Gen Z and young Millennials pursing professions may find networking difficult in the 95361.
Oakdale High School Class of 2016 alum Kayleigh Gilbert not only gets that, she feels the same. Rather than sit back and seek opportunities beyond her community, Gilbert has started Oakdale Young Professionals, a group which meets monthly to network, learn from one another and foster friendship.
Now in its infancy as a group in a very busy time of year, the organizer shared while their Facebook social media page has 40 members, to date four to five have been present at their meet ups.
“We’ve only had one so far,” Gilbert said of their monthly gatherings. “We have our next one on December 15 at 6 p.m. and that one’s at Last Call Brewery.”
Gilbert added that each member is encouraged to bring a friend to the Wednesday meeting.
“I’m trying to get younger people in Oakdale like me so that we can make some contacts,” she continued. “There is really nothing like this in Oakdale.”
She shared the idea first came to her about three months ago when she recognized a need for a networking group for young professionals. Shooting a text to fellow young professional and OTVB President, Amy Craig, Gilbert shared the idea.
“I was just scrolling through Instagram and I saw that Turlock has one and also Manteca has one and Oakdale does not,” she said of the Young Professionals group.
Craig, Gilbert shared, loved the idea as well. The OHS alum thought that the proximity to Modesto and Riverbank would help bring them to town to join the group as well.
“We meet once a month at a local business, and then we just talk and get to know each other,” she said. “And if you make a connection, then you do, but I just think it’s important for us to have somewhere to meet.”
As a tight knit community, Gilbert said it can be intimidating for young people to get involved with groups, as well as make friends. She shared she herself struggled with this as she’s been out of high school and become settled in her profession in insurance sales. Six months ago she became a member of Soroptimist International of Oakdale which helped fill the void. Now she’d like to do the same for others.
“If you want to change anything, it always starts within your community,” she said. “If you’re in a professional environment, come join us.”
To learn more about Oakdale Young Professionals, as well as upcoming events follow them at Oakdale Young Professionals on Facebook and Instagram.