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Whitney Griffin, President of Detroit Young Professionals

With the large numbers of young people living and working in the city, Detroit Young Professionals strives to make sure millennials have a voice in the metro Detroit’s future

Metro Detroit is home to numerous big companies attracting large numbers of young professionals to the area. And Detroit Young Professionals is an organization that engages and connects this population of people with the goal of helping develop the region’s next generation of leaders – and creating a platform for them to have a voice in Detroit’s development.

“We definitely believe in strength in numbers, and we want to create a large force of young professionals,” Griffin says. “We look for opportunities to engage so it’s easier to become a part of the conversation around some of the placemaking that’s being developed.”

DYP has over 500 members – a mix of new, returning and lifelong Detroiters.

“These are young professionals and entrepreneurs who live, work or play in the metro Detroit region,” Griffin says.

DYP hosts dozens of events each year, each falling under one of three pillars: grow, connect and give back. Its enrichment events help young metro Detroiters to grow personally and professionally. In the past, it has held youth voter forums and workshops on professional branding. Its open houses at local businesses allow members to meet and connect personally and professionally.

Each quarter, the DYP organizes community service outings to give its members the opportunity to explore service opportunities in the city.

“We’re always trying to leverage our audience to give back, so we still promote opportunities to give back through our newsletter and other avenues,” Griffin says. “We have a committee on our executive team that specifically looks for opportunities for our members to give back to the community.”

DYP’s executive team, comprised completely of volunteers, keeps the organization ticking by planning monthly events – in addition to the annual Vanguard Awards, which honors 16 young professional leaders in their fields.

“These are people who are doing so many great things and, a lot of times, people don’t really hear about them or know about their cause,” Griffin says. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize these people.”

Previous awardees include Marlowe Stoudamire, founder of MASH Detroit, and Michigan Rep. Stephanie Chang.

“The most rewarding part about being involved with DYP is being able to help create opportunities for young professionals to get involved in some of these large-scale projects and initiatives,” Griffin says.

The organization is currently working with the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit 67 Project.

“To be able to shape some of that programming has been very cool. I like that we’re able to help bring people to the table that otherwise would not necessarily have a seat.”

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