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OYP seeks exposure and mentorship

The media are turning a blind eye to many positive stories about the nation’s youth contributing to negative perceptions of young people as a result, the chairman of the Organization of Young Professionals (OYP) is charging.

Valentino Munroe spoke to Guardian Business at a “mix and mingle” of the OYP – a new division of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC).  While many would argue the media cater to the interests of their audiences, the chairman told Guardian Business that they make decisions that shape the public’s interest.

“Part of [media’s] responsibility is to cause a change in public interest. A lot of times the public does not know what’s happening and the impact it can have,” Munroe told Guardian Business.

Presenting his case, the entrepreneur behind technology company Onit Systems said many corporations have long understood that the public’s interest could be influenced by their actions.

“There are some companies that, in spite of what the public wants, chart their course like Apple did, and now the public embraces what they are presenting,” Munroe said.

“Sometimes, the public doesn’t know what it wants.”

Hosted at the Balmoral Club House last Tuesday evening, the social event attracted about 70 persons in a bid to raise awareness about the group, which launched in July this year. It was also an opportunity for members to draw on the real estate expertise of the host, Jason Kinsale, Balmoral’s principal.

While young professionals constitute a significant part of the market the Balmoral targets, Kinsale told Guardian Business, the evening was more about mentorship than marketing for him.

“I wanted to give them access to my view of the industry, and to be there or anyone thinking about possibly developing their own product as well,” Kinsale said.

“Personally, I would like to share my experience and help them in any way that I can.  This way, they can learn from my mistakes instead of making them themselves.”

Kinsale fielded several questions about the scope and impact Baha Mar is having on Western New Providence real estate.

Enjoying the full support of the BCCEC, the OYP is the result of the vision of Chamber director Michelle Patterson, according to Racquel Knowles-Farrington.  A financial services professional with St. James Bank and Trust, she spearheads the OYP’s reach committee.

“As newcomers into the professional realm, we often don’t really know  how we can become involved,” Knowles-Farrington said.

“ I find OYP works for me because it’s not just for financial services professionals, it’s for young professionals across industries.  We’ve had people who make jams and seasonings, and young interior designers.  So it brings together young people at the early stage of their careers who need an avenue to put themselves out there and become movers and shakers in society and the professional realm.”

One of the benefits OYP members receive is that they become full members of the Chamber as well, able to access any of the training or other benefits that come with Chamber membership, Knowles-Farrington said.

The OYP is open to people ages 18 to 41, she told Guardian Business. Prior to the event, the OYP had a membership of about 50, according to Knowles-Farrington.

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