinte’syoung professionals at a provincial and national level.”

YPNO represents over 30 Young Professionals Networks with thousands of members dispersed across large cities like Toronto, as well as in small northern communities like Kenora. Members also come from all sectors and walks of life including private business, public entities, trades, not-for profit agencies, and Aboriginal organizations.

As part of the organization’s launch, 6 core pillars were unveiled:

  • Community Engagement
  • Social
  • Business & Economy
  • Environment
  • Personal & Professional Development
  • Provincial Connectivity


An advocacy campaign called; Meet Us, Hear Us was also announced to Parliament at Queen’s Park.


Says QYP Chair Meagan Gray “Our advocacy goal is to inform politicians and decision-makers about the hot issues concerning young people today. The current provincial deficit, lack of incentives to attract and retain young people, infrastructure planning and jobs are just a few of the top concerns. There are also important local issues that we look forward to starting conversations with political or socio-economic influencers about. QYP’s involvement in YPNO is a unique opportunity to engage future leaders on key issues.”


“Quinte Young Professionals is a group that was initiated by the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce to meet the needs of young professionals and entrepreneurs in our community,” says Chamber Manager Suzanne Andrews.  “We see the connecting of these groups at the provincial level to be a huge step in the right direction and are very pleased that this group representing Quinte West and the greater Quinte Region are involved at the beginning of this exciting new project.”  Quinte Young Professionals is sponsored by the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce, Trenval CFDC and Futurpreneur Canada


To get involved visit or

What is a young professional? Why should we network?

I used to think of a young professional as someone who is young and working in a professional field. Although that is still true, the meaning has evolved into incorporating anyone working in a professional environment, white-collar position, or conducts themselves professionally.

Young professionals can include anyone from recent graduates to accountants or sales associates to entrepreneurs. As Quinte Young Professionals, we consider this anyone whose main objectives in life are to build a career, grow their personal and professional networks, build skills, and be involved in the community.

Like it or not, people buy you as a person first – not what you are selling. We like to do business with people we know and networking or WOM (word-of-mouth) gives the results. This is one of the driving forces behind QYP and why we try to incorporate a social or entertainment aspect to our events.

Try to think of networking with other young professionals as getting to know them. It is much easier to remember Jon Smith who loves his dog and has two girls who like figure skating than Jon Smith certified accountant that can do my taxes next year. Yes, he wants to do your taxes and have you as a client, but it often takes several connections at multiple events to get there. You don’t hire Jon because he is an accountant, you hire him because you feel like you know him!

If you need to increase sales/commission, generate new clients, increase your knowledge base, develop potential employment connects, or just have a drive to know like-minded individuals, Quinte Young Professionals is where you start. We are noticing a growing trend of Young Professional Organizations (YPOs) across Ontario as part of an action plan to engage youth and aid in youth retention.

We have a vision of youth (18-39) from Quinte working together to have a voice in the community. By creating a proactive and well connected group, we can work together to advocate within our business community and build our careers through referrals. Of course, have a little fun too!

See you at our next event!


Kristina Lane
Marketing & Events Coordinator, Consulting Assistant
Small Business Centre

*protected email*
284B Wallbridge-Loyalist Rd, Belleville

I am supposed to save WHAT?! and by WHEN?!

Every piece of advice I received from the time I got my first job was… “Start saving now, you’ll thank yourself down the road”. As a young professional everyone tells me to save, save, save! Which is great, I totally agree, BUT I also own a home, have to buy groceries, food for my dog, clothes to continue looking professional, AND believe it or not I like to enjoy the odd night out. So all of this advice about saving has been great and I completely agree with it but I need a little more information and incentive to start. How much should I really be saving and what should I be saving for?

Retirement- It’s a no brainer, we all want to retire, and the goal is usually as soon as possible. An article in TIME gave age benchmarks for how much you should have saved and by when


Here are the guideposts:

•At age 35, you should have saved an amount equal to your annual salary.

•At age 45, you should have saved three times your annual salary.

•At 55, you should have five times your salary.

•When you retire at age 67, you should have eight times your annual pay


Scary right?… Ok, now I am freaking out. I’m already 26, so I have less than 10 years to get to my first benchmark! To make calculations easy let’s say I make $3,000/month or an annual salary of $36,000. This means in 9 years I need to have saved $36,000 (ahhhh!) That breaks down to $334 a month and because I get paid bi-weekly only $154 a pay. That’s actually only 11% of my salary which doesn’t sound scary at all. When you look at the big picture and the big numbers it can be very intimidating, but it’s helpful to break it down into pay periods and percentages.


Most articles and advice will tell you to save 15%-20% of your total income for retirement, and if you can do that, great! At this point though, I am liking the looks of that 11% so in the next 9 years I can buy the car I want, move into a bigger house, build a professional wardrobe and maybe even start a family which I KNOW is going to cost me. Once I get to those later benchmarks I should be in a good position to increase the amount I am putting toward my retirement and the nice part is I will already be on track for what I need to have saved!


Meagan Gray
Commercial Lending Officer
QuintEssential Credit Union

293 Sidney Street
Belleville, ON
K8P 3Z4
Tel:  613-966-4111 Ext. 290
Fax: 613-966-8909
Email: ac.uc1553429142q@yar1553429142gm1553429142
Visit us at:


Creating Financial Goals

Your parents told you to do it, your teachers told you to do it, even your neighbour’s relative’s dog walker’s brother told you to do it… but have you done it?

Becoming a young professional has been hard enough and trying to be taken seriously has been the focus of your entire thought process but now that you are well on your way, you should probably start thinking about what you are currently doing with your finances and what you should be doing with them!

Start thinking about it now, and developing habits to ensure that money you have worked so hard to make goes as far as it possibly can.

Retirement. Yes, you are a “young” professional which means this is probably quite a while away but something you need to be thinking about now in order to reach the goal of retirement and be able to continue to reach goals IN your retirement. Because of the way compound interest works, the sooner you start saving, the less principal you’ll have to invest to end up with the amount you need to retire and the sooner you’ll be able to call working an “option” rather than a “necessity”. This means if you have not started a savings plan for your retirement yet stop reading this and go do it right now.

Self-Control. In order to save for retirement you need to have some sort of money to put in to make that compound interest work! This means in some cases you may need to learn to delay gratification to keep your finances in order. It is so easy to purchase an item on credit the minute you want it, but it is much smarter to wait until you have actually saved the money to purchase it. Is paying interest on a pair of shoes or a bag of Doritos really a good idea? If you have been making a habit of putting all your purchases on credit cards stop now because you may find yourself still be paying for those items in 10 years. If you want to keep your credit cards for the convenience factor or the rewards they offer, that’s great, just make sure not to carry more cards than you can keep track off and to pay the balance in full at the end of every month. One simple rule… if you don’t have the money in your bank account to purchase it, just don’t. Credit is not free money.

Awareness. If you have any knowledge of personal finances you know it is important to make sure your expenses are not exceeding your income. Do you know where your money goes? It is important to look at your bank statement at the end of the month and make sure that a) you are not in the red & b) you are not wasting your money on unnecessary expenses. Once you have taken a look at where all that money is going it is easy to make manageable changes in your everyday routine that may have a big impact on your overall financial picture. In addition to everyday expense it is important to look at your recurring monthly expenses and see if there are changes that can be made there. Would foregoing the nice, posh apartment now mean being able to purchase a home in the near future?

You don’t need a fancy degree or diploma to be able to manage your finances. They are YOUR finances and YOU are the best one to take control of them. Start with these simple things and see what a difference they can make. Good luck on achieving your financial goals and check back for more tips soon!

20 Pieces of Advice You Need to Know

We found this great post by PR Daily. It captures the very things we need to think about as young professionals.

1. Establish your personal brand.
2. Seek out a mentor.
3. Keep up with the news every day.
4. Get away from your desk, and walk outside.
5. Plan the work before you work the plan.
6. Don’t pass up a chance to learn.
7. Go to your boss with a solution, not a problem.
8.Write thank-you and follow-up notes (handwritten, not emailed).
9. Travel any chance you get.
10. Be interested and inquisitive.
11. Remember that everyone carries their own sack of rocks.
12. Create your own personal style.
13. Stay in the loop, but avoid the gossip.
14. Look for “reverse mentoring” opportunities.
15. Looking busy doesn’t equal being productive.
16. A good editor will make you shine.
17. Don’t come to work sick.
18. Cultivate contacts outside work.
19. Take risks. It’s OK to mess up occasionally.
20. Strive for work/life balance.

Read the full article on PR Daily.

Networking Tips

Networking. Probably one of the most feared activities for young professionals. Walking into a room with established professionals and trying to figure out who to talk to. What do you say? How do you make a connection?

Honestly, we network all the time. We just do it differently than our more senior professionals. Yes, LinkedIn is networking. Yes, it is valuable, but there is no human connection. Sometimes we have to do it by talking! What? Talking?

Don’t fear. It is easier than you think. Some simple rules and tips should get you going.

1) Be confident! You have valuable information to share. Come up with a few things you would like people to know about you.

2) Stay connected! Make sure you gather business cards. How about ending a conversation with “It was nice to meet you. May I have your business card so we can stay in touch?” and it can be a simple follow up that can make all the difference.

3) Don’t sell! Networking allows you to grow your network, meet people, and connect with them on a personal level.If they are interested in what you do, they will ask. A sales pitch can sometimes set a bad tone.

4) Ask questions! People like to talk about themselves and their profession. Ask them about it. You will remember Joe from the event at the pub last month who has a 6 month old puppy. You might not remember Joe who told you he could help reorganize your financial goals by helping you to create a budget.

5) Connect others! In a world with technology we often trust the recommendation of a peer over a brand or company itself. This helps show that you are confident enough to connect people and provides an opportunity for you to exit the conversation if needed.

Always look out for a closed group or an open group. Our body language can tell a lot! A closed group is people who are facing each other. Chances are they are having a great conversation and don’t want to be interrupted. An open group is a group of individuals that are facing slightly outward almost like they are inviting others to join. Walk over there. Right now. You can do it.

We often hear the term elevator speech. We should all have a 15 second intro that says who we are and what we do. This can help direct conversation and engage others. When possible, make it about helping others. For example “Hi, my name is Jane. I work with ABC Graphic Design and we help small businesses create professional identities in order to compete in the big leagues.”

Good Luck!

QYP Focus Group

On April 17 we held a focus group with 15 young professionals from across the Quinte Region. We represented all types of young professionals. Some of us were starting out our new career and had even relocated to this area for work. Some of us were at a crossroads and looking to build skills for new opportunities. Others were established, but facing some of the same challenges. A few of us were parents and/or homeowners. Some of us were entrepreneurs. A truly great mix of people ages 39 and younger embarking on the challenges and opportunities presented as a young professional in today’s world.

Together we discussed a strategy to engage young professionals through events and opportunities. We talked about the benefits of our region, how to promote youth retention, where we want to go, and what resources we feel should be available. Overall, the general theme was that we wanted to feel like we belong to the professional world sometimes monopolized by those “good old boys” or “senior management” to name a few.

We asked what benefits we have in Quinte. The most popular answers were that we are from a broad geographical area and could reach many people. Together we could have a louder voice and create more learning opportunities. We do have a challenge of facing some of the virtual borders placed from regions and municipalities, but if we work together, great things can happen.

We decided that while achieving our goals, it was important to have fun. We talked about the type of events that would get young professionals involved. We want to network, relax and socialize, learn from others, and become more active in the community. We want to develop our skills so that we can create opportunities in the future and live in Quinte.

Part of having fun means looking for opportunities to socialize through community events and activities. Maybe we decide to enter an event for charity or join a sports league and represent our group. Maybe we have a potluck picnic and enjoy a sunny day with peers. Maybe we take a regional trip to enjoy what Quinte has to offer. Maybe we attend local political debates and talk about the issues that affect us.

In any case, we have decided to come together. To work towards common goals and get involved in our community. We hope to see you there!