Networking with greater purpose

July 22, 2013
Author: Rachel Lewis | contributor

SALT LAKE CITY — Last July, Brent Klovstad with Enterprise Rent-a-Car received news from his employer that he was being transferred from Orange County to Salt Lake City. He knew less than a handful of people in Utah, but after moving he turned to United Way of Salt Lake's Young Leaders to help change that.

"It's always a difficult process to gain a network in a new place, but I had belonged to United Way's Young Leaders in California which had helped me gain a diverse and strong network." said Klovstad. "I'm happy to report that I have found the same results here."

There are currently more than 500 United Way of Salt Lake Young Leaders in Davis, Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties. Because of its unique purpose, the group added 75 new members last year and is still growing.

"Our real focus is creating a network of young professionals that give back to the community through service opportunities, advocacy work and leadership development," said Young Leaders chair Greg Summerhays. "We have members from a wide collection of industries and businesses in Utah. Members make connections with people that you would never meet in your regular business interactions."

Claudia Larsen from Zions Bank says one of the biggest benefits of being a Young Leader is the access to influential business leaders.

"We have a Lunch-with- a-Leader program where a small group of members have lunch with a prominent business leader," said Larsen. "It's been an incredible opportunity to ask Mark Miller, Bruce Reese, Kem Gardner and many other amazing leaders about their success."

Other members of Young Leaders are drawn to the group based on the membership's desire to help the community. Tony Hull from YESCO chairs the community involvement committee.

"We are putting a real focus on volunteering in early-childhood education," said Hull. "This year we are partnering with the Guadalupe School to provide one-on-one tutoring in the after school program. It's a great opportunity to work on the ground level while getting to know other professionals."

Young Leaders has also been an influential force in securing on going funding for optional extended-day kindergarten. The group will tackle their next challenge during this forthcoming legislative session. They hope to secure results-based funding to support high-quality preschools for at-risk kids.

"Many young professionals haven't been exposed to the legislative process," said advocacy and public policy chair, Will Schwarzenbacher from Questar. "We introduce members to how they can advocate for their cause, which is a great skill for everyone to learn."

Besides benefitting from professional opportunities, this group of young leaders also knows how to have fun. They promote various social events that raise awareness about their work and give members a fun night out. From golf tournaments to private concerts, these events put members in a social setting where they can network with like-minded philanthropists and up-and-coming business leaders.

To learn more about United Way of Salt Lake's Young Leaders contact Drew Martinez at 801-746-2562 or