11-02-11-a-warm-welcome.jpgLike many of the readers of Up & Coming Weekly, I am not a native of Fayetteville, or even North Carolina. I was born and raised in Arkansas, so before my move, my only familiarity with Fayetteville was of the Arkansas variety. Eighteen months ago that changed when I was offered a job right here in America’s hometown. As expected, I was excited about the pros-pect of a fresh beginning, but daunted by the reality of not knowing a soul within 500 miles. As many of us under-stand, moving to an unfamiliar place is frightening. Fortunately, after a couple of weeks in town, I was invited to attend the weekly Kiwanis lunch. At this lunch I happened to sit with Kristie Meave and T.J. Jenkins, both members of Fayetteville Young Professionals (FYP).

Kristie and T.J. told me all about the events and opportunities offered by FYP. Needless to say I was very intrigued. I had discovered that Fayetteville is a very dynamic community, but it can be difficult for a young professional to meet people in their age group with similar interests. I decided FYP was worth checking out, so I attended one of their monthly Lunch & Learns. Honestly, I do not remember the guest speaker or the topic, but I do remember the people I met and how welcome I felt. In fact, I met a few of my good buddies that day. After that Lunch & Learn I knew I wanted to get involved with FYP. I began attending as many events as I could, because I realized FYP is not another boring networking organization. It is a dynamic and interesting way to make some great friends who just happen to be great business contacts as well.

Since becoming a member of FYP I have had a change of jobs. In my initial move to Fayetteville, I was coming to work for a community bank. I was excited to be a part of that organization, and am proud of my time there. However, through my contacts in FYP, I was approached about an opportunity at another institution. After some careful consideration, I decided it would be more ben-eficial to my career to pursue the new opportunity, an opportunity that came to me because of FYP! The individual, who asked me to consider the position, and would be integral in the hiring decision, is an FYP member. Had I ignored Kristie Meave’s invitation to check out FYP, I would have never known about this opportunity, and I certainly would not have been asked to apply.

After realizing what FYP had done for me, I made the decision to help them by joining the Professional Development Committee. There are several commit-tees which all FYP members have a chance to be a part of, including member-ship, social, and marketing committees. Each committee plays an integral role in our group and allows members to help lead events that fulfill their personal and professional interests. For me, Professional Development was a good fit. Through that committee we have hosted some great speakers and roundtable discussions in our monthly Lunch & Learns. I am proud of the work our various committees have done for FYP. This is why I was happy to accept the role of Professional Development Committee Chair and a place on our executive committee for our current membership year. All of this has taken place in 18 months.

I am telling you my story because, without FYP, my Fayetteville experience would have been much different. FYP provided many opportunities for me that I did not know existed. I eventually would have made some contacts, and certainly would have made some friends; however, FYP made this a much simpler process.

If you are curious about FYP, please look us up online at www.fayyp.org and come join us at our next event! To make life a little simpler, I have included a few of our upcoming activities. However, we are always adding new Meet-Ups and events, so keep checking our online schedule and look us up on facebook for updated news.

FYP’s Up coming events:

Wednesday Wake Up — Every Wednesday from 7 a.m.-9:30 a.m. at Haymont Grill.

December 15 — FYP Christmas Party at Itz Entertainment City.

Photo: FYP provided many opportunities for me that I did not know existed.

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