The Tulsa Young Professionals have spent the past five years working to keep Tulsa's young working professionals in the city. On Saturday, April 24, they will celebrate with a fifth anniversary event at the Tulsa Community College Center for Creativity, 909 S. Boston Ave.
Brian Paschal is the TYPros Executive Director. He said that TYPros began "out of Tulsa's Chamber of Commerce to kind of combat the brain drain of the Tulsa community ... It was started by a small handful of volunteers." In that time, the organization has grown to boast a little less than 7,000 members.
"The mission is really to attract and retain young professionals to the Tulsa area," Paschal said.
TYPros has been able to accomplish a lot in its first five years, due mainly to its nine work crews, which Paschal called "the lifeblood of the organization."
The work crews are essentially committees devoted to various initiatives related to TYPros' mission. For example, the Colleges and Universities work crew focuses its attention on promoting Tulsa to area students. It hosts on-campus events, attends college fairs and expands the Intern in Tulsa program, "where we work with interns over the summer." The Intern in Tulsa program puts together events "to get various interns together to meet one another," Paschal said.
The work crews are entirely composed of volunteers. In fact, with the exception of Paschal himself, all of the positions at TYPros are volunteer positions.
The requirements for being a TYPros member are quite simple. Paschal said there are "no requirements other than interest in attracting (professionals) to Tulsa." Most members are in the 22-40 age range, though a few are in college and some are over 40. Paschal said all the volunteers really have "the desire to make an impact in the community."
TYPros membership is free, as are most of their events, and the organization puts on several events every year.
"We have a green gala generally in August," Paschal said. It is a "party that is entirely planned with sustainability in mind." The party planners use local food and materials and solar power.
The Green Gala is sponsored by the Sustainability work crew, which also sponsors three or four GreenSpeak events per year. The Sustainability crew seeks to establish standards of sustainability for events and to encourage recycling initiatives.
TYPros members take a yearly trip to Oklahoma's Capitol.
The trip is sponsored by the Government Relations work crew, which also works to ensure that young professionals attend the Chamber of Commerce's monthly lunches, which are also held at the Capitol. The work crew also develops TYPros' legislative agenda and works to improve relations with government officials.
They sponsor, Paschal said, three or four green-centered speaking events per year.
In July, TYPros generally hosts an art show which "highlights original art from our members," Paschal said.
"We do have a series called 'Unplugged Series'," Paschal said. This gives an opportunity for people to hear community leaders speaking about various issues concerning the community.
The Unplugged Series is coordinated by the Next Generation Leadership work crew, which also coordinates a Leadership Series and works with Leadership Tulsa and Junior Achievement.
The Next Generation Leadership crew also does a Fitness in Tulsa series, three or four times a year, according to Paschal. Events include rock climbing or speaking events by chefs about healthy eating.
Other work crews include the Ambassadors, which focuses on community outreach and maintaining existing relationships; Business Development, which attempts to attract businesses friendly to young professionals; Community Redevelopment, which seeks to assist in the revitalization of the city in order to attract professionals; and Diversity, which hosts Diversity and Dialogue events and works with several organizations devoted to diversity.
Paschal is new to TYPros, as former executive director Chris Oden recently left for a job with Saxum Public Relations, but said that he has been very impressed by the organization thus far.
"The dedication and passion of the members is really inspiring," Paschal said. "Their commitment to community service is like nothing I've ever seen."
Regarding the party on Saturday, Paschal said, "(It's really) a matter of celebrating five years of tremendous growth. What we hope for (is) a tremendous other five years."
The anniversary events for the group will be April 24, 7-11pm. The event will feature musical entertainment from local bands such as Stars Go Dim and RadioRadio. The party is black tie optional, and reservations may be made in advance. Admission for members is $35 and $100 for nonmembers.
For more information, visit the TYPros Web site, typros.org. To make a reservation, please call 560-0286.
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