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Open House / Board Selections

YEP Open House

Want to get involved or know someone who would make a good addition to our organization? Join us at Vazzy’s on December 3rd at 5:30PM.

This is your opportunity to join the board and/or a committee. Our Board terms run from January through December. We need to fill a few positions for the upcoming 2015 term.

Food will be provided. We look forward to making things happen next year, and we need you in order to meet our goals!


Vice chair
Marketing Committee Chair
Events Committee Chair
Sponsorship Committee Chair
Community Outreach Chair

The Young Emerging Professionals is a networking group for people in their 20s and 30s who live, work, or play in the Valley. Our goal is to Connect with each other, Develop professional and personal skills, and Support the community.

Member Spotlight – Fernando Solis

Fernando Head ShotWelcome to the Young Emerging Professional’s Member Spotlight, where we sit down with one of our members and see what they’re up to.

Employer: Hampton Inn Shelton Managed by New Castle Hotels and Resorts

Title: General Manager

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do: I have been in the hospitality Industry for about 14 years now I have worked for many of the popular hotel chains and brands like Marriott, Starwood, and I am currently working for the best brand, Hampton Inn. In my position as General Manager, I lead a team of 30 employees and I focus on four man objectives: revenue growth, bottom line profit, guest satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.  I love this industry because every day there is something new and challenging.  I have been blessed with a great staff and a wonderful hotel. In the three years since it opened, we have received many awards from Hilton.  In 2012, we won the Lighthouse award that is given to the top 5% of Hampton Inn for Service and Quality, and in 2013, we received the Circle of Excellence award for being in the top 10% for Service and Quality.

How did you find out about YEP and why did you want to get involved? Not being from the Valley, I wanted to find out more of what was going on in the community.  I started attending more and more Chamber functions, where I met Thomas and Sue Steeves.  They invited me to a YEPresent, and I have been going ever since.  New Castle Hotels and Resorts believe in giving back to the community and lending a helping hand.  I always tell people we might not be able to give much money but I can always give you my time …and the occasional gift certificate for a free night.

Which YEP event has been your favorite so far?  I do have to say Pinktoberfest is a blast. Being a cancer survivor, I love giving to any organization that would help cure this horrible disease.

Tell us more about you. What are your future aspirations? I am originally from a small town in Texas, but I have been in Connecticut for about 21 years now.  I like to say I am on a really long vacation in Connecticut because Texas will always be home. I have many hobbies. I love to golf, hike, and being from Texas, I love to BBQ.  I am a cancer survivor from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I have learned to live life with a positive attitude and face difficulties head on.

I love the hospitality industry and one day I would love a full service hotel, but my dream job would be to open and operate a BBQ place.

Any fun facts or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you? In my 14 years in the hotel industry I have seen and witnessed many interesting things.  I have met and hung out with many celebrities like Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block, Alice Cooper,112 (had birthday cake with them), Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Carrot Top, Terry Bradshaw, BB King, and Ray Charles.

My favorite person I have ever met was just last week.  I met an eleven year old little girl who had beaten leukemia.  This tiny person went through years of Chemo and treatments and is now in remission. She was full of life and so happy it melted my heart. Every time I think I am having a bad day I think of her and how happy she was when we met.  This was a great reminder that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. Live a positive life and positive things will happen.This was a great reminder that no matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. Live a positive life and positive things will happen.


The YEP mission states: YEP’s mission is to connect and engage emerging leaders in their 20’s & 30’s in activities that support our community and the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce while making the Lower Naugatuck Valley region and its surrounding communities a more energetic, exciting and active place to work and live.

We accomplish this mission by focusing on three pillars: Connect. Develop. Support. This post focuses on the Develop portion.

Developing personally and professionally is something that happens just by being a part of a group such as YEP and through professional development activities/events hosted by the organization.

YEP recognizes that energy and passion is what makes the Greater Valley community a more exciting place to work and live. By harnessing this resource, we can make a difference in the lives of our members, our companies, and our community.

We strive to make YEP a resource for young professionals. Many members have developed into new positions at work or started their own companies. The skills they learned from being a part of our networking group has helped them to succeed.

What can you learn from being a part of YEP? Networking tips, leadership skills, and conversation etiquette are the first items that come to mind. It is common for YEP members to pass along both professional and personal tips and tricks to each other during events.

Did you know that you should wear your name tag on your right side? This way, when someone shakes your hand, they can clearly see your name and company.

Learn to be more comfortable talking to strangers (not the creepy ones in the park, but the nice ones at the YEPresents). How do you get better? You practice. YEPresents and other YEP hosted events are the perfect practice ground. We are all people just like you who want to be a part of something and to do a little networking.

Get more involved. Beyond attending YEPresents, CEO Speaks, volunteer teams, and other YEP hosted events, you can get more involved by joining a committee.

YEP has four committees: Events, Marketing, Sponsorship, and Community Outreach. Being part of these committees will not only look good on a resume, but it will also be an opportunity to learn what it takes to be a part of a committee and report to a Board of directors.

To be a part of a committee, all it takes is a conversation with the committee chair. To learn more about each committee and who is the current chair, visit the About page.


(424 by Kayleigh Apicerno)


The YEP mission states: YEP’s mission is to connect and engage emerging leaders in their 20’s & 30’s in activities that support our community and the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce while making the Lower Naugatuck Valley region and its surrounding communities a more energetic, exciting and active place to work and live.

We accomplish this mission by focusing on three pillars: Connect. Develop. Support. This post focuses on the Connect portion.

YEP connects young professionals who live, work, and/or play in the area to each other during monthly after hour networking events (YEPresents), volunteering activities, and professional development events.

They say it’s not what you know, but who you know. It is important for young professionals to connect with each other and with their local community, especially when they are looking for a job, to advance their career, to change careers, or to get involved.

Sales professionals are always looking for new prospects and consumers are more comfortable working with someone they know. Leads on new clients and recommendations on where to buy are inevitably exchanged at networking events such as the monthly YEPresents.

CEO Speaks is a members only series of events that puts 15-20 YEP members in a room with local business leaders. The speakers make a short presentation and then take questions from the audience. This is an invaluable opportunity to learn from successful leaders and develop stronger leadership skills.

Getting involved with the community makes you feel good. People volunteer because it makes them feel good. YEP connects people who want to get involved with opportunities to do so. The Community Outreach Committee works closely with The Valley United Way and their CVC (Corporate Volunteer Council),  and other local organizations to find ways we can get involved.

Annually, YEP takes part in a variety of community events, including but not limited to: Bowl-2-Benefit, The Valley Goes Pink, Toys 4 Kids, and The Back-2-School Backpack Program.

It is all connected. In the next few posts, we will dig deeper into the other two pillars, Develop and Support, and as you read, you will notice some aspects will be repeated. While each pillar is specific, it would be almost impossible to focus solely on one without the other two.

Is it your time to emerge? If you are not a YEP member but would like to be, head on over to the Join YEP section or The Greater Valley Chamber website to sign up. Membership is only $40 a year, or $30 if you are a Chamber member.


(428 words by Kayleigh Apicerno)

YEPresent @ Hot Tamale

FB Cover HT
We are heading to Seymour this July for our monthly YEPresent. Join us on the patio for some after hours networking.

Please consider bringing cash to donate to our Back-2-School backpack program. We have adopted a child and will be purchasing the needed supplies soon.

Attend this event and get entered to win a prize: A free night’s stay at The Hampton Inn! (They have a water slide!)

If you are interested in becoming a member, visit our website,, or Annual membership is $40, and only $30 for Chamber members.

Student Back To School In Style Thanks to YEP

Allison, Jayden, Sara
Allison, Jayden, and Sara with the back to school supplies

Each year as I watch brothers, sisters, kids I babysit, and everyone else in the area get ready for back to school, the list of supplies they need seems to keep growing!  Some are now 2 pages long.

It is a great feeling when a community can come together and help one another start the school year off right.  The United Way held a backpack drive for two schools in Seymour, which I was proud to be a part of.

So many of the Valleys businesses, small and large, received a list for a child in need.  On August 22nd, 2013, 160 students were able to come and pick up a new backpack, clothes, and supplies.

The Young Emerging Professionals was one of 4 groups from the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce involved in the event.  It was amazing to see the looks on each of the kids’ faces as they opened the storage container full of useful but fun items that were packed for them.

Just knowing that each of them will be returning to school with a sense of pride and excitement was priceless.  -Allison


So Many Reasons to Join YEP!

Welcome to 2013! Big things are heading our way over at YEP. We are currently wrapping up week one of our Reasons To Join campaign.

Here is the list so far:

Reason to Join YEP #1: Meet new people at our monthly after hours (aka YEPresents)

Reason to join  #2: Visit local restaurants, bars, and other hot spots.

Reason to join  #3: Gain new business and get business referrals.

Reason to join  #4: Learn something new.

Reason to join  #5: Meet new friends.

Reason to join  #6: Build your resume

Reason to join #7:  Meet a mentor.

Reason to join  #8: Personal growth.

Reason to join #9: Free entry to monthly afterhours networking events a.k.a. YEPresents.

Reason to join #10: Get involved in the community.

Reason to join #11: Learn or hone a skill.

Reason to join #12: Chance to be featured as a Member Spotlight.

Reason to join #13: Job references.

Reason to join #14: Support local businesses.

Reason to join #15: Try great new foods!

Reason to join #16: Keep up with current local events

Reason to join #17: Win a prize or a trophy!

Reason to join YEP #18: Become a leader.

Reason to join #19: Have fun!

Reason to join #20: Connect with a larger audience

Reason to join #21: Connect with “go to” people

Reason to join #22: Get out of the house

Reason to join #23: Get inspired!

Reason to join #24: Collaborate with peers. Build a team

Reason to join #25: Meet new people instead of a profiles

Reason to join #26: Access to member to member benefits and offers.

Reason to join #27:  Get to know the neighborhood

Reason to join #28: Opportunities to help better your community

Reason to join #29: Build lasting friendships

Reason to join #30: Because there are so many reasons to join!

What was your reason to join? Or, if you not already a member, what would be some of the reasons you would want to join? Let us know on the Facebook page and find out the next reasons on the list. 

Membership Committee Chair Position Available

Now is your chance to get involved. YEP is currently without a Membership Committee Chair and needs to fill this position as soon as possible.

YEP has four committees:

  1. Marketing Committee (Kayleigh A)
  2. Membership Committee – Could be you!
  3. Community Outreach Committee (Alexis T)
  4. Events Committee  (Tom S)

Each of the committees is very important to the growth and development of the Young Emerging Professionals. If you feel that you or someone you know would be a good fit for this position, contact us: or via message on our Facebook Page

Membership Committee Responsibilities 

Here is a short list of the basic activities and responsibilities of the Membership Committee Chair:

  • Attend YEP Board meetings
  • Keep the YEP Board informed of meetings and committee progress
  • Set agenda and chairs meetings for the Membership Committee and ensures distribution of meeting minutes
  • Designs and implements ways to attract new members and retain established members
  • Maintains database and/or lists of current and potential members
  • Additional responsibilities as set by the Board

Additional Resources

Before making a decision, please feel free to attend one of our events and/or a board meeting. For more information, check out the following pages:

About YEP

Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce – YEP

Twitter @CTYEP

Pinktoberfest – Our 3rd Annual Pink Night

Price of admission is $30 per person. This includes 1 free drink ticket, Door Prize Drawing, Beer, and Wine and other tastings, hot and cold appetizers.

Hi-Energy DJ’s will be providing the music!

The Valley Goes Pink is a grassroots, community-wide effort throughout the Lower Naugatuck Valley to:
– create awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection
– support the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital, and
– showcase partnering organizations
All at the same time!
This event is open to everyone over 21 and all are encouraged to attend!
All net proceeds of ticket sales to benefit the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital
Did you know…
1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer.
Women in Connecticut are especially at risk.
They have the third highest rate of new breast cancer cases in the United States.

Event Sponsors:

Marquee Sponsor: First Niagara





Raffle Prize Donors

Hampton Inn

Michaud & Accavallo CPA’s, LLC

Grillo Services, LLC

Marks of Designs

Molto Bene Italian American Kitchen

Quassy Amusement Park

Gateway Limousine Inc.

Studio V Fitness

and Billy from Hi-Energy DJs who will provide the music for the evening.