From left to right: Liz Onderstal, Kyla Miller, Laura Robinett, Greg Ptacek, Lukas Rix, Katie Diediker, Lexie Lenihan and Mark Kanitz enjoy a chat during a day-time, informal Wayne Young Professionals meeting. The group meets multiple times a month. If interested in joining the group, visit "Wayne, NE Young Professionals" on Facebook.

Young Professionals group offers networking opportunities

Living in a college town after graduation can be strange. For many they fall between cracks socially-the people they know from school have taken jobs elsewhere and moved away, and yet long-time residents may seem unfamiliar. Luckily, in Wayne, people familiar with the struggles of meeting new people got together to form the Wayne Young Professionals group.

"I was talking to Wes (Blecke, the then-director of Wayne Area Economic Development) and said 'there needs to be something for people my age, my demographic to go to'," Abby Schademann, WAED marketing, events and tourism coordinator said.

That desire to meet other young workers led to meeting with Laura Robinett, Scott Ronhovde, Justin Davis, Greg Ptacek and Liz Onderstal to form Wayne's Young Professionals group last July. Without knowing what kind of reception they'd receive, the group booked the back room of the Max for an open invitation get-together. Roughly 40 people showed up.

With the success of the first meeting, the group decided to set up something monthly and to start planning an occasional event that was also family-friendly.

"You get the people who are young and single and just moved here and don't know anybody and then you get the people who have been here for a few years and they have a spouse and they have kids," Shademann said. "Something that the young singles don't think about is that child care is a little hard to find/expensive, so Greg and Scott and Justin are the ones saying 'let's do something kid-friendly so it encourages people to bring families out so they don't always feel the need to find child care for one of our events'."

Young Professionals average about 15 people per event, and with the group picking up momentum, in May they decided to move events from once a month to once a week. The group varies throughout the month whether they meet for breakfast, lunch or an evening social activity.

The suggested age range for the group are working professionals aged 22-40, though Schademann notes that everyone, regardless of age is invited. 

"It's nice to see that there are people in the same boat and it's a great way to meet new people."

Schademann also mentioned that the last week of September is young professionals week so the group will be planning events around Wayne State's homecoming.

"It's a nice way to show those in college that Wayne is a great community to come back to or stay in after graduation," Schademann said.

For more information or to join, visit the Wayne, Ne Young Professionals page on Facebook or contact Schademann at (402) 375-2240.

The Wayne Herald

Mailing Address:
114 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787
Phone: 402-375-2600

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