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Award-Winning Young Professionals Share Secrets of Success
by Chamber News on July 25th, 2014

The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices. MetroOne is co-chaired by Courtney and Thompson Gooding and consists of local young professionals between the ages of 21 and 40. Panelists included Angela Hobby, Jamie Baltrus, Malynda Dorsey, and Micha Hogan. The event opened up with speakers sharing tips to help others get involved and give back to the community. They emphasized the importance of being proactive in seeking out opportunities and taking advantage of each available opportunity.

In April, Angela Hobby was named the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year. Hobby is the Executive Director of Community and College Relations for Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. She recommends that young professionals volunteer in areas they are passionate about. The Lowndes County community played a major role in Hobby’s decision to put down roots in Valdosta. “There are a lot of great people in this community who want to welcome you and want to get you involved,” Hobby said. “One of the unintended benefits of volunteering is the fact that you meet people along the way that you can rely on later, professionally and personally.”

The other three panelists were named MetroOne’s 2014 4 Under 40 Award winners in May. Jamie Baltrus, the Community Relations Representative for United Hospice, a division of PruittHealth, encourages other young professionals to research organizations and programs available in the community. “I continuously want to surround myself with people I can learn from,” said Baltrus.

Each of the panelists has a strong presence within the community and is involved with many different civic groups and associations. They recommend volunteering, as it enables people to step outside their comfort zone and meet others with whom they can build long-lasting relationships.

Micha Hogan, Marketing Manager for Wild Adventures Theme Park, recommends first looking around your workplace for organizations with which you can become involved. She also believes that you can learn valuable things from everyone you meet and every experience you have. “Anything you do can be on a resume for any job,” said Hogan.

Malynda Dorsey, Communications Specialist for Valdosta State University, sets a great example for other young professionals through her volunteer work in the community. “I love serving the community,” said Dorsey. “I chose to make Valdosta my home because it has a hometown feel but it also has a lot of opportunities for advancement,” Dorsey says.

MetroOne is an initiative of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. Its goal is to attract and retain young professionals in Metro Valdosta. The four panelists are members of MetroOne and encourage others to join the network. For more information about MetroOne, visit or contact Varian Brown at (229) 247-8100 x 234.

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