Southaven Young Professionals collected donations for Greenbrook Elementary School earlier this year.

Southaven Young Professionals is giving young adults in DeSoto County an opportunity to make connections — both personal and professional.

Through socials, networking events and game nights, members of Southaven Young Professionals (SYP) can practice communication skills, meet others in their industry, and learn from other members. 

SYP Chair Matthew Kelso said that the club allows him to further himself as a professional while also having a good time.

“It makes it fun to work,” Kelso said. “We want to have a sense of community. There’s people from different backgrounds and different views.”

Founded in 2019, SYP hosts meetings and events once a month for anyone working in a professional industry under age 40. From ice cream socials to Family Feud game nights to networking events after work, SYP provides its members many opportunities to make connections. 

SYP operates under the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, which funds most of their events. 

The SYP board members all work in different industries — from insurance to commercial construction to sales. Southaven Chamber of Commerce liaison Leah Brigance said that the variety of experience within the club makes the connections all that more valuable. 

“We use the people in this room,” Brigance said. 

Board member Hunter Riley echoed Brigance’s sentiment. Riley said that he has worked with other members in business deals. 

“We all come from different industries,” Riley said. “We’re all helping each other.”

Scott Sims, co-chair of SYP, said that the club gives young people in the county the resources they need. He said that as more young people are staying in the DeSoto County area and moving here for their careers, they are looking for a way to get connected with like-minded people their age. 

“Young people in DeSoto County are desperate for community and to grow professionally,” Sims said. “People are staying in DeSoto County.”

Riley said that while SYP has given him professional connections and helped him advance his career, he has also met some of his closest friends, as well.

“I’ve met a handful of people here,” Riley said. “We all just kind of meshed really well.”

Rachel O’Halloran, the membership director for SYP, said that being involved in the club makes members more attractive to executives.

“The higher-ups would see value in that, and you could build relationships,” O’Halloran said.

Kelso said that, above all, SYP has prepared him to be a leader in his community.

“The next leaders of DeSoto County are in this room,” Kelso said. “We’re not just the future leaders; we’re leading now.”

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