Young professionals turn out for Lake Charles mixer, Braylin Jenkins hosts event downtownApril 28, 2017
A room full turned out for a recent networking mixer to highlight young professionals and artists in the Lake Charles area. The event was sponsored by the Hey Bray J Today Marketing & Consulting Group.
“Lake Charles doesn’t have many events like this for young professionals unless you’re a member of a long established organization,” said Braylin Jenkins, Founder of Hey Bray J. “Younger professionals look differently today than they did years ago. For example, Leon Miles went from working an intensive day job while also being heavily involved in the music scene. He started several businesses as an entrpreneur but may not wear a suit everyday. He may not be recognized by traditional professionals but may do more work than most professionals do while still supporting the community as much as he can,” said Jenkins.
The event was held at Sloppy’s, a new pub in the downtown business district of Lake Charles. What was strikingly obvious at this event is that the room was very diverse in race, age, and gender. “Even though the event was geared towards building minority businesses what we find is that younger professionals of all races feel the same ostricization in this city by the older business leaders,” said Jenkins.
Lake Charles shares the same frustration of many cities it’s size face. Even with great potential, there are not enough opportunities for young professionals to blossom. So, its common for ambitious young people to move to closer larger markets to excel. “The Mayor and the council need to engage younger professionals in this city,” said Jenkins. He said, “the Mayor needs to first publicly express an interest in younger professionals staying here then meet with us to find out what our city isn’t offering that cities such as Houston and New Orleans do offer.”
Jenkins says because the traditional business leaders of the city expect a young person in business to wear a certain professional costume the true voices they need to hear from are often unheard. A man who mows lawns for a living may not have an office or carry a briefcase but if he owns a legal business in the city he is still a businessman and may have a more prosperous business than the people who are considered elite.
“The Mayor needs to utilize social media and more contemporary methods to identify the young professionals in this city. Then, invite them to a seat that gives them a voice within local government. Just as traditional media outlets have overlooked the new ways of receiving information, those who receive information in more contemporary means overlook the traditional outlets. So, the city has to use approaches that haven’t been used before to engage a large group in this city who feel neglected.”
Grammy Nominated Jazz musician, Mickey Smith, Jr. (Lafayette native) performed several jazz pieces early in the event. Local Hip-Hop artist, Xavier Yung King Royalty, performed two powerful pieces from his new CD. Business owners and entrpreneurs passed out business cards and introduced themselves to each other. Many had never met before the event.
Jenkins, 27 years old, said networking is important for many reasons. “Healthy networking can prevent duplication and also prevent multiple errors from reocurring.”
He believes younger professionals need an inspirational voice to lay down a path for others to follow. “I invited Ro Wright to speak because he has a powerful voice and great principles to help nurture vision,” said Jenkins.
Ro Wright, Author and Founder of Black Boot Media, accepted the invitation from Jenkins because Jenkins has been very supportive in helping Black Boot Media expand to the Lake Charles area. “I like what we’re building in Lake Charles. We are pulling people together. We are not opening doors. Black Boot is creating new doors to be opened,” said Wright, a New Orleans Metro resident. “There is a deep desire in Lake Charles to see their city grow. We are simply providing the platform which gives the unheard voices the opportunity to be heard,” said Wright.
Jenkins is planning to do the event again in the near future and he expects the interest to grow even more. “I have received emails and countless inboxes about doing the event again which proves the desire to pull this community together is there and it’s time we make it happen,” he said. “Hey Bray J will continue our mission to focus on up and coming entrpreneurs and artists through support, involvement, and investment. We have flexibility and understanding, which many organizations are unable to offer due to laws and set ordinances which we hope to serve as bridge and resource in uncommon territory.”
Jenkins is a former radio personality and television newscaster, columnist, writer, and radio host. He is currently the host of Hey Bray J Today, a radio and online television program highlighting community events and issues. He has been asked by Ro Wright to be the liason for Black Boot in the Lake Charles area. For more info on Bray J Today, click here.
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