All posts tagged young professionals

FLEX Looks Forward to a New Year


When FLEX, the young professionals group of the Venango Chamber, started in 2007, no one could have predicted the growth we would see. Thirteen years later, we have 128 members, and we continue to add and improve our programs and events.

Rather than look back at 2019, we are excited to look forward to 2020 and begin creating a vision for what the year will look like and make a plan to make those things happen.

“What excites me heading into 2020 is the blend of seasoned leadership and experienced professionals,” said Rachel Stiller, outgoing FLEX President. “Everyone on leadership has had involvement with FLEX and are passionate about the mission of the organization, which will benefit us as we move forward with those projects we started in 2019.”

Rachel also added: “We are all equipped to maintain our current level of energy as a young professional group and I anticipate we’ll continue to see FLEX make leaps and bounds this year through the hard work and dedication of our incoming leadership.”

Kat Thompson, incoming FLEX president, added: “Serving as VP this past year under Rachel’s presidency has been an amazing learning experience. Seeing up close her passion and knowledge has inspired me in my involvement with FLEX and in my own professional development.”

“As the incoming president, I look forward to continuing the trajectory of growth and development established by 2019 leadership under her guidance and with the support of the Chamber,” Kat said. “I, along with our seasoned chairs, am excited to welcome two new faces to the leadership team. With continued involvement in our communities, I hope to see FLEX become a household name across Venango County, and be an accessible and valuable resource for young professionals.”

We invite you to get involved with FLEX in a new way this year! Whether it’s coming to an event, joining one of our committees, or volunteering, we hope to see you as we continue to grow.

Meet the 2020 FLEX Officers

President – Kat Thompson
VP/Secretary – Saxon Daugherty
Membership Chair – Laura Ordaz
Marketing & Community Partnerships Chair – Tessa Byham
Events & Fundraising Co-Chair – Ashley Smith
Events & Fundraising Co-Chair – Rachel Stiller

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) January 2020 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Want to be Happy? Be Grateful


We hope you’ve had a great holiday season! During this time of year, it’s especially important to recognize what we have and to be grateful. Our last TED Talk recommendation is all about the connection of gratefulness to happiness, and speaker David Steindl-Rast tells us: “It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”

It’s not just about grateful experiences, but grateful living. How do you do that? “By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment, as we say. It’s a gift. You haven’t earned it. You haven’t brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you, and yet, that’s the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains,” he said.

We can’t be grateful for everything, but we can aim to be grateful in every given moment for opportunities we are given. Listen to Steindl-Rast’s TED Talk at bit.ly/SteindlRastGrateful.

2020 Tip of the Month: Professional Development

We hope you enjoyed our TED Talk recommendations this year! In 2020, we plan to share monthly “Professional Development Tips” in each newsletter, on various topics including personal branding, networking, work and life balance, and mentorship.

We want to share these tips FROM young professionals. If you have a tip or advice you’d like to share, please email Tessa at tbyham@venangochamber.org.

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) December 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Taking Control of Your Career Development


No matter what stage of your career you are in, there are always opportunities to learn and grow.

At the FLEX Speaker Series in November, Kat Thompson with PA CareerLink and Deb Eckelberger of the Franklin Industrial and Commercial Development Authority shared their knowledge and wisdom around career development.

Attendee ages ranged from an 18-year-old high school senior, to a President & CEO in their late 50s, and everyone was able to take away something beneficial from the presentation.

Kat touched on topics including soft and hard skills, setting goals, taking trainings and courses, and the importance of networking and getting involved in the community.

“No one starts out being perfect or knowing everything,” said Kat. “It’s essential to recognize your weaknesses, understand why it’s important to work on them, and then practice until you improve.”

Deb has worked for various organizations throughout our region and shared how she got to where she is today.

She started out planning to go to nursing school, but instead went right into the workforce. She got her Realtors license, and eventually went back to school and is now in the economic development industry.

“I always knew I wanted to work in my hometown, and now I have a job here that I absolutely love,” said Deb. “Two of the things that have contributed to my success have included networking in the community and finding great people to be my mentors.”

If you missed the Speaker Series but are looking for ways to develop in your career, you can find resources below. You can also find more photos from the Speaker Series here.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES

ResCare Academy: Free courses on a variety of professional topics; Must register through Kat (email Kat Thompson)

Big Interview: Free job interview training; Visit pacareerlink.pa.gov (click “Individuals,” then “Interview Practice”)

Traitify: Personality and career assessment; Visit pa.careerlink.traitify.com

Occupational Research (O*NET OnLine): Database of occupational information; Visit onetonline.org

FLEX Leadership Development Resources (LDR): Collection of professional books, documents, videos, and more; Visit bit.ly/FLEXLDR

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) December 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Why 30 is Not the New 20


This month’s recommended TED Talk is by Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist. When she first began her career as a psychotherapist, she encountered a 20-something client who consistently made self-sabotaging decisions and used the excuse that things would get serious when she was 30, and her 20’s were for experimentation.

Jay then realized that, though many people settle down a little later than people used to, it doesn’t mean your 20’s are all fun and games. Jay says “claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do for work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even for the world.”

One of Jay’s tips for success in your 20’s is to forget about having an identity crisis and instead, get some identity capital. She says “do something that adds value to who you are.”

Find the rest of Jay’s advice in the full talk, here: bit.ly/Jay3020

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) November 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

November 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Ivy Kuberry & Emily Lewis


Ivy Kuberry has returned to our area and we’re looking forward to getting to know her and having her involved!

Originally from Pleasantville, Ivy left for college and worked in state parks throughout the state. “My goal was to eventually come back to Venango County and work at Oil Creek State Park,” she told us. So when a position opened up at the park recently, she jumped at the opportunity and got the job!

Ivy is now an Environmental Education Specialist through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and works in Oil Creek, a beautiful state park right in our backyard.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Edinboro University and has a number of other certifications. She is certified as an Interpretive Guide from the National Association for Interpretation Leave, No Trace Trainer, Kayaking Instructor from the American Canoe Association Red Cross, lifeguard, and more. These allow her to offer fun and safe outdoor recreation programming.

Some of Ivy’s achievements she’s most proud of are completing a conservation-focused study abroad trip in South Africa and Botswana, presenting a college research project at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting, and creating new and exciting environmental and recreational programming at Oil Creek State Park. One of her main goals is to get more people out to enjoy all the park has to offer.

It’s to no surprise that some of Ivy’s favorite activities to do in her free time include hiking, camping, swimming, and biking. She also likes reading and spending time with family and friends, and can often be found at local businesses and events, including Trails to Ales, Karma Coffee, Applefest, Movies at Cranberry, and Oil Heritage Festival. Ivy is getting married to her fiancé Eric next fall and looks forward to starting a family soon.

“Venango County is breathtakingly beautiful and has a great amount of history. There is always more to see, do, and learn,” she told us. “The people of Venango County have always had a special place in my heart. People truly care about each other here, and it creates a feeling unlike what I have experienced anywhere else. Getting to work here is truly a blessing.”

We’re so glad you’re here, Ivy!

Emily Lewis is Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority, the lead economic development organization in the county created in early 2018. The Authority’s goal is to remove barriers to growth for businesses and create an inviting place where people want to live.

Helping our area succeed is a passion of Emily’s, especially since she is a Venango County native who grew up in Jackson Township (just outside Cooperstown) and attended Rocky Grove High School.

After high school, Emily studied at Slippery Rocky University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Business Administration and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

During college, Emily worked as a GIS intern and then a Planning intern at the County of Venango, which led to a full-time job with the Planning Commission upon graduation. Emily has always worked in Venango County, but lived in Cranberry Township near Pittsburgh for a brief time.

Professionally, one of Emily’s achievements includes heading the Cornplanter Square Building project in Oil City, which she describes as a “great building with good bones that means a lot to the community,” and she’s excited to play a part in bringing it back to life. She is also proud of the launch of eAcademy, a new program providing education and training on entrepreneurship to high school seniors, and being awarded a grant she wrote to create a sidewalk to connect Franklin and Sugarcreek.

A personal achievement of Emily’s includes climbing Mt Washburn during a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Emily and her husband Josh live in Franklin with their dog Bo, and enjoy hiking, especially at Two Mile Run County Park and spending time with family. Emily is also a huge fan of house plants and enjoys decorating, such as repurposing old furniture.

There are many reasons Emily is glad to live and work in Venango County. “The people are probably my favorite part,” she said. “I love the feeling of walking down the street and seeing everyone smiling at each other, and I feel like people are willing to try new things and take risks.”

Emily looks forward to continuing to grow the organization and seeing how she can be useful to the community. Thanks for all your hard work, Emily!

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) November 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.