How do you chair an organization during a pandemic?

2021 is wrapped and this also brought an end to my year as Chair of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network (YPN). Like many organizations, 2020 threw everyone for a loop, and we spent 2021 in rebuilding mode. Remember back in January 2021? We didn’t have vaccines widely available yet! Our board met entirely remotely for the first several months and member events were also held remotely only. We started the year with Dr. Cathy from Advanced Health of Naperville and Rich Austin from Elite Sales Training talking about getting in the right mindset for 2021 – and oh my goodness – that was certainly true for the year.

NACC young professionals networking event

The mindset I think about last year was centered on creativity and tenacity. We got creative with popup events in the park outdoors in early spring, and later in the summer even did a big outdoor picnic. Professional Development breakfasts were held at Compass Church, to better allow for social distancing and to get around restaurant staffing issues (Thank you Compass!). 2021 was the year of experimentation and trying things in new ways. If our board ran into a “you can’t do that” situation, 9 times out of 10 we figured a way around the problem. It required adjusting our expectations for how to hold events, being ok with completely starting from scratch, and having a truly dedicated board willing to put in long hours to make community focused events happen for young professionals in Naperville. Oh, and maybe a little bit of sunburn thrown in from all of those outdoor meetings.

I’m proud to have been a part of a fantastic team dedicated to restarting the YPN network in 2021 – and I’m even more excited to see what the new board brings to 2022. Also, bring more sunscreen next year guys.