The Howard County Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to accelerating business growth in the local community through connections, advocacy, and professional development. The latter point of the three is a critical component of one of the Chamber’s most popular programs — the Howard County Young Professionals Network (YPN). 

As such, the Young Professionals Network created a half-day event with the purpose of helping both those younger in their career, and those who are seeking personal and professional development opportunities within an energized environment. Now three years after its creation, the 2023 Young Professionals Network Conference is back and better than ever, exploring the theme of “The Art of Communication.”

This year’s program will take a more interactive approach than traditional conferences, allowing attendees the chance to participate at every step of the way. The opening keynote panel will offer the opportunity for three lucky contestants to test their public speaking skills in front of three local professionals who reached great levels of success at a young age, in a fun and light-spirited way. There’s even rumor of some prizes for the winners! 

The panel will feature Dr. Josh Funk, Founder & CEO of Rehab 2 Perform, a regional physical therapy company that has expanded to eight different locations in less than 10 years, as well as developed a large social media presence and arsenal of digital program offerings. Joining Dr. Funk will be Krysta Herring, Vice President of Asset Management and Leasing for Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), who manages a 2.3 million square-foot office portfolio and was named to the Baltimore Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list in 2021. Lastly, Ben Nichols, President of Harkins Builders, will complete the panel. Nichols rose to the top of his company after a career as a combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps and was also named to the BBJ’s 40 Under 40 list in 2022.

The day will continue with two interactive workshops, led by Edward DeJesus (Social Capital Builders) and Camille Mazelev (Maze Consulting LLC) on building social networks and best business communication practices, respectively. 

The conference will be held on Oct. 5 from 2:00 to 5 p.m., before heading a few doors down to GrillMarx Steakhouse & Raw Bar for a networking mixer from 5 to 7 p.m.! Tickets can be purchased as a bundle (including conference and mixer), conference-only, or networking mixer-only. No matter if you’re young-in-age or young-at-heart, ALL those who are interested in improving their communication skills are welcome!

Please join us next month at the Merriweather Lakehouse in Downtown Columbia for the third Annual YPN Conference! Visit to register and learn more.