Folsom’s Leading Young Professionals
● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group
Shaina M. DiMariano, D.D.S. and owner of DiMariano Family Dentistry, will be the first to tell you that when she took over her father’s Folsom dental practice as a freshly minted dentist, she didn’t realize the role a healthy business community plays in maintaining the well-being of the broader community overall.
Then DiMariano got involved on the ground floor of Folsom’s Leading Young Professionals (FLYP)—a sub-committee of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce—and gained a whole new perspective. “Speaking for my generation, technology has changed how we see our roles in the community—often in a way that diminishes direct involvement,” DiMariano says. “We have a responsibility to the greater good of the business environment and the future of our community. As young professionals, if we just sit back and rely on everyone else to take care of that, it won’t happen.”
The Folsom Chamber launched FLYP in 2008, in the midst of a growing trend among local business organizations to attract and engage more young people. The idea was to help connect young working professionals with entrepreneurs and the business community, show them how they can help make a difference, and help cultivate the community’s future leaders.
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As times and technology have changed in the past few years, however, Chamber leaders have found that engaging young professionals has benefits that go both ways. “There’s an incredible resource and knowledge base we want to coordinate with, learn from and share with in today’s young professionals,” says Joe Gagliardi, president and CEO of Folsom’s Chamber of Commerce. “The way the Chamber and the business community have traditionally done things may not be the way we do them in the future. The perspective that today’s young professionals bring to issues such as how businesses communicate, attract customers and handle transactions, is vital to making that transition.”
In addition to the knowledge base, there are also the benefits of having a fresh army of volunteers willing to step in and support the Chamber. Each year, FLYP members serve as volunteers for the Chamber and other nonprofits to raise money that goes toward scholarships for local high school students, a project that is now one of the group’s flagship programs. The idea is that by supporting education for local youth, FLYP not only helps students succeed, but shows them and the broader community that there’s a network of young professionals working hard to make Folsom an even better place.
It’s not all work and no play, though. As DiMariano says, FLYP is meant to be more than just an extension of one’s day job—it’s meant to provide something fun, social and rewarding. “This is a phenomenal group of people,” DiMariano says. “We have a really unique community of young professionals who come together to look out for and support each other. It’s not just about business leads—it’s genuine relationships.
FLYP hosts an educational luncheon (quarterly) and a networking social (monthly). For the December schedule and more information, visit folsomchamber.com.