Connect Great Falls -- developing young leaders

A new group is courting young professionals interested in enriching Great Falls, offering them opportunities to develop leadership skills, volunteer and meet each other.

United Way President Gary Owen is excited to tap into the group’s enthusiasm to strengthen Great Falls – both through United Way’s focus areas of supporting education, financial stability and health, but also as prospective employees and employers discover it and appreciate it as one of the many positive attributes about our community.

“We have an amazing group of talented, energetic young professionals in our community and we at United Way realize that they represent an important voice and a tremendous opportunity to build our community,” Owen said.

The partnership with United Way connects the young professionals to volunteer opportunities and provides United Way with an enthusiastic army ready to tackle projects. Already, Connect Great Falls helped collect and sort school supplies through United Way’s Stuff the Bus event and worked with children during the Make A Difference Day Activity Fair.

In addition to focusing on volunteerism, Connect Great Falls provides young professionals with job skill development opportunities by connecting them with local professionals and national webinars. Great Falls Development Authority President Brett Doney spoke with the group offering tips on networking. Other professionals will be scheduled in future months.

United Way Board Chair Heather Palermo has been involved in other young professional organizations in Great Falls, only to watch them disappear as members move on to other things.

“Connect Great Falls will fill a void in our community,” Palermo said. “I am thrilled United Way has stepped up to partner with Connect Great Falls because it will offer the group support and stability as it moves forward."

For Bryn Hagfors, the decision to move back to Great Falls after college was an easy one when the opportunity to establish himself as an investment advisor at Davidson Company arose. Through Connect Great Falls, he’s connected with other young people who are as passionate about the community, enjoy volunteering and have the same ambition to grow professionally.

“This community thirsts for vibrancy and new ideas, and I believe a group like Connect Great Falls can play a real role in spreading a fresh perspective and enthusiasm for Great Falls among its growing population of young professionals,” he said. “United Way of Cascade County brought the vision for this group to life. Partnering with United Way will provide the stability and structure that a group like this needs to establish itself as a long-term player in the community.”


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