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Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm
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Forging Connections for Professionals

Looking to get more involved in the Grinnell community? Become a member of Grinnell Connect, the town’s local organization aimed at helping professionals in the Grinnell community form personal and professional relationships with each other. The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, which runs Grinnell Connect, hopes that by joining the group, new and younger members of the community will feel more welcome in the community and take the opportunity to get more involved.

“We really wanted to create a group setting and environment where anyone can come and meet new people and feel more a part of the comm

unity,” said Rachael Kinnick, the Membership Manager at the Chamber. “We realize that people usually stay in an area longer if they meet other people and feel connected. This group is a way for people to do that.”

Grinnell Connect is free and open to any members of the Grinnell Community, although they must be over the age of 21. The group, which only formed in mid-2012, hopes to help newcomers to town establish roots and interact more with the town.

“Young professional groups are sprouting up all over the country and we recognize that [as] … a need here in Grinnell, but we have a unique workforce in that a lot of our employers draw people from all ages of life,” Kinnick said. “So this will be a stepping ground [for] anyone who is looking to make more connections.”

Grinnell Connect intends to have an ongoing presence in town, throwing regular socials, discussions and other networking events. Organizers also cite their bimonthly community luncheons, where all are welcome to discuss local news and events over the lunch break. They also plan to hold a monthly education series during lunch to help young professionals in Grinnell with any general queries they may have about living in the town.

“We will address anything from buying insurance or your first home to forming businesses or doing taxes,” said Sam Charnetski, a member of the Grinnell Connect steering committee. “Anything that will help young people with things they have not necessarily encounte


The group is hoping to do more than educate and inform on the community, with a civic component to the group in which they will work with existing community groups to effectively contribute to and enhance the Grinnell community.

“We don’t want to fundraise so much as go out and get our hands dirty,” Kinnick said.

The standing Grinnell Connect event will be their weekly socials every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

“The location of those socials will change so that it encourages people to visit numerous businesses in town and get a feel for what Grinnell has to offer,” Kinnick said.

On Wednesday, Nov. 20, Grinnell Connect held their 2013 season debut social, a happy hour at the Peppertree Depot. The event brought together professionals of many local fields, who met and mingled over drinks and appetizers.

“I’m based in Des Moines, but I visit Grinnell once a week and I want to be more involved in the community. This is a good opportunity for me to meet and network with people,” said Nathaniel Tagtow, a Trust Officer at Lincoln Savings Bank.

Jen Hawkins, a member of the Grinnell Connect steering committee, stressed the imp

ortance of making connections to retaining Grinnell’s close-knit community.

“Coming from a different community, it’s so beneficial to have events like this where I can meet people not only for personal reasons, but for professional reasons,” she said. “It’s easier to contact someone if I’ve met them before.”

Emily Counts, the Communications Manager at the Chamber of Commerce, added, “Even though we’re a small community, not everyone knows everyone. I’m excited to make some more connections myself, both personally and professionally.”

Another social will take place at Prairie Canary on Wednesday, Dec. 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. and regular weekly socials will begin on Wednesay, Jan. 8. To join Grinnell Connect and receive updates on upcoming events, email

Grinnell Connect - Shadman Asif

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