On Thursday, Nov. 18, members and supporters of the Burbank Young Professionals gathered poolside at the Downtown Burbank Hilton Garden Inn to commemorate the BYP’s three-year anniversary with a “three-esta” party celebration.
As one of the youngest members of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Romik Hacobian decided to spearhead the BYP as a chapter of the chamber in 2018. Hacobian says he “felt like there needed to be a young voice in the community,” and subsequently created the group in order to bring a fresh, youthful perspective to the chamber.
The organization serves to empower Burbank’s next generation of professionals by offering valuable business resources and opportunities that cultivate the leadership skills of contributors. Their activities thus far have ranged from collaborating with Woodbury University students and alumni for business lectures, to conducting Burbank City Council candidate forums, to working with Family Promise of the Verdugos to help local homeless individuals.
Attendees ate from a Mexican buffet, participated in a raffle for various gift cards and other prizes, and listened to music as they socialized at the event. All BYP members were presented with a Certificate of Membership during the ceremony to recognize their dedication to the organization and thank them for their contributions. Among those present were Hacobian, BYP Committee Member Max Lopez, and guest speakers Mayor of Burbank, Bob Frutos, and Burbank Chamber of Commerce CEO, Jamie Keyser Thomas.
Hacobian spoke of his enthusiasm in witnessing this group of BYP personnel and community allies join together for the cheerful festivities.
“I think what’s really exciting for me is just knowing that we can bring so many people from different walks of life together to communicate and get to know each other,” Hacobian said of the event. “The most exciting moment for me was just seeing everyone together.”
Behind the scenes of the BYP, Keyser Thomas has granted a great amount of freedom to their leadership team and is a loyal proponent of the organization. Her hopes for the future of the BYP include witnessing its members run for Burbank boards and commissions and continuing to contribute their valuable voices to the city.
“This program allows us to attract an incredible group of new young leaders in our community,” Keyser Thomas said. “It’s important to continue to evolve, grow and invest in our leaders of the future. The BYP is a group of talented young professionals and I’m certain a lot of them will be the new generation of leaders in Burbank, and for that I am grateful.”
While assemblies of younger chamber members have been formed but ultimately disbanded in the past, the BYP is thriving as it passes its three-year mark. The longevity of the group can be attributed to the foundation of its mission, which Hacobian says is rooted in not only progressing professionally but also offering valuable assistance to the Burbank community.
“I think that’s what has really kept us going for as long as we have because it’s easy for groups like this to fizzle out,” Hacobian said of the BYP’s charitable efforts. “If you give it a heart and soul, and you attach that cause to it,… that’s what really makes it last.”
The Administrative Coordinator of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Taylor Bercini, was also in attendance at the anniversary party. As a founding member of the BYP, Bercini voiced his satisfaction in seeing how influential locals have continuously expressed their approval of the organization.
“Our three-year anniversary event was a culmination of all the hard work we have put in as it marked our third year as a group,” Bercini said. “It is always amazing to see the continued support of the mayor, city officials, and other dignitaries at our events, as it shows that leadership recognizes young professionals as an integral voice in the community.”
Lopez, who is the president and co-founder of stop motion animation studio Apartment D Films, was approached to join the BYP while serving as a chamber member. The venture began with a small group that possessed a passion for building a community of young businesspeople, and Lopez calls it “inspiring” to see how the BYP has developed as its members “were able to build a lot of momentum out of thin air.”
The anniversary gathering brought Lopez feelings of joy, as a mix of old and new BYP members were able to congregate following physical separation due to conditions of the pandemic.
“What I liked the most was simultaneously getting to see all these faces that I haven’t necessarily seen in a while because of the pandemic, and people that were there at the inception of the BYP still there after all these years,” Lopez said. “Then on top of that, there were all these new faces. It really was like a family reunion.”
Each quarter of the year, the BYP plans a large-scale event while intermittently carrying out smaller activities throughout the year. Some future plans for the organization include hosting workshops, continuing to perform charitable work, and connecting members with Burbank City Council candidates for interview discussions.
The advancements that have been made thus far by the BYP, as well as the encouragement they continue to receive from locals, signal the potential for further growth moving forward. Looking ahead, Lopez feels that the BYP’s success in paving the way for meaningful community connections can broaden to reach a regional audience.
“It’s remained a really valuable resource locally, and I think there’s room for it to expand beyond that,” Lopez said of the BYP. “It would be really interesting to see the BYP on a countywide scale because I think if the connective power that it has here in Burbank was expanded, it could be really powerful.”
To learn more about the BYP, visit their site here.