New leadership restores group for city's young professionals

by: CLIFF NEWELL - Erin Preston and David Morris were all ready to welcome newcomers to the YPLO at a recent gathering at Tucci's in Lake Oswego. They anticipate many good times ahead.The young professionals of Lake Oswego again have a place to meet, greet, eat, drink and learn.

The Young Professionals of Lake Oswego, sponsored by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, is now going again after a hiatus caused by unforeseen circumstances: All of the leaders of the first incarnation of the group moved away from Lake Oswego for other business opportunities.

But now there are new leaders, and the YPLO is back with its enthusiasm restored.

“The past leaders moved on, and it left a void on the board of directors,” said David Morris. “Now we want to provide an environment for young professionals for networking and relationship building, as well as education.”

To facilitate quick growth, Erin Preston has come up with a couple snazzy new slogans and programs to go with them.

“We have ‘Socialize at 5,’ which is held every third Wednesday of the month,” Preston said. “Then we have ‘Educate at 8,’ which is held the first Wednesday of the month at the fire station (on Third Street and B Avenue). In October we’re going to talk about health care.”

Joining Morris and Preston as YPLO leaders are Rachel Verdick, Megan De Salvo and Willow Kessell. They anticipate filling a real need of young professionals of this city and the surrounding area. You don’t even need to be young to join in the activities. Membership rules are very relaxed.

“There’s a real need for chamber of commerce activities that target young professionals, people with new businesses or just the young at heart,” Morris said. “This is an opportunity for people to help young people who are just starting out and make connections with future employees.”

“We’ve been going for three months now,” Preston said. “People like the relaxed atmosphere. There’s no selling involved. We’re providing an opportunity to develop relationships that will help a career, along with the social contacts that people need as well with those who are like-minded.”

Preston and Morris are themselves just the kind of people who can greatly benefit from YPLO. Preston has just started her own marketing consulting firm, called Insightful Marketing, and Morris, as battalion chief for the Lake Oswego Fire Department, is constantly making contacts with the local community.

“The advantages for me are that it helps me establish relationships with people I do business with,” said Morris, who serves on several chamber boards. “I’ve met so many people just in the last six months.”

The first version of the YPLO attracted impressively large turnouts to its social gatherings, and Preston and Morris think it will happen again.

“This is a way for a lot of people to meet new people and become acclimated to the city,” Preston said.

“We’re here again,” Morris said, “and we’re back into it.”

The Young Professionals of Lake Oswego can be contacted through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and their own website at

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