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

284B Wallbridge-Loyalist Rd, Belleville

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!