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This Tennessee Community Helps Young Professionals Start Their Careers

The Young Leaders Council (YLC) organization helps develop board members to serve the Williamson County region's nonprofits. 

By Teree Caruthers on December 5, 2022

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Young professionals are attracted to Williamson County for myriad reasons — high-paying jobs, enviable quality of life and the ability to plug into the community and find volunteer opportunities that suit their interests through organizations such as the Young Leaders Council (YLC).

The YLC was founded 37 years ago to help replenish the young leadership on the boards of directors for local nonprofits. Through interactive training programs, young professionals learn collaboration, problem-solving and other leadership skills needed to serve successfully.

YLC’s 11-week training program focuses on ensuring members are equipped with the knowledge they need to be successful as nonprofit board members and the network they will need to make an impact on the nonprofit community, says Kim James, YLC executive director.

“Throughout the semester, young professionals are able to engage with and get to know each other and support each other — both personally and professionally,” she says. “This provides a very unique opportunity to be in a room full of like-minded individuals, all looking to make a difference in their community.”

James says the Williamson County community also stands to gain from new voices and ideas generated by the YLC.

“In the nonprofit world, you can only be as strong as the support that your leadership has. When you have a fully engaged board — especially when you have people who have different professional and personal experiences and who feel empowered to directly make a difference through that leadership space — it becomes a win-win for the young professional, the nonprofit and the community that organization is helping,” she says.

Most YLC members are at a place in their career path where they want to become leaders, says James, and they want to play an active role in making their communities better.

“It creates this dynamic force for good for Nashville and the surrounding communities, especially in Williamson County,” she says. “As these communities grow, we know the impact that nonprofit organizations have on those communities being able to provide exceptional services for those in need.”

James says the YLC is also able to help nonprofit organizations diversify their boardrooms.

“For many years and for many of these organizations, they’ve had the same type of individuals who stepped into these board leadership roles. What YLC works to do is to build awareness for not only our program and th benefits of going through our training program, but the benefits of having young people from all different backgrounds leaning into the work that’s being done in their communities,” James says. “I think having fresh voices provides an added benefit for the organizations and also, of course, for the individuals they serve.”

Want to know more?

To learn more about the Williamson County area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williamson County, TN

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