By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — “I moved to Marshfield about 3½ years ago,” said Anna Cisler in a video meant to attract young professionals to the city. “I moved here because of a job. One of the bigger reasons I am still here is really because of the community and the support network I found in Marshfield.”
Cisler’s words reflect the goals of the Marshfield Young Professionals (MYP) group, a program that began in 2004 as a Leadership Marshfield project.
“We chose (the MYP project) because of the continuing discontent with having any connections for young professionals,” explained Alanna Feddick, a program co-founder. “There was much communication about the brain drain, those growing up here and then leaving for school and never coming back, or those brought for employment opportunities but wouldn’t stay around for more than a few years.
“There just seemed to be talk but nothing done, so we decided to do something.”
Through Leadership Marshfield, and other project coordinators nurtured the early program, giving it roots, a goal they hoped to accomplish with young professionals moving to the community.
“I started in the group around the end of 2010, the beginning of 2011,” said Jes Mannigel, MYP board president. “At that time it was a pretty small group, about eight to 10 people doing community service projects, having the monthly socials, and having their meetings. I wasn’t heavily involved at that time.
“In the next couple of years, I started going to more of the events, and in 2013 I did Leadership Marshfield myself, which is kind of what inspired me to do more with our YP group and kind of take it to the next level.”
In 2013 Mannigel organized a restructuring committee. That is when the group developed working committees and a board of directors.
“Before that it was an open group of people just trying to figure things out. You had people falling into those leadership roles, but nothing was set up,” added Mannigel. “It really helped to get more people engaged and planning activities that were more representative of what our group wanted.”
There are many YP groups around the state, and while each group functions independently, some, like Marshfield’s, operate under the umbrella of the city’s chamber of commerce.
The MYP group is open to everyone. However, membership usually falls in the 18- to 40-year-old demographic. Through community service and social engagement, the program builds a network to engage and connect young business people.
The group holds meetings at the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, 700 S. Central Ave. in Marshfield, the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. It also hosts a monthly social at a Marshfield bar or restaurant, which rotates between various businesses.
MYP works with organizations in many roles to perform community service in Marshfield and runs field trips for its members to visit places outside of the city.
“It gives them an opportunity to go places they may not go,” said Mannigel.
Today the group has nearly 100 members and continues to stimulate connectivity among returning and relocating early professionals in the Marshfield area.
“It doesn’t matter what the place has to offer,” said Mannigel. “If you have someone to do it with, it is all the better. We’ve had people tell us that they cried driving down main street when they first got their job here because they were so worried about it.
“Now three, four years later, they have bought homes here. They have started families here. That’s because they’ve made these connections to the people and to the community.”
For more information on Marshfield Young Professionals, email Jes Mannigel at email@example.com, or call Karen Isaacson at the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry at 715-384-3454.
Next week: Leadership Marshfield: The Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala