A young Soulsbyville woman has formed a group for young professionals and students who want to expand their business contacts and get more involved in the community.

Tiffany Phillips is a 32-year-old independent media marketer who has formed a group called the Sonora Young Professionals, an offshoot of the Sonora Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the chamber’s Board of Directors and works with the Small Business Development Center.

Although the Sonora Young Professionals is a branch of the chamber, Phillips’ intention for the group is not business as usual.

“I’m looking for like-minded people who are trying to improve themselves,” Phillips said. “I want to mix things up, keep it exciting and cater to everyone.”

Phillips’ idea for mixing things up is the get away from the typical chamber mixer format and offer fun, family friendly ways for younger people to network, be it a barbecue at a local park, a day hike in the Sierra Nevada or, occasionally, a yoga lesson followed by a brew at a local establishment.

In addition to the unconventional monthly “mixers,” the group will offer at least four professional development workshops per year, and members will be encouraged to participate in at least two community service projects each year.

“This is a group for those who want to expand their business contacts and serve their community at the same time,” Phillips said.

Her idea for the group came after seeing what she called a disconnect between young people and traditional business organizations.

“I want to bridge that gap,” she said. “I don’t know if I can, but this is my try.”

Phillips invites anyone interested — business owners, students and others — to attend a meeting Wednesday at the Standard Pour to share ideas. The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 19040 Standard Road in Standard.

The event will include free appetizers and a no-host bar, and Phillips will share her vision for the group about 7 p.m. She also will offer a written survey to find out what participants find important in business and community service.

Phillips said people don’t have to arrive right at 5:30 p.m. or stay the whole time, but can simply stop in to see what it’s about.

SYP membership costs $50 per year for professionals and $25 per year for students. Professional development workshops — on subjects such as social media advertising, loss prevention, etc. — will be free to members.

For those who can’t attend the event but would still like to be involved or share ideas, email Phillips at info@getsocialwithtiffany.com .

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