An accountant, a chiropractor, and a cyber security lawyer walk into a brewery. Normally you could expect a punchline, but it was a reality on Thursday. The United Way Suncoast’s Young Leaders’ Society (YLS) had their first in-person social event since the pandemic. You could feel the enthusiasm as members reconnected for the first time in years. The beautiful BarrieHaus Beer Company’s event space greeted YLS members as they strolled into the family-owned brewery. BarrieHaus’ wrap-around copper bar top and intimate private room cultivated a perfect environment to have in-depth discussions with other leaders in Tampa Bay.
Members crafted conversations in the front of the house while BarrieHaus brewed its award-winning beer in the back. Some reconnected from a training years ago. Others met for the first time and discovered they were from the same hometown hundreds of miles away. The young leaders shared a wide range of stories — from their travels to India to the competitive nature of weekly trivia. The YLS members shared personable and professional updates. Despite many people meeting for the first time, the Young Leader’s Society networking event felt like old friends catching up. The group was inviting. It was a time to develop one-on-one connections with other young leaders while having a beer and a Cuban sandwich.
This was the first event for many new YLS members. All of them where eager for the next one. They found a place with like-minded individuals who all have a desire to make a positive impact. United Way Suncoast donor stewardship manager Jessica Rojas organized the event. She described it as a “great way to reconnect with members and make some new connections, while supporting a local brewery.” She added that United Way Suncoast will continue to engage young leaders in the coming year. The Young Leaders’ Society knows that collectively they can drive great community change with each member developing community leadership skills through their passion for volunteerism, advocacy, and philanthropy.