They showed me to my desk — a phone, a computer and a copy of the Yellow Pages. It was the first day at my new job, and my job was to sell. I knew the product I was selling, but I had no idea who to sell to or where to begin.

My grandfather, a gifted salesman and silver-tongue in his day, offered some sage guidance: “See the people.” Heeding his advice, I joined the Howard County Chamber. After all, that’s where the people are, right?

Anyone starting a new job, new to an area or new to networking quickly realizes how daunting it can be walking into a room full of strangers hoping to make new contacts — especially when you’re 26 but look like you’re 17. Where do I start? Whom do I talk to? What questions do I ask?

After attending a few Chamber events, I started recognizing familiar faces and developing a rapport with a few of my fellow attendees. Looking to become more active within the Chamber and further develop these relationships, I was quickly drawn to the Young Professionals Network (YPN). There was a contagious energy with this group, and they quickly welcomed me with open arms.
More than just cocktail parties and exchanging business cards, it was actively engaging with likeminded business professionals looking to expand their spheres of influence in the community. My network, and my business, quickly began to grow.

Established more than 10 years ago, the Young Professionals Network was formed to provide younger Howard County Chamber members with opportunities to get in front of, as well as build relationships with, the county’s local community and business leaders. Its record-setting networking events, the “Celerate” professional development series and philanthropic activities continue to encapsulate YPN’s mission of empowering success through leadership, service, participation, innovation and enthusiasm. Since its founding, many of YPN’s members have developed into those community and business leaders themselves.

I’m proud to serve as the incoming chair for the Young Professionals Network. I’m proud of what this group has achieved in the past, and I’m proud of what we’ll continue to accomplish in and around Howard County for many years to come.

If you’re a young professional looking to get involved, we invite you to experience what YPN has to offer. Heck, even if you’re not young any more (and I find myself quickly falling into this category, with two kids and a mortgage in the suburbs), come see what YPN is all about. It’s almost become cliché now, but its events are always open to the young and the young at heart. Get involved, share your ideas, build your network and “See the people.”


Matt Anderson is a partner with McFarlin Insurance Agency LLP. He can be reached at 410-312-7800.