Michiana 2027: Young professionals gather and grow

Michiana 2027: Young professionals gather and grow

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Over the past 13 years, Amanda Gadacz has moved up in the financial sector.

 With opportunities practically anywhere she wanted, she has always stayed in Mishawaka.

“I really like the feel of Mishawaka. I like the closeness that I feel in Mishawaka, and obviously the great proximity to everything else,” Gadacz, a financial advisor at Edward Jones, said.

Every once in a while Gadacz attends a Young Professionals Network South Bend lunch.

“I want to connect with other young professionals because I may be a resource for them. Maybe they have a need that maybe I can’t help them with but I know someone who can,” Gadacz said.

Gadacz has been a member of YPN South Bend for the past eight years.

She has seen the organization grow to thousands of participants each year.

They frequently attend networking lunches all over St. Joseph County.

Cara Grabowski leads the group, which is part of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve heard a lot of, when people have walked into the room, they’re like ‘oh! Here’s where are the young professionals are,’” Grabowski said.

The professionals come from all over the county, and all different fields of work.

“We want them to stay here. The more roots they create here, the harder it is for them to leave when another opportunity comes along,” Grabowski said.

The group, founded 12 years ago, grown from maybe 20 participants to more than Grabowski can count.

She says the young professional population is growing across Michiana, and the innovative energy is spreading.

“Young professionals want to get engaged and they want to make sure they’re able to immersed in the community and get involved and make a difference and that’s the beauty about South Bend,” Grabowski said.

That community involvement is why Gadacz says she’s stayed in the Mishawaka area.

“We’re attracting big name companies. We’re a hub of technology. I mean, truly we are the little city that could,” Gadacz said.

Among all the changes and the momentum Mishawaka and South Bend still feel like a home.

“You don’t really get that closeness necessarily in a larger community, like a Chicago or a New York City,  where you’re actually going to bump into these people on the street,” Gadacz said.

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