With an eye toward recruiting a younger generation of members, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has formed an offshoot group called the Hollywood Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, or HYPE, for short.
“The HYPE program is the chamber’s effort to engage the millennial generation,” said Leron Gubler, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “They represent Hollywood’s future and we want them to be involved in the chamber and to take a leadership role in the coming years.”
Gubler said the chamber has, in the past, hosted special mixers and seminars specifically targeted at younger professionals, which is important for the lasting legacy of the organization.
“We’ve tried a couple of different ways to really engage younger professionals in Hollywood,” he said. “At some point, the Baby Boomers are going to be bailing and [the chamber has] got to have a bench who will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Tait Gabrielsen, Brandon Mason, Chase Gordon and Kerreno Alexanyan helped form HYPE, and are running the new group.
“We are kind of the more active younger group,” Gabrielsen said. “We were approached by the chamber of commerce a little while back. We had attended some of their young professional events. We love the direction they were going, but there was something missing.”
Gabrielsen said the group already has approximately 400 people following them “from all walks of life.”
“This generation was missing from the conversation a little,” he added. “It’s extremely organic and it’s really in its infancy right now. All our forums are open to anyone with an interest in this new generation. We have folks from the chamber of commerce [who attend]. While the real goal is to reach the young 35-and-under crowd, we are not an exclusively young event-based system. It’s a bit more open.”
Group leaders said “young professionals” is a loose term, and they have gone out of their way to recruit dancers, actors and people in creative businesses.
“Our main strength is that connection between the creative and the corporate,” Gabrielsen said. “Hollywood has historically, and more so now, been a place — the shark tank we live in has crushed a lot of dreams. Our main goal is to create a place for good ideas and people.”
Gabrielsen, 27, said he comes from an investment and real estate background, but he also has interests in acting, writing and producing.
“I see myself as someone who wants to be involved with a lot of things,” he said. “We are the generation that will have over 10 jobs before we find our profession.”
HYPE leadership members said they have structured the group around good habits — alternatives to shopping or bar-hopping. The group has hosted two forums, and plans to continue to host one each month. More than 50 people have attended each forum.
Members have formed health, arts, professional development, knowledge, legacy/philanthropy and social goal committees. An early example of a committee event was a scheduled hike to the Hollywood Sign organized by the health committee.
In theory, Gabrielsen said, there would be one main forum each month and then a special event from each committee filling up the remainder of that month’s calendar. The main forum will likely be held during the first week of each month.
“We have offered ourselves to help,” Gabrielsen said. “We saw that there was a gap in these conversations that our generation needed to be a part of.”
Gubler said the response has been impressive so far.
“We’ve had two public meetings and the enthusiasm we have seen there has been tremendous,” he said. “If we can bottle that enthusiasm up, we’ll be doing well.”
For more information, visit www.HollywoodHYPE.org.
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