Third Annual Young Professionals Emerge
Celebrating the YP Impact
Ariana Mankarian (l-r), Nia Trammell and LaKendra Adesuyi are three
of the members of the Urban League’s Young Professionals helping to
plan the Third Annual Emerge Gala.
instance, last year, we supported Big Brothers Big Sisters. Now this year, we are supporting the Do-IT ITA program. We’re supporting ITA, one,
because we are very interested in STEM-related education for youth and that is their primary focus.”
And much like the primary sponsor of the Emerge Gala, which also collaborates with the Urban League on a legal clinic, the Young
Professionals want to make an impact and do more than just give money to ITA.
“One of the things that you will see coming out of this partnership with them is we are going to do our National Day of Service event with them
where we have young professionals go in and speak to the students in the ITA program about careers in technology,” Trammell said. “And then,
we are going to help them do mock interviews and generally speak with the students.”
The Emerge Gala is also about networking to build connections with other young professionals and for companies to meet some of the up and
coming talent in the Madison area.
“I don’t think that I have seen anything else similar to this, an event that takes the time to really shine a light on those who are young and are
up and coming,” said LaKendra Adesuyi, vice-president of the Young Professionals. “And I believe that it is very helpful for those networking
professionals. It puts on display those who are prime talent. It is a springboard for an individual’s career who is looking to continue to catapult
to higher heights when we have the right people in that place. That’s why it is such a great value added for organizations of great caliber to
come and attend and be a part and to meet some of these individuals. They can shake hands and make acquaintance. It is a space or a
smorgasbord of prime talent. Individuals looking to improve in their diversity numbers can come to the Emerge Gala and meet some wonderful
talent right there in the room. And if they don’t meet the right person, I can almost guarantee you that they will meet someone who is connected
to the right person.”
And the Emerge Gala is also intended to celebrate and put a spotlight on up and coming professionals who may not have attracted the notice of
larger organizations and media outlets through the presentation of the Emerge Gala awards. This year’s recipients are Jennifer Ball-Sharpe,
Outstanding Leader of the Year Award; Renae Sigall, Spirit Award; Shobhan Thakkar of HealthX Ventures, Emerging Business Leader of the
Year; Derek Johnson of Edgewood College, Emerging Leader of the Year Award; Sandy Morales of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Megan Watt, of
Dream Catalyst Labs, Trailblazer Awards; Dawn Crim of UW-Madison and Dr. Nestor Rodriquez of Southern Wisconsin Emergency Associates,
Impact Awards and Scott Haumersen of Wegner CPAs, Inspiration Award.
“These are really prestigious awards,” Adesuyi said. “It’s not an ‘all kids are winners, so we are all getting a trophy for participation’ award.
The people who get these awards are thoroughly vetted and they are highly deserving when they receive them. When someone receives the
awards, they know they are being recognized for doing something great and noteworthy within the community.”
And just as important, the Emerge Gala is about celebration with a lot of dancing to music spun by DJ Chill after the formal portion of the gala
ends and the networking resumes.
“I think the importance of this event is to really celebrate the young professionals and the people who have supported the young
professionals,” said Ariana Mankerian, one of the event organizers. “It’s about establishing unity in the community. This event needs the
support of the entire community because in order for young professionals to grow, we need the more seasoned professionals to support us and
guide us in our careers.”
Supporting the young professionals is in everyone’s interest in order for Madison to continue to emerge in the 21st Century economy.
The Third Annual Emerge Gala is being held on April 30 at the Madison Concourse Hotel. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 and can
be purchased at www.ulgm.org/emergegala.
By Jonathan Gramling
As the Madison area competes for its share of Millennials and other
young professionals who tend to be highly mobile and technically
proficient, the Urban League’s Young Professionals group has been
doing its part to help them bind to the Madison area and help them
One of its primary vehicles for achieving its goals is the Emerge Gala,
a networking, dinner, recognition and dancing event that doubles as a
fundraiser for the Urban League and other social causes that is being
held April 30th at the Madison Concourse Hotel.
“The Emerge Gala’s major goal is to create a philanthropic vehicle for
young professionals to raise money for organizations that they have a
passion for,” said Nia Trammell, the chair of the Urban League board.
“We’ve focused on organizations that have youth-based missions. For