Startup Hosts Networking Conference for Young Professionals
The Rising Affluent Conference is back.
For a young professional navigating the world, it can be a bit challenging finding your way amid the chaotic hustle and bustle that is New York City. That’s why two business partners, Kyle McCullers and Michael Cooper, decided to cultivate a networking and panel conference where young professionals gather to hear from speakers about ways they can make better use of their resources in trying to jumpstart or elevate their careers.
The second annual Rising Affluent conference, Generation Flux: The New Path to Success, was held on May 12 at Columbia University, where many got that chance to network with budding professionals in media, business, real estate and education.
Today’s era of young professionals no longer stay at one job until retirement. Now, young professionals in their 20s and mid 30s find themselves changing jobs every two to three years, or even working multiple jobs at once. It is for this reason McCullers, a Morehouse College graduate and Cooper, a graduate from Middleburry College decided to create Rising Affluent, a startup business that seeks to be a platform for a demographic it calls Generation Flux, college graduates within the past 10 years, who are acclimated to more flexible career paths.
“For us we really just want to target an age because we think a lot of what goes on in this age group is what we really want to talk about and discuss,” said McCullers.
From managing finances, personal branding to networking, the conference seeks to address matters that most affect young professionals trying to write their own success outside of the traditional route undertaken by generations before them.
“This last year we pulled 90 percent of the speakers through our personal network,” said McCullers who has worked in advertising for Vibe and Giant magazines. “This year we extend ourselves a little bit and reached out a little pass that.” It's also worth noting that the debut conference welcomed 150 attendees.
This year’s conference speakers included business consultant and motivational speaker Ash Cash, popular blogger and author Demetria Lucas, co-founder of B condoms Elkhair Balla and a dozen others. The conference, an all-day event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception immediately after, hosted a gamut of panel presentations on networking, exit strategies, entrepreneurship, social media and more. Tickets for the event were $99 and covered every panel presentation, the cocktail reception and four books -- three of which are from the conference speakers and another, The Startup Of You by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
In 2005, McCullers, 27, and Cooper, 29, hosted a networking event in New York for recent college graduates and rising juniors and seniors, which later caused them to host a hybrid of a network and panel workshop called the New York Collegiate Exchange. In 2009, after a hiatus from hosting events, the partners attended the Harvard Business School H. Naylor Fitzhugh conference, which inspired them to go forth with their own business professional conference.
In the future Rising Affluent hopes to expand its brand to a media entity, hosting events around the country in cities like Washington, Atlanta and Chicago.
“We are a startup so we’re still in our early stages,” said McCullers. “Next year we’re going to take it step further.”