By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
Professional Young Visionaries of Tomorrow, best known as PYVOT, was among those honored by the United Way of West Central Connecticut, at the 16th Annual Community Builders night, on Thursday, April 5.
Two of the PYVOT co-chairs, Michael Sweeney and Devyn Kittle, spoke about PYVOT, the award they were receiving, and what the award would bring to the group.
Sweeney said PYVOT was formed three years ago, as a group for young professionals to network, socialize with like-minded individuals, and to eliminate the stigma that Connecticut is catered towards the established worker, and older residents.
“The idea was to provide an outlet for people in the area,” said Sweeney, “young professionals, to both network for business perspective, but also have a social outlet because there really isn’t anything like that in the area. Bristol, and the surrounding area, does have a stigma of not really supporting young professionals; people say there’s nothing to do, there are no jobs, a lot of people do go to school and then move out of state. So, we really wanted to get together and change that stigma.”
Sweeney said PYVOT was formed primarily for networking and socializing because the United Way had a young professionals group that was dedicated to charitable work. But, after attending a young professionals leadership summit, Sweeney got a lot of feedback saying that the Young Professionals for United Way and PYVOT should pool resources. From there, meetings ensued, and now, the Young Professionals for United Way and PYVOT have merged, creating a young professionals group that was able to achieve social networking and charitable work.
“I was formerly a part of the Young Professionals for United Way, I was the outgoing president at the time. So, PYVOT approached us about the merger, and that’s kind of how it happened,” said Kittle. “The Rising Star Award is a newer award. I believe that it means we are an upcoming group in Bristol, or the surrounding towns that the United Way serves. To us, we’re recognized as younger professionals in the community, making an impact. We’re doing things on a professional level as well as a community level.”