Young Money: Meet BN360’s Liz Callahan - INTERVIEW
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • December 04, 2013 @ 9:41am
With the plethora of organizations aimed at young professionals in Western New York, it can be difficult to choose which one is the right fit for you. Don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for!
Throughout the past few months, I’ve been profiling the various groups in the community that are looking for your involvement. This week, I’m focusing in on Buffalo Niagara 360 (BN360).
BN360 is an organization for young professionals run by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. I chatted with a familiar face to Young Money readers, Liz Callahan [follow her on Twitter here]. Liz has been previously interviewed on this blog through her role as chair of B Team Buffalo.
While Liz (pictured left) is still the group’s fearless leader, she is also the (new!) workforce development manager at the Partnership.
Liz was happy to answer my questions on BN360, hopefully giving insight into the group and why it may be a good fit for you!
Caitlin McNulty: What is BN360?
Liz Callahan: Buffalo Niagara 360 was formed six years ago, because area employers asked the Buffalo Niagara Partnership to address the need to retain and attract emerging talent to our region. We have all heard and talked about Buffalo Niagara’s brain drain – employers struggle to find qualified candidates and young people grow up believing that better opportunities exist elsewhere.
BN360 is a way for employers to secure their next generation of talent, by providing their young professionals with opportunities for professional development and civic engagement.
CM: Who typically attends your events?
LC: Young professionals from across Buffalo Niagara that represent a variety of industries – from the banking and financial sector, to marketing and manufacturing. The opportunity for multi-industry engagement really enriches the programming.
CM: How would someone go about joining BN360?
LC: BN360 membership is only $30 if your company is a Buffalo Niagara Partnership member and $30 for individuals!
CM: How many members do you have currently?
LC: We currently have more than 300 members. Our events range from small, 25-person seminars to our annual kick-off celebration, which hosts almost 200 attendees.
CM: What is the difference between BN360 and other young professional groups?
LC: The biggest thing that sets BN360 apart is that we are a program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and our mission is regional in scope, giving young professionals access to the regional business community.
BN360 has a wide variety of programming – from events with up-and-coming elected officials, mentoring, leadership development and cross border networking with our Canadian counterparts.
CM: So it’s my first time at a BN360 event. What can I expect?
LC: Expect to talk—a lot! We’re very focused on making connections and the importance of building a network before you need a network.
We’re also developing an ambassador program to help make new members feel comfortable as they get to know the program and meet new people.
I’m always asking for feedback on what our members want to get out of our events.
CM: What’s coming up for BN360?
LC: We’ll continue the ever-popular series Game Changers and Lead by Example, and will be expanding Happy Hour for-a-Cause [photos] in January with “Happy Hour for-Lots-of-Causes,” where we will be able to spotlight more of the non-profits and the work they are doing in the region.
We will also be bringing back our Mentoring Matters program for the spring semester, where our young professionals work with local high school students through the UB Liberty Partnership Program.
CM: What are the next few events that people could get involved with right away?
LC: On Dec. 4, we’ll host Marc Adler of Why Not Marketing LLC to speak as part of Lead by Example. Marc will talk about networking basics and personal branding.
On Dec. 11, we will be partnering with Canisius College and Niagara University for our first ever sports-centric networking event called Downtown Basketball and Networking. Young professionals are invited to enjoy a happy hour at the Lexus Club at the First Niagara Center before the Niagara vs. Davidson and Canisius vs. UB basketball games.
For more information on BN360, visit its website.