Chamber Starts Young Professionals Group

Those who attended the first gathering of the the Brentwood Young Professionals on May 20 at the Bonefish Grill are (from left) Joe Kasten of Spectrum Business, Jessica Kairy of Drury Hotels, Steven Pingolt of Country Financial, Gina March of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce and Dan McMullen of Country Financial. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Those who attended the first gathering of the the Young Professionals of Brentwood on May 20 at the Bonefish Grill are (from left) Joe Kasten of Spectrum Business, Jessica Kairy of Drury Hotels, Steven Pingolt of Country Financial, Brentwood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina March and Dan McMullen of Country Financial. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

New director also forms group for women professionals

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Gina March has heard people refer to the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce as a “club.”

That bugs her.

She knows a club is often just a place to hang out and socialize. A club can become a clique — or several. That won’t be the case with the Brentwood Chamber, if she can help it. She became the organization’s new Executive Director five weeks ago.

“A couple of people have referred to this chamber as kind of a club, not a business organization,” she said. “I want to make it a business organization. I want it to be a place where you come to get referrals, to network with each other, to be educated and to walk away better off than you were.”

March wants the Chamber to be more inclusive and she’s brought a couple of ideas from her eight years working for the Kirkwood-Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce. She’s starting two new groups: the Young Professionals of Brentwood, for ages 21 to 40, and the Professional Women of Brentwood.

“I think there’s a real interest among these two groups to have their own special identities,” she said, “so I want to give them the chance to get together.”

Young pros

By starting the Young Professionals of Brentwood, March admits “I’m trying to infuse some younger blood into the Chamber.” The group held its first after-work get-together on May 20 at the Bonefish Grill and it plans to meet again from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 17 at Bonefish.

About eight people attended on May 20, clustered in Bonefish’s bar area sipping drinks and getting acquainted. They represented businesses such as Drury Hotels, a financial services firm, an insurance company and an internet provider.

“I think they just have some common interests,” March said. “I think they want to share things they might not feel as comfortable sharing with an older group. Most are newer in business so they have similar war stories to tell.”

March said she will plan special events where the Young Professionals of Brentwood will get to network and share knowledge and referrals with similar groups in the St. Louis area. She said the Kirkwood group has 25 to 30 people and, “I think our group can get there too.”

Group for women

The Professional Women of Brentwood will hold its first social gathering from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on May 27 at The Vault, the designer resale shop, 2325 S. Brentwood Boulevard.

“The reason I’m starting the women’s group is because I think women like to hang together, and I think younger business people like to be together too,” said March. “There’s really no deep meaning behind all this; I think they just like to be together.”

For more information on either group, contact Gina March at chamber@brentwoodmo.org or call (314) 963-9007.

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