Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, News Editor
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky secretary of state, greeted and shook hands with more than 40 members of the Young Professionals of Murray group as they trickled into the wood-paneled back room at The Big Apple Cafe.
Brittany Marchetti, Murray State alumna and co-chair of the Young Professionals of Murray, said the group, already bursting with more than 60 members, started meeting together for lunch at The Big Apple in January.
She said the group stemmed from a need the Chamber of Commerce acknowledged recently. There is a lack of support for young professionals in Murray.
The Young Professionals of Murray group congregates at local restaurants to network with other young professionals in the city and share ideas to improve business in the city. Marchetti said their goal is to connect, serve and grow in the community.
She said the group is composed of community members and graduate students between the age of 21 and 39.
“Technically, I still qualify as a member of this group,” Grimes said.
Marchetti said she was honored when Grimes contacted the group hoping to speak with them about what it is like to be a young professional in Kentucky.
“(Grimes) wants to connect with Kentuckians,” Marchetti said. “She is a true young professional.”
After mingling and munching on snacks prepared by The Big Apple, Grimes addressed the audience and asked them if they knew what the secretary of state does.
Nervous laughter, but no hands, rose.
The office of the secretary of state is responsible for handling business registration filings in Kentucky among other tasks such as overseeing the voting process and promoting civic education.
Grimes explained the importance of entrepreneurship and business in Kentucky and encouraged everyone in the room to vote in the upcoming primary election, May 19.
Grimes said she wanted to see western Kentucky succeed by improving small businesses in the area and by helping start-ups get started more efficiently.
There are more than 300,000 small businesses in Kentucky, according to the 2013 Small Business Profile reported by the Small Business Association.
Grimes then congratulated the group and said she hopes to see more groups like these sprout up across Kentucky because of the fellowship groups like these provide to young professionals.
There are other young professionals groups in Lexington and Louisville.