Grafton YPs showcase businesses

By Gary Achterberg

March 19, 2019

Members of the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals participate in a Friendsgiving event last November at The Bridge Inn. The group collected food that was donated to the Saukville Community Food Pantry.
Submitted photo

GRAFTON — The Young Professionals group in Grafton grew from a desire by the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce to find ways to recruit and retain millennials.

The initial efforts that sprouted from a regional conference of the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives proved to be more popular than expected. What started as purely social activities has expanded in the past year after Megan Schelwat was hired as the chamber’s director of special events and tourism promotions.

“One of the key takeaways for us was the importance of establishing a sense of belonging for our young professionals,” Pam King, executive director of the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce, said about those initial discussions at the conference. “We knew that if we could help to develop a group that would help support young professionals in our area, we would be able to begin establishing that sense of belonging.”

Schelwat – whom King called “our resident young professional” – was tasked with revitalizing and expanding the group after she was hired about a year ago.

One of the goals, Schelwat said, has been to partner the group with chamber members, who host events. She called it a positive for the businesses and the young professionals.

For instance, one of the first events she organized was a gathering at Ozaukee Crossfit. It helped showcase the business and young professionals who attended took a free class.

The best turnout so far was for a gathering featuring cocktails and yoga at The River Room on the Milwaukee.

Another event involved a presentation from Crescendo Wealth Management on financial planning geared toward the young professional demographic. The meeting was hosted by another chamber member, the new Fiddlehead’s café location in the village.

The events planned so far have focused on networking opportunities, volunteering in the community and opportunities for young professionals to make new friends, Schelwat said.

An upcoming event is the Golf & Grub golf outing, which will take place at The Bog, 3121 Highway I in Saukville, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 23. For more information, call Schelwat at the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce, 262-377-1650.

“It’s a great way to meet new people and get exposed to other businesses,” Schelwat said.