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New partnership aims to keep young professionals in city

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 14. 2017 9:33PM
From left, Preston Hunter, vice chair, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Mike Skelton, president, GMCC; Laura Gamache, chair, Manchester Young Professionals Network; and Alexandra Horton , past president, MYPN, take a selfie to mark the merger of Manchester Young Professionals Network and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, at PillPack in Manchester Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — A former chair of the Manchester Young Professionals Network said Tuesday that merging with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce will “help us extend our reach in Manchester.”

“Retaining young professionals in this area is extremely important for my business and for all businesses downtown because we rely on young people living, working and playing in downtown,” said Alexandra Horton, who owns Cafe la Reine on Elm Street.

The young professionals group, nearly 4,000 members strong, will become an advisory council and permanent program of the chamber.

“This new partnership is rooted in our belief that working together, our two organizations can better accomplish our shared vision of attracting, retaining, and supporting young professionals in our community,” Mike Skelton, the chamber’s president and CEO, announced at PillPack in the Millyard.

More than a year in the making, the partnership will work to keep more young people in Manchester, but no definite plans have been developed, said Skelton, who served on the board of the young professionals group more than a decade ago.

The merger will mean that MYPN, which was formed 13 years ago, will gain access to chamber resources and staff support, including help in planning events.

It also will provide a “pipeline to our members like PillPack and many others who have young professionals within their workforce looking for opportunities to engage, to lead, to be a mentor,” Skelton said.

The advisory council will work with the chamber’s board of directors to develop strategic programs to help attract and retain young people in the Manchester area.

The chamber counts about 800 members.

The merger will “young up the chamber,” said Matt Cookson, executive director of the New Hampshire High-Tech Council, who is a chamber member and former MYPN member.

Business Manchester

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