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Gateway Chamber Gets a Dose Of Youthful Enthusiasm

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce just got a bit younger.

Members of the group met Thursday evening at the Cove in Peekskill to celebrate the launch of the Hudson Valley Young Professionals (HVYP), a new committee that aims to give young members of the business community a more active role.

Co-chair Luigi Manante, the marketing and sales development manager for Cartwright & Daughters Tent and Party Rentals, said the group will fill a void in the community.

"I noticed a significant lack of participation by young professionals within the chamber and taking a step back I noticed the same thing in the community as a whole," Manante told the dozens on hand for the event.

The new organization will have several goals, such as sponsoring business forums, professional training, social networking events and community outreach opportunities, said fellow co-chair Aisha Kutter, president of the Kutter Group LLC.

"The mission of the HVYP is to provide professionals an opportunity to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, network effectively and give back to the community," Kutter said.

The HVYP has been active in Dutchess County since 2007 and the Westchester group has looked to it for inspiration and guidance. Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Chairperson and former HVYC chair Frank Castella Jr. said coming to Westchester was great for the HVYC.

"This is what it's all about – to expand and grow and keep our people here, keep our young professionals here in the Hudson Valley," Castella said.

Castella shared a slogan that had become popular with his organization in Dutchess: "When you shop and when you dine and even when you shop online, think local first," Castella said.

Executive Director Deb Milone said the partnership with the Duchess chamber was a great idea and thanked them for their help.

"When Luigi came to me about the partnership with the Dutchess Chamber it was a perfect fit because this is an established group that is well run and helped us get onto the right start. I really thank Frank and his crew for helping us do this," Milone said.

Young professionals ages 21 to 40 who are interested in getting involved in the Westchester Hudson Valley Young Professionals can get more information on the group's gateway chamber webpage or the group's individual website .

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