twenty40 was birthed in 2014 from conversations shared by Brock and Raven. These conversations were often a reflection on the lack of professional knowledge, job preparedness and etiquette they often noticed within employees (Brock as a manager of a restaurant) or students (Raven as an English instructor).
As a restaurant manager, Brock observed that many people, especially young people, were often not prepared to answer general interview questions and at times were often not dressed appropriately for a job interview.
In addition to teaching English courses, Raven also taught a course that focused on developing students’ employability and interpersonal skills. During discussion of basic job requirements, Raven like Brock, also observed that many students were not familiar with day-to-day business etiquette expectations.
This lack of professional knowledge concerned both Brock and Raven. These developing young professionals were, as cliche as it is, the next leaders in whatever career path they would choose for themselves. Brock and Raven agreed that there was a need for a program that focused on assisting young people with developing their professional skills and knowledge. They saw a program such as this focused on developing professional areas in interview skills, application preparation, cover letter and resume writing, and business style and attire.
However, because Brock and Raven were both busy with their own professional and personal commitments, the vision for a professional development program wouldn’t become a reality until July 2017. After each conversation Raven held with Brock, she would jot down their shared ideas for creating an organization that would aim to increase and improve the professional and leadership development of young people seeking to advance and/or enhance their own career opportunities.
At the start of 2017, Raven decided to do some additional research on organizing a young professionals group. Raven discussed with Brock what the vision of their shared ideas would look like as an organization created to unite young professionals together in the Americus-Sumter County area. Raven saw it as an opportunity for young professionals to network and socialize with one another, expanding both their professional and personal circles. She also saw the organization as a space to connect young professionals with the current business and civic leaders in the Americus-Sumter County area. Brock also liked this idea of uniting young professionals in the community together and placed an emphasis on the need for young people to also participate in community service initiatives and projects. They both also agreed that the organization should offer workshops and sessions designed to focus on work-life balance, career building and developing leadership skills.
Raven took their shared ideas and the research on the benefits of a young professionals group, and she drafted an outline of the purpose and mission of what would become twenty40 Young Professionals Group. Before Brock and Raven shared with the community their vision and hopes for establishing a young professionals group, they invited Darrell Sabbs, Jr. to join them in the early stages of the founding of the organization. The three worked closely together discussing how would a young professionals organization benefit the Americus-Sumter County community.
Darrell placed an emphasis on defining what is a young professional and the importance of having mentors. For Darrell, the concept of a young professional needed to be inclusive. He voiced that the group shouldn’t limit itself to focusing only on individuals who are employed in white-collar occupations or who have a certain level of education. A young professional as defined by Darrell is an individual with prior work experience in any industry and who desires to invest in his or her continued professional growth and development. The need for mentors, as discussed by Darrell, was crucial for a young professionals’ organization. Darrell agreed with Brock and Raven’s vision of connecting young professionals in the community with current business and civic leaders. Those individuals could also serve as mentors—providing knowledge, advice, and resources in the areas of personal, professional and leadership development.
Brock and Raven agreed with Darrell’s insight for the creation of the group. Darrell’s ideas were incorporated into the outline of twenty40’s purpose and mission.
After many meetings, the three then discussed the need for a leadership team. Raven shared with Brock and Darrell that it was important to have a sounding board and a collective voice to ensure the organization could attempt to meet the needs of the young professionals in the Americus-Sumter County community. The three created a list of young professionals in the community with different professional backgrounds and community engagements. Many were invited to attend an informational meeting about the idea of starting a young professionals group in the community. From that meeting, 12 amazing individuals who also agreed that a young professionals group was needed in the community, joined Brock, Raven and Darrell in fine tuning of twenty40 Young Professionals Group.
Raven, Brock and Darrell are forever grateful to the original leadership team: Marcus Arnett, Terence Clemons, Herschel Edwards, Twany Edwards, Deatrice Harris, Whitney Kimbrough, Jucole Little, Robin Humphreys, Dominique Paschal-Dowdell, Jimmy Whaley, Jennifer Wilson, and Jessica Wright. Each one offered a unique perspective and invested his or her time into the creation of an organization whose aim is to energize, engage and empower young professionals in the Americus-Sumter County community.
Since July 2017, twenty40 Young Professionals Group has become a movement, one that is helping bridge the gap between those currently leading and guiding Americus, and those that are transitioning into becoming the next leaders of the community.
twenty40 Young Professionals Group has become a positive outlet for young professionals in the Americus-Sumter County community to share and use our voices, talents, and influences to be agents of change for our community.
Learn more about our mission, our vision, and how we go about making the changes we want to see.
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twenty40 | Mission
At twenty40, our mission is to contribute socially conscious initiatives to: enhance the personal and professional development of young professionals between the ages of 21 and 40; provide a wide range of benefits including exposure to educational and philanthropic activities; and support and improve community efforts. The overall objective of twenty40, therefore, is to enrich the community by uniting and empowering young professionals in the Americus-Sumter County area.
twenty40 | Membership
The membership of twenty40 is comprised of young professionals between the ages of 21 to 40 in the Americus-Sumter County, Georgia area representing a variety of occupations.
The annual membership dues are $60.
Dues will help support the following:
Planned Social Events/Activities
Membership benefits are access to:
Social events and networking opportunities
Educational sessions that connect members with leaders and employers in business, philanthropic, academic, and political communities
Opportunities to influence positive change in the community