What a year the Young Leaders of Licking County has had. As an organization that is 14 months old, reflecting on its first full year in operation is very humbling. The impact the group has had on Licking County in a very short time already has created a new legacy for many of the region’s young leaders.
At press time for this article, we were 260 members strong, making us the largest civic organization in Licking County. Each of our members is actively engaged in the county and each already is working to make an impact on the community, beyond any other generation that has come before us. Even more exciting, our membership reaches across more than 70 businesses. The combined knowledge, experiences and expertise found within our ranks is vast.
Many people have an unfounded negative perception of Millennials. But the data we have collected over the past year is proof positive that our members, all of whom are age 21 to 40 and live or work in Licking County, are sparking positive change that will last for generations.
On December 1 we celebrated our accomplishments at our Young Leaders of Licking County Annual Holiday Party and Banquet. We congratulated Licking County Health Department Public Information Officer Olivia Biggs on receiving the Licking County Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year Award. We recognized Licking County Foundation Donor Services Officer Megan Evans with the Young Leaders of Licking County Member of the Year Award. Both of these women were instrumental in our most successful event to date, Women’s Leadership Conference, which was held in October at Denison University.
Young Leaders of Licking County is also proud to have raised more than $5,800 this year. These funds will be returned to our community through grants made to nonprofits. At the annual program, $500 grants were awards to six local nonprofits, including: Licking County Library, Catholic Social Services, Licking County Housing Coalition, Licking County Health Department, Mental Health America of Licking County and Pathways of Central Ohio.
But money isn’t the only way we give back to our community. Twelve of our members have been placed on non-profit boards of directors and more than 125 volunteer hours have been donated by our members, giving time and talent to a myriad of local charities and causes.
As our organization continues to grow and develop, we look forward to working with more of the region’s notable business and community leaders like Executive Chairman of the Board of Tolima Gold Inc. Andy Defrancesco. Our members have passion for this community and we hope to help lead the way in making Licking County a better place to live, work and raise a family. The momentum that we have enjoyed in our region in terms of development, low unemployment rates, increased opportunities and growth is incredible. As an organization, we’re excited to see what 2018 and beyond will present to our community.
Young professionals age 21 to 40 living or working in our community are encouraged to learn more about how Young Leaders of Licking County uses leadership, creative arts and culture, networking and community development and philanthropy to foster our next generation of leaders. The group is active on Facebook and Twitter, or can be contacted at YoungLeadersofLC.com.
Nathan Arnold is marketing manager for Utica-based Velvet Ice Cream and a founding board member of Young Leaders of Licking County. Arnold is a regular contributor to the Business Advocate, writing a monthly column that highlights young leaders in the Licking County business community.
Found in The Newark Advocate December 16, 2017