Community Involvement: It’s Worth It.

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Market Mentors
07.30.2010

Have you ever wanted to be more involved in the community, but didn’t know where to go or who to talk to?

Have you ever wanted to make more connections through networking, but didn’t know where to start? There are certainly a great deal of networking events going on in the western Massachusetts area each month, however, they can  be really intimidating. You walk into the room of nicely dressed, professional looking individuals, all standing in small groups around the room. Who are all these people? Who should I talk to? How do I get the conversation started?

Our economy is in a tough place (…have you heard?). But western MA is taking some serious steps to move ahead and improve this area; establishing new businesses, improving/creating affordable housing, cleaning up all the mess! There’s also an ENORMOUS amount of non-profit organizations in our area that work hard every single day to either aid in improving the region, offer solutions and services to people in need, raise awareness and money to go towards cures for diseases, and so on.

Why not be apart of all this? Why not make this area a better place to live, work, and have fun?

So what’s my point for writing about all of this? This October, at the Basketball Hall of Fame, OnBoard is putting on a networking/matching event to connect our diverse community of professionals, (young and old, established and entry-level), with local non-profit organizations and businesses. The goal is to not only increase the board sizes of these organizations with a new, talented and diverse group of individuals, but also to raise awareness of how many intellectual and hard-working individuals are in our area that have the potential to do amazing things for the community. Also, I’m sure many don’t know of half of the organizations that are actually alive and active through out the Pioneer Valley; I know I didn’t before I got involved with this event. There may be some that match your interests and professional and/or personal goals that you never knew of.

The night of the event (Thursday, October 28th) individuals will arrive to the Hall around 5PM to register. They’ll be able to see and read up on which organizations are present and decide which you will be interested in meeting with. Attendees will spend about 10 minutes with each organization you sign up with, to hear who they are, what they do and what they are looking for in volunteers and board members, as well as introduce themselves and explain their purpose in attending. This 2 hour ‘match game’ session will allow attendees to meet with up to 8 organizations, and at 7PM the cocktail/networking hour will start with a full cash bar and hors’deurves (how do you spell that word, anyway?) from Max’s Tavern.

OnBoard’s mission is to connect qualified individuals with area organizations looking to expand their board governance. They are also focused on expanding the level of diversity through out these boards. The group was started by Attorney Ellen Freyman of Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. in Springfield. She realized that it was rare for women and people of color to serve on boards (the group was started in the mid ’90’s) and she wanted to not only change that, but give all people a resource to use when interested in serving or volunteering. OnBoard serves as a name bank of these qualified individuals and hopes to increase the significance of the group’s mission through their 2nd networking event, titled this year as ‘Get On Board!’

As an extremely large generation emerges, Generation Y is just now stepping into their professional fields, building on their experience and expanding their network of connections. This Generation is full of technically savvy, hard-working, creative and open minded individuals. These individuals can offer fresh new ideas and specifically targeted skills that the older generation may not have, or may just not be as well diversified. Generation Y’s are needed on boards to provide a different perspective, a different view on the way things have been — and the way things should be, or could be. Never before has a group of people been so technologically intelligent, communicating at the speed of light – but also focused on the economy and the state of the world (including the issues of global warming, pollution, recycling and ‘going green’)

Okay, I’m jumping around. Long story short, this is going to be a great event to attend, and not just for the younger generation. To ALL Greater Springfield professionals: Give back to your community, help out in tough times so we can prosper and get to better times quicker, meet new people, make new connections, establish professional and social relationships, learn a new skill or use an old one… There’s so many reasons to attend.

To stay up to date on the event details and learn more as the event draws closer, you can follow OnBoard on Facebook. We look forward to seeing bright new faces! You can also call Market Mentors (oh by the way, we are helping plan and produce the event, did I forget to mention that?) at 413-787-1133 to learn more about how to get involved.

Happy Friday, all!