Let’s face it: Chambers of commerce have never been known as a hang-out for the young Turks in the office. At the national level, this image has been countered by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, or Jaycees, catering to business people from ages 18 to 41. Here in central New Jersey the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce is now launching a youth movement of its own, Princeton LeeeP, billed as a “business, cultural, philanthropic, and social community for high potential young professionals.”

Princeton LeeeP — the Es stand for engage, exchange, excel — hosts an inaugural networking event Thursday, January 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center on Rosedale Road. Cost: $10. Pre-register at www.princetonchamber.org. For more information on Princeton LeeeP, log onto the Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/leeep. No specific age range is stated but one website reference refers to people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

“What we are constructing is a network for early to middle stage professionals in which they can build strong relationships with each other as well as establish long term relationships within the community,” says Sandy Durst, a partner at Lynch, Osborne, Theivakumar, Gilmore & Durst LLC and co-chair of the Princeton LeeeP steering committee. “Through cultural, social, business, and philanthropic events, LeeeP members will have the chance to interact and connect with each other in a meaningful way.” Durst’s firm is providing LeeeP T-shirts to the first 100 attendees at the January 13 event.

“Some of the core values for Princeton LeeeP include service to community, leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurial stewardship,” says Ronit Levy, principal at RHR International LLP and co-chair of the LeeeP steering committee. “We aim to create deliberate and specific connections between members. Our goal is to help members form the social and professional relationships that will be instrumental in their future growth and success. Additionally, we hope to partner with local businesses and become a resource in the development and engagement of their up and coming talent.”

Along with Levy and Durst, the steering committee includes Kari Barrio, marketing officer, Hopewell Valley Community Bank; Fred Gomez, financial advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors; Walter Hedrick, president, Hedgecon Corporation; Megan Johnston, director of group services, McCarter Theater Center; Scott Jurgens, director of marketing, Princeton University Athletics; David Sears, financial advisor, UBS Financial Services; and Pam Weiss, account manager, Verge180.

Princeton LeeeP also plans to work with the Princeton Chamber of Commerce Foundation and VolunteerConnect to create a non-profit board training program for select members.

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