On Friday December 2, about 250 members and guests of the Santa Barbara Young Professionals Club (SBYPC) celebrated at its 20th annual Holiday Gala. Nearly every room of the sprawling University Club took on a purple hue for this Purple Rain-themed event and purple balloons festooned the ceilings.
During the short program, President Jon Standring presented Brian Cota with an award for the Young Professional of the Year and Council member Frank Hotchkiss presented Cota with a certificate from the City of Santa Barbara recognizing this honor. Nominations are accepted from the general public, the board selects the winner.
Cota, the head of the White Collar Fraud/Financial Elder Abuse Unit at the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, is a 9th generation Santa Barbaran, a direct descendant of Lieutenant Pable Cota. His community service includes being on the board of both Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.
In an interview, Cota praised SBYPC for bringing people together to network and more importantly, for exposing members to nonprofits in the community. Each month at its monthly mixers, the SBYPC has a nonprofit make a presentation to the members and guests. Cota observed that board members at area nonprofits tend to be older so there’s a need to bring in a new generation of people. By hearing presentations from nonprofits at the monthly mixers, he sees members becoming interested in joining boards and helping in other ways.
In addition to allowing for networking and exposing members to area nonprofits, the SBYPC also raises funds for area nonprofits. Each year at the Gala, it names its Nonprofit of the Year and presents the nonprofit with a check. This year, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) received a check for $5,210. TBCF executive director Lindsey Leonard expressed her gratitude on behalf of the foundation to SBPYC members for “dedicating their hearts and resources to help families that have a child with cancer.”
A DJ provided lively tunes throughout the evening and one of the rooms was dedicated to dancing. A couple of other large, purple-hued rooms had multiple casino tables, whlle yet another room offered a full bar and heavy appetizers.
The other finalists for the Young Professional of the Year Award were financial planner Hannah Buschbom, fitness club operator Marianne Madsen, emergency room doctor Jason Prystowsky, and barber shop owner Richie Ramirez.
Yet another aspect of SBYPC is group volunteer efforts. Earlier in the year, it fielded a team in the American Heart Association Heart Walk and raised more than $4,000. The volunteer component is a priority for Standring, who plans on organizing at least a couple of major undertakings next year.
Professionals of all ages are welcome to attend SBYPC events, membership is limited to those 21 to 45. For more information about SBYPC, go to sbypc.org.
Send event invites to Gail at firstname.lastname@example.org.