My company’s attorney who once saved our business from closing when I was scared and didn’t know where to turn. Our company’s incredible accountant who I trust like a brother and has helped us turn our company around. The DJ at my wedding who kept our guests on their feet for hours. A friend for life who was a part of my bachelor party and at my wedding.

What do they all have in common? I built my relationship with all of them while serving on the Board of Directors for the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network. Those are just a few examples of the countless relationships I formed during my 6 years volunteering as a leader of YPN. My service to this organization has literally changed the course of my life and I don’t know where I’d be without these friends. I can only imagine how far the ripples of my time on the YPN Board will continue to have a positive effect, long after I am no longer a “young” professional.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already a part of Reno’s tight-knit business community. You probably already serve a variety of organizations and have a network in place that you rely on. I too have served several other committees, boards, and organizations. None of them have been as beneficial to both my personal and professional life as YPN. I’m going to explain why I think this organization has so much more power than other groups I’ve been involved with.

There are countless networking opportunities in Northern Nevada. You can join an association for just about any profession or passion. The biggest difference for YPN is a demographic-specific networking opportunity. You’re serving with and getting to know other young professionals who are at a similar point in their lives and careers. This creates an incredible bond that leads to friendships, business partnerships and the exchange of advice that you can’t find anywhere else. For the most part, we grew up in the same time period. We have the same struggles and challenges. We have similar aspirations and dreams. YPN is an opportunity that you can only take advantage of during a certain window of your life and it’s a shame to miss out on such an amazing opportunity. The friends and connections you will make will continue to develop and will benefit both sides for years to come.

When it comes to professional experience, the YPN Board is an opportunity to use your creativity and ideas to genuinely run a business with your peers. As my 6 years on the board comes to an end, I look back at how I saw the organization as I went to my first few events. I think about how far we’ve come and how our collaboration and ideas have shaped the organization as it is today. The leaders I once looked up to have moved on and have entrusted the current board to implement their own ideas and shape YPN into their own visions. I can’t wait to see where the next group of leaders will take this organization!

Another opportunity unique to YPN is that we only have one part-time paid employee. Other than that, the board runs all YPN business activities as a team. Most organizations I’ve served on have multiple paid employees and the board meets once a month to approve their work and give them direction. At YPN, you are in the driver’s seat with your peers! You will have the opportunity to showcase your skills, abilities and friendship qualities. This shared experience builds a fraternity that is priceless and unshakable.

There’s an incredible sense of accomplishment from coming together as a team and putting on an event like Twenty Under 40 or securing a high-profile community leader to speak to our group or planning a mixer where friends and connections are forged. Knowing that your ideas and efforts brought people together and gave them an opportunity to enrich each other’s lives is a part of YPN I will strive to replicate the rest of my life.

Lastly, being part of YPN’s board gives you unprecedented access to community leaders in Northern Nevada. You’ve probably already experienced how our business community is anxious to help young professionals grow and become the next generation of leaders. YPN is the best organization to access that mentorship. When you call anyone in Northern Nevada and tell them you’re on the board of YPN, doors fly open. There are countless non-profits and industry associations in Northern Nevada, but there is only one group with a mission that EVERYONE can get behind. “To cultivate an informed and involved young professional community in the Truckee Meadows in order to retain and attract young and diverse talent. “

Step up. Be a leader! Watch your contributions multiply exponentially into personal benefit. Join a committee, come to the events, take advantage of your age and status as a young professional. When you’re ready, apply for the Board of Directors and I promise you’ll gain friends and connections that will last a lifetime and take your career to a level not possible without the love and support of this incredible group of leaders.