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Are you a young professional? Consider Leads

Three years ago, Rachel Balestri and TJ Templeton had an idea: Why not form a group that helps young working adults build leadership skills and make connections?

They did. Today, Illinois Valley Leadership Education and Developmental Skills Group is 40 members strong and anticipates nothing but success in the coming years.

IV Leads is geared to 22- to 40- year-olds. Speakers are invited on a quarterly basis to present to the group, focusing on motivation, sales, memorization skills, professional growth, networking tips and more.

Much of Leads’ success is owed to the speakers. For example, the group has learned about what is needed to make yourself better in your everyday life. They’ve learned how to cope, ways to grow, how to deal with coworkers, how to make good teams, how to make the most of every opportunity, being able to speak intelligently, how to handle yourself in public, how to grow your business, ways to make people remember you and want to come back, ways to think outside the box.

Learning from experienced pros is a critical for young men and women just starting their careers.

Thanks to these speakers Leads has established itself as a great place for advice and guidance.

However, if Leads is to continue to flourish, it needs help. First, it needs mentors. Speakers may be from the area or elsewhere. They must be willing to share, listen and motivate.

Most importantly, though, IV Leads needs members. Without a doubt there are more than 40 professionals ages 22-40 living and working in our area. So where are they and why not join?

One reason could be the membership fee. It’s $75 annually. If you’re on a tight budget with bills and student loans, that fee could be prohibitive. It shouldn’t be. The first meeting is free. It is a chance to sample IV Leads without full commitment. After that, you would be paying for a wealth of knowledge that you might not get anywhere else. You also would have a chance to meet and network with people in a working demographic that matches your own.

IV Leads hopes to grow to 65-70 members by next year. If you’re interested, there’s a mentor panel at 5 p.m. this Wednesday at Starved Rock Lodge. Check it out and then consider joining by filling out an ap-plication form at and they will invoice you.

Chances are you will find that IV Leads is a nurturing community of professionals. You will have the opportunity to grow and help others to do the same.

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