LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Young leaders in Lakewood Ranch have created an alliance designed to offer benefits that will expand their networking opportunities as well as to make them more valuable in the workplace and as entrepreneurs.
The group's inaugural educational luncheon was all about learning to take teamwork seriously. Ann Roggero, director of Leadership Giving at United Way of Sarasota County, led the first seminar for The Lakewood Ranch Young Leaders Alliance.
"We saw a need in the community, Lakewood Ranch, that wasn't being addressed by the other chambers or young professional groups, which was education for young professionals out here," said YLA co-chair Jeff Zientara, a financial planner with Raymond James.
More than 20 young professionals attended the meeting and seminar led by Roggero, who previously led development for the State College of Florida.
"It went well. We had more people show up than we thought, which was good," said YLA events chair Brooke Marks, a vice president of C1 Bank.
The Lakewood Business Alliance also offers events at the Lakewood Ranch campus of the State College of Florida and the young professionals decided to design their events after a model that was already working.
Being part of a group like the Young Leaders Alliance is vital, Roggero said, "because there is so much opportunity in this area right now, It's getting better and better with every month that goes by and, of course, we hope
that will continue."
Speaking to the group as leaders, she gave them ideas and tools for how to work on teams to get results. Building trust interested the group, skills which Roggero stressed can improve individual accountability and clarity of expectations. It also leads to less biased and emotional discussion with more objective work-focused meetings.
Learning is critical to making young people valuable to employers, Roggero said.
"That also makes you much more valuable both professionally within your organization, and also for yourself in networking. The more you get out, the more you know," she said. "The more people you know, the more contacts you make, the more of a difference you make."
The Young Leaders Alliance (YLA) is a group of young professionals who will operate as a subset of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. A young professional is defined as anyone under the age of 40 living or working within the Sarasota or Manatee area.
The mission of the group is to provide opportunities for young professionals to enhance their leadership, communication and project management skills by providing events and programs throughout the year.
For more information, visit www.LWRYLA.com.
Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7027, or tweet @DeeGrahamBH