Engage and connect at the sixth annual HIVEX

This article was originally published on October 12 , 2016 in The Hamilton Spectator.

What can possibly come out of hundreds of young people getting together on a Saturday?

Networking. Collaboration. Engagement. Lasting impact.

That’s the value of HIVEX, Hamilton’s largest conference for young professionals and emerging leaders. Hosted by Hamilton HIVE, the sixth annual HIVEX on Nov. 5 will focus on an “Engage” theme as a sequel to last year’s “Connect” theme. The goal is for young professionals to establish meaningful connections, understand civic issues and get involved in their community to advance the city.

Hamilton’s young professionals, the up and coming movers and shakers of this city, are well connected and HIVEX is an example of their skills. With 16 workshops to offer — almost triple the six offered last year — it is the biggest one yet. Presenters range from young professional groups to small businesses to freelancers and nonprofits.

The vision of HIVEX is to bring together the best and the brightest young minds to network, collaborate, better understand the city’s key challenges and come up with solutions to tackle them. HIVEX caters to a broad spectrum of young professionals: post-secondary students, entrepreneurs, recent grads, entry-level professionals, newcomers and those who want to take their careers to the next level.

Workshops will cover community development, strategic volunteering, philanthropy, mentorship, storytelling, personal branding and business pitching. Niche topics, such as media training, late-life care, graphic design and even dance (salsa, specifically), will also be offered.

This year’s HIVEX is challenging young professionals to think deeply about their roles in the city by understanding gentrification and the new community vision, Our Future Hamilton. Keynote speaker Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction, will talk about how young professionals can develop civic leadership to tackle regional challenges.

HIVEX not only brings young leaders together, it introduces them to new spaces and puts the spotlight on Hamilton’s hidden gems.

Three years ago HIVEX brought attendees up to the 21{+s}t floor of Hamilton’s iconic Stelco tower for its keynote session, allowing more than 200 young professionals to enjoy the view. During the municipal elections in 2014, we transformed the pavilion of Hamilton City Centre into a floor for debate featuring eight of the 12 mayoral candidates. This year, we’re bringing attendees to a refurbished industrial building from 1900, The Cotton Factory, in the central lower city’s Sherman Hub neighbourhood.

Why is this conference important for the future of the city?

It’s one of the few avenues for young leaders to learn, challenge their thinking and build their networks. We can build a better city when we are connected to people, resources and ideas.

HIVEX can be the launching pad for new businesses, community initiatives and the next big idea.

HIVEX: Engage young professional conference

Where: The Cotton Factory, 270 Sherman Ave. N.

When: Nov. 5

Cost: $50/single ticket

More info: hamiltonhive.ca/hivex2016