Young crowd makes professional networking fun

LYNNWOOD — Tracey Conway remembers nothing about being dead, but she knows what brought her back to life — a volunteer firefighter who knew CPR and paramedics who shocked her heart to get it beating again.

Conway, an actress best known for her work on the local television show “Almost Live!,” said she’s passionate about emergency medicine after her heart stopped in the ’90s and has turned speaking about it into a business.

Passion is the key to public speaking, Conway told about 30 members of the Snohomish County Young Professionals Network who met after work last week at a Lynnwood restaurant and bar for some tips on marketing themselves to help their business grow.

The network, started last year by the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, is intended to help a younger group of professionals meet others who can help develop their careers and the community.

“It’s been a very successful program,” said the chamber’s Patrick Pierce, noting a group of 30 to 60 people attend each month to hear a speaker and to meet other professionals.

The Everett-based group isn’t the only one in Snohomish County. The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce started a similar program for north county professionals that held its first meeting last month.

Caldie Rogers, president of the Marysville-Tulalip chamber, said the first event at the Tulalip Casino’s mPulse lounge attracted people from all over Snohomish County and even a few from Skagit County. “It’s exciting,” she said.

The north county group differs in that it doesn’t have speakers and focuses more on “ice-breaker events” intended to help members meet others.

“We’re looking for people who are going to be business leaders and are trying to give them a chance to get to know people in a similar situation,” said Andy Tift, general manager of the Marysville Holiday Inn Express and chairman of the Marysville group.

Tift said the group is talking about developing two community projects each year, like park cleanups or drives to collect school supplies, as events for members to tackle in addition to their social meetings.

Attending last week’s event in Lynnwood was Perry McConnell, a Marysville lawyer, who said he was hoping to get his name out in the community.

“I enjoy meeting other business people,” he said. “My goal in the long term is to develop relationships as I start my career.”

At age 26, McConnell fits the group the networks are hoping to attract — professionals 39 years old and younger.

Also attending Conway’s talk was Staci Lindstand from Horizon Bank, who said she was particularly interested in gaining some skills in public speaking.

She said the network was a great opportunity to meet others.

“I enjoy meeting people, and in business you don’t always have time,” she said, adding she also likes being involved in the community and learning about volunteer opportunities. “I like being up to date on what’s happening and how we can make a difference,” she said.

Conway told the group that one way members can do something important would be learn how to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

She also offered a few speaking tips, recommending that people scheduled to make a talk avoid lattes that day because they can clog your throat and mouth. She said she always has a Halls cherry cough drop before she speaks to clear her throat and leave her tongue with a healthy red color.

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