A summit this weekend in Anchorage aims to facilitate networking and developing leadership qualities among Alaska's young professionals. On this week's "Workforce Wednesday," Daybreak spoke with organizers of the 2019 Alaska Young Professionals Summit.

Danicia Shiryayev, chair of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals Group, said the event is now in its fourth year. The summit offers workshops, discussions, and activities for professional development.

"The Young Professionals Group within the Anchorage Chamber is really made up of individuals who are just emerging onto the work scene, but also we have industry leaders that attend our group regularly," Shiryayev said.

While they won't be checking identification for birthdays, this weekend's summit targets those in the workforce between the ages of 21 to 39.

Alaska's young professionals vary in age, but also in industry.

"[Attendees are] not just, you know, people in tuxedos," Shiryayev explained. "It's our commercial fishermen, our teachers… pretty much any industry that can be represented, we would love to see at our event or just within the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce."

The Young Professionals Group was created five years ago, as young entrepreneurs looked for ways to create positive growth and change in the community.

"We needed representation for this younger group who is really coming into the workforce and gonna become leaders within our communities," Shiryayev said.

Holly White, vice chair for the group, says those are the main ideas that will drive this weekend's summit. She also said it will be a great place to network with like-minded Alaskans.

"The summit is what introduced me to the [Young Professionals Group]," White said. "The group, to me has grown (sic), now they're like some of my best friends. And really (sic) given me a sense of community within the community I've grown up in, which is really a key point."

The two-day event features panel discussions on a variety of subjects, as well as keynote speaker Richard Montañez, who climbed the corporate ladder to become an executive of PepsiCo and creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

This year's summit theme, "LEVEL UP: Learn, Grow, Inspire."

"So we've really tried to level up our workshops and seminars," Shiryayev said. "Not just basic knowledge... I think we're arming people with a leveled up experience at our summit this year. And so I'd really like them to take away just like Holly said knowledge, personal and professional growth so we kind of can help them in all areas of their life."

The 2019 Alaska Young Professionals Summit runs March 29–30 at the Dena'ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. For tickets and more information, visit AnchorageChamber.org.

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