The Northern Westchester Examiner

Hudson Valley Young Professionals Launch Westchester/Putnam Chapter

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Ribbon Cutting of the Hudson Valley Young Professionals' newest chapter.
Ribbon Cutting of the Hudson Valley Young newest chapter.

Going to a meeting for a chamber of commerce or other professional organization that is full of experienced, older professionals, can be an intimidating situation for many young people.  The Hudson Valley Young Professionals (HVYP) has launched the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce (HVGCC) Chapter to help the leaders of tomorrow, who live or work in Westchester or Putnam, gain the skills and tools they need in a professional environment.

“Last year I was attending one of the local chamber events and I noticed the significant lack in the number of young professionals who were participating in the chamber,” said Luigi Manente, 26-year-old co-chair of the new chapter of HVYP, and sales development manager for Cartwright & Daughters Tent and Party Rentals. “Then when I sat back and took a broader look I noticed the same thing in our community as a whole.”

Manente wanted to find a way to help young professionals learn how to become part of the community—on both a professional and personal level.  Then he found the HVYP in Dutchess.

HVYP, which was started in 2007, as an appendage to the Dutchess Chamber of Commerce that provides young professionals (up to age 40) opportunities to learn, lead, grow personally and professionally, network effectively and give back to the community.

The group’s slogan is “Live. Give. Work. Play… and Stay in the Hudson Valley.”

“This is what [HVYP]is all about, to expand and grow and keep our people here; keep our young professionals here in the Hudson Valley,” said Frank Castella, Jr., chairman of the Dutchess Chamber of Commerce and immediate past chairman of the HVYP in Dutchess.

“The more informed, involved and well-networked a young professional is the more like he or she is likely to stay in the Hudson Valley  and have more influence on what the region becomes,” said Aisha Kutter, co-chair of the new chapter of HVYP and president of the Kutter Group LLC.

On, Thursday, March 29, the new chapter became official when it held its first event at The Cove restaurant in Peekskill. The new chapter will be run as an affiliate to original HVYP and as part of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce.

“Luigi brought this idea to me last year and I thought that there was a definite need for this,” said Deb Malone, executive director of the HVGCC. “Young professionals were not mingling with the more seasoned professionals. Then when Luigi told me about the affiliation and the partnership with the Dutchess Chamber it was the perfect fit. This is an established group that is well run.  They helped us get off to the right start,” she said.

The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce HVYP will provide young professionals with educational forums, training sessions, social networking events, public policy perspectives and community involvement to provide the tools to develop personal and leadership skills in a professional environment.

The new HVYP chapter will also be co-hosting events with its sister organization up north.

“If it were not for HVYP Dutchess for giving us these ideas it would be so much more difficult,” said Manente. “We are so happy that they have paved the way for us.”

It is free to join the HVYP if your company belongs to the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce. Otherwise there is a $50 annual fee.

For more information, visit or email

Photo caption: The new chapter of the Hudson Valley Young Professionals, which is being run through the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, held its first official event at The Cove Restaurant in Peekskill on March 29.

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