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Hype holds first networking meeting for young professionals

DULUTH - Gwinnett County holds a lot of young, enthusiastic talent within its boundaries and Chamber officials want to keep it here.

Hype, a networking organization for young professionals created by Partnership Gwinnett and the Gwinnett Chamber, will launch its first event at 5:30 p.m. today at Encore night club.

The organization grew as a result of a nine-month study done by Partnership Gwinnett in 2006 that identified the need to market Gwinnett County as an attractive place for young professional workers to live, work and play, said Lisa Sherman, the Chamber's external marketing manager for economic development.

"We want to retain young talent in the area for businesses," she said. "This is an organization where they can get opportunities for career development, community involvement and social networking."

The organization was advertised on Facebook to reach those people.

"Within one week, 75 people had signed on," Sherman said, adding that Hype has received 100 RSVPs to the event.

Abby Wilkerson, director of public relations at redpepper and a member of Hype's steering committee, likens the event to a mini-chamber of commerce where everyone is at the same place in life.

"You don't have to go to Midtown to find fun places to go and to find each other," Wilkerson said. "Partnership Gwinnett is working to retain new businesses and talent, not let them slip away. We are cultivating a succession plan, we are the next group of leaders."

· What: Hype, a networking organization for young professionals ages 21 to 39.

· When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. tonight

· Where: Encore night club, 3473 Old Norcross Road, Duluth