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2024 Young Professionals Conference

2024 Young Professionals Conference

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 (8:30 AM - 4:00 PM) (EDT)


Mark your calendars for the highly anticipated 6th Annual Young Professionals Conference, taking place on March 20th, 2024! Presented in partnership with the United Way of Wyoming Valley and our regional chambers, this day-long event is designed to empower and develop the next generation of talented professionals in our community.

Hosted at the THINK Center in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, this conference will feature a lineup of incredible speakers from our region! From insightful keynotes to engaging panel discussions, attendees can expect a day filled with valuable insights and networking opportunities. Plus, don't forget to visit our headshot room, where a professional photographer will be on hand to capture polished headshots for your professional profile and networking needs.

We're thrilled to announce our keynote speaker for this year's conference: Ryan Evans, Internal Communications Manager at SEKISUI KYDEX and Northwestern University Graduate School of Communication. Join us as Ryan takes the stage to deliver his powerful session titled "Architecting Redemption: Positive Thinking in Negative Spaces." Drawing from his own personal journey, Ryan will share insights on overcoming adversity, cultivating a positive mindset, and finding redemption even in the most challenging of circumstances.

More about our Keynote Speaker: Ryan Evans is a Luzerne County native hailing from Bear Creek Township. As a child, Ryan saw firsthand the effects of alcohol and substance abuse and was no stranger to domestic abuse in the household. Throughout his youth, Ryan struggled to come to terms with his upbringing and the abuse he witnessed and turned to substance abuse himself as a coping mechanism for his subsequent depression. After graduating from now-defunct James M. Coughlin High School in 2011, Ryan continued on to Kutztown University where depression and substance abuse followed him. At the age of 21, Ryan dropped out of college and enlisted in a last-ditch effort to gain some sense of direction in his life. He attended Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, IL and attended follow-on training at Center for Information Dominance Unit Corry Station in Pensacola, FL. Ryan ultimately reported to Commander, Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan from 2015 to 2018, where he worked as a Broadcast Communications Control Authority Chief of the Watch, Special Intelligence Communications Watchfloor Supervisor, and an Information Warfare Specialist.

Upon being honorably discharged from the Navy, Ryan returned home and enrolled at Luzerne County Community College where he got involved on campus and within the administration, serving as Student Representative to the Board of Directors and getting involved with his peers and fellow veterans. In 2021, Ryan graduated with an Associates in Journalism & Media Writing and was named Outstanding Graduate for his contributions on campus and in the community, particularly in bringing awareness to veterans' mental health issues. Ryan transferred to Wilkes University to finish his bachelor's degree and became a first-generation college graduate last May, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus in multimedia platforms. It was during this time Ryan also worked as a reporter for the Times Leader newspaper. Prior to finishing his undergrad, Ryan was accepted to Northwestern University's Graduate School of Communication where he is actively pursuing his masters degree. His research involves ethical practices pertaining to automation and artificial intelligence in strategic communications.

Ryan was a featured speaker at the 2023 Wilkes University Founder's Gala and guest on Bill Corcoran's On The Stacks podcast. Ryan's public speaking endeavors center on overcoming trauma, addictions, adversity, and the power of a positive mental attitude, as well as combatting impostor syndrome, anxiety, depression, competing only with the person in the mirror, and breaking stigmas surrounding mental health. Ryan is also a member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center's "Dream Team" which visits learning institutions to promote careers in manufacturing.

7 S Main Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701 United States
Event Contact
Michaela Grundowski
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Wednesday, March 20, 2024 (8:30 AM - 4:00 PM) (EDT)
Young Professionals
Downtown WB
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