TYPros Are Dedicated to Tulsa’s Growth
By Nancy K. Owens
GOOD TIMES: Members of TYPros meeting at Crawpappies after work to discuss plans and ideas for the future direction of the organization while they enjoy some camaraderie. The group enjoys a mixture of fun and serious business.
JERRY L. CORNELIUS for GTR Newspapers
Tulsa’s young professional community is thriving and growing as evidenced by a growing organization dedicated to marketing Tulsa as a wonderful place to live and work.
The Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPros) has been gathering serious momentum since its inception in April 2005. TYPros represents an important part of the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s economic development plan. Its mission is to attract and retain young professionals to Tulsa as an integral part of the economic growth of our city.
Matt Pivarnik, senior vice president of marketing and operations for the Tulsa Metro Chamber says, “More than three years ago, the Tulsa Metro Chamber hosted a regional higher education forum to discuss how to clog the ‘brain drain’ to other metro regions. In other words, how can Tulsa keep our new graduates and young professionals from taking flight to other cities and states?”
The Chamber hopes that the answer is TYPros. According to Pivarnik, “Historically, the Chamber has always identified workforce, education and employment initiatives to make our region competitive. TYPros is a major initiative in the Chamber’s new economic development plan that includes lifestyles and talent attraction. TYPros will fortify the Tulsa business community as metro regions across the nation face an impending workforce shortage.”
Marnie Ducato, the chairperson of TYPros comments, “We’ve spent the past year developing our vision and concept. We want to get young professionals plugged into what’s going on in Tulsa.”
When asked how TYPros accomplishes this she replies, “We organize social events on a regular basis. These events are an opportunity for our members to meet, network and enjoy what Tulsa has to offer.”
She emphasizes, however, that TYPros is a lot more than just social get-togethers. “We provide leadership training workshops and host an ‘Unplugged’ series with keynote speakers to discuss a variety of issues.”
She gives as an example the recent Unplugged event featuring Mayor Bill LaFortune. “The Mayor held a Q&A session for our members in a casual, informal setting. These types of events are wonderful because they provide our members access to city and civic leaders. It allows our members to learn about what is going on in our city and to get involved.”
The 1,500-plus members of TYPros are an active and involved lot. In addition to working full-time in their own professions, they work with inner-city youth, local businesses to attract talent to Tulsa, host visiting young professionals and are active in working with local companies in their recruiting efforts.
In order to maximize their efforts and results, TYPros has established a variety of work crews: Marketing Tulsa, Business Attraction, Entrepreneur, Next Generation Leadership, Government Relations, Diversity, Colleges and Universities, Ambassadors/Membership, and Special Events.
A 22-member Leadership Team with members from diverse professional backgrounds guides the TYPros. An Advisory Council helps to formulate program objectives.
The Stan Johnson Company, a commercial real estate brokerage firm, serves on the TYPros Advisory Council. According to Amy Moyer, human resources manager, “We became a TYPros corporate sponsor about six months ago. We do a ton of recruiting. Consequently, our business has doubled in size in the past two years. We felt that becoming involved with TYPros would be a good fit.”
When asked about their sponsorship role, Moyer replies, “We provide ideas about how to attract and retain talent and give feedback to them regarding their ideas. It’s a good relationship. If we have a young professional visiting from out of town, the TYPros members show them the dynamic side of Tulsa. They do a good job of marketing Tulsa for us.” She mentions the benefits of sponsorship: “We get exposure for our company and we like knowing that we are involved in something that is creating a positive impact on Tulsa.”
Ducato cites the positives of having a local organization for Tulsa’s young professionals. “It gives our group a collective voice to have input on local issues and to enact changes for the betterment of our town. We feel like we can make a positive difference in the community. Tulsa has tremendous potential and we can communicate that effectively.”
According to Ducato, TYPros is among the fastest growing groups of its kind in the nation. “We’re growing like gangbusters,” she says, adding, “It’s free to join our group and you can be as involved as you want. Just visit our website or give us a call. Our work crews have monthly meetings that you can attend, or you can choose to attend just our social events.” A weekly e-mail newsletter keeps the members up-to-date on the activities.
Members’ ages range from the early 20s up to 40, with the average age being 32. “We’re a diverse and enthusiastic group,” Ducato says, “and we hope to continue to grow our membership, highlight Tulsa as a great place to live and work and bring employers and employees to our wonderful city.”
The quality of life and attributes of a city are very important in drawing employees. Pivarnik relates, “Studies report that young professionals first choose a place to live and then find a job. There is an overall national movement to the South and West. TYPros will establish the message that Tulsa is a choice destination city for young professionals by capitalizing on Tulsa’s great quality of life, low cost of living and low cost of business for entrepreneurs.”
The next TYPros event is a “Candidate Meet and Greet,” Tuesday, Feb. 28, 5-7 p.m. at Cain’s Ballroom. All candidates running in the upcoming elections will be present to talk about issues and platforms.
Website of interest: www.typros.org
Contact TYPros: (918) 560-0286