Q&A: Derek Grosso, founder of CYP

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From the February 20, 2014 edition

“I hate it when people tell me there is nothing to do in Columbus,” said Columbus Young Professionals Club Founder Derek Grosso on a recent Monday. “There is so much going on in this city, if you can’t find something, it’s because you’re not looking.”

It’s no wonder he feels that way, as the Columbus Young Professionals Club’s Date 2 Remember event had so much trouble fitting the fashion show, live performances, charity organizations and local cuisine into the LC, they had to annex the A&R Music Bar for Saturday’s festivities. Grosso and his fellow organizers want to offer attendees a crash course in Columbus culture, in hopes that they will come back for the master class.

Columbus is a city on the rise. I’m from New York, I went to school in Washington D.C., and I live here because Columbus is really an amazing place. People are flocking to Columbus every day. They come to work or go to school here, and for the ones like me who came without knowing anybody, it’s hard to figure out how to get involved. I started the Young Professionals Club in 2005 because I wanted to create an opportunity for people to explore what’s available to them in Columbus, and meet new people who want to explore the city with them.

I wanted to build a community within a community. There are so many things to do and so many cool people to meet in Columbus, it can be overwhelming. The club isn’t about just passing business cards, it’s about building relationships. Things could change for any of us in a snap. But when things change, if the person feels connected to where they are and the community they are involved in, the question changes from, “What am I going to do now,” to “Who can I call to get something going?”

Our Date 2 Remember event is designed to be a crash course in Columbus culture. We wanted to feature different aspects of Columbus’ growing scene. This year we teamed up with CMH Fashion Week to showcase local boutiques in our fashion show, Columbus’ best restaurants will be offering samples of their cuisine, some awesome local bands (including The Wonder Twin Powers) will be performing, and we are auctioning off some great “experience” packages. It’s by far our largest and most diverse event.

People get turned off by the term “young professional.” I think some people view it as a “yuppie” thing. Basically they think you have to wear a suit to work every day to be considered a professional. That isn’t the case at all. Our membership includes teachers, artists, musicians and restaurateurs. We are all just basically trying to do what we love, pay our bills and get involved in some really cool things with some great people along the way.

Photo by Meghan Ralston