While Wellington is known around the world for its equestrian community, it is also home to a huge working class and professional population that get up each day, take their kids to school and continue on to their jobs as doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and more.
This simple daily ritual quietly weaves the fabric of our community and burnishes Wellington’s reputation as a hard-working, family-oriented place to live.
No one knows that better than the Young Professionals of Wellington (YPOW). Five years ago, this group of working adults, most of them under the age of 45, banded together to spread the word to others in their age group that Wellington is a great place to work and a great place to raise a family.
“Our main goal, our vision, is to keep the Village of Wellington as the premier location to live and work in Palm Beach County,” YPOW President Pam Tahan said. “Our sole purpose is to attract young professionals to the area and for them to have their families here. We also work to encourage the community to offer amenities for our age group.”
YPOW participates in several initiatives each year, including its annual Community Impact Leader Award, which was presented this year to Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO Robbin Lee.
The group has few expenses and operates through member volunteers. “We have very little overhead — no paid employees, no office,” Tahan said.
Yet the group manages to hold several special events, raise money for charity and reward those who help advance the YPOW vision.
The group’s biggest fundraiser is its Halloween-themed Wicked gala, which attracts 250 to 300 costume-clad revelers to the Wanderers Club.
“It’s the biggest Halloween party in Wellington,” Tahan said. “In addition to dinner and dancing, there’s a casino for prizes, raffle tickets and a silent auction. This year, we had additional entertainment in the form of fire dancers, a magician and an acrobat performing during cocktail hour. It’s meant to be a fun night in Wellington. Our goal is to show the community that we can throw a big party and have a good time without leaving our community.”
The money raised goes to various programs supported by YPOW. “This year, we are part of starting a community garden at the Boys & Girls Club of Wellington, together with the Wellington Garden Club,” Tahan said. “The Wellington Garden Club needed funds for plants, tools and equipment. They are also hoping to buy a shed. The goal is to teach kids about healthy food choices and where food comes from.”
Another annual event produced by YPOW is Xcelerate Wellington, based on TV’s Shark Tank. Young entrepreneurs tout their products to local judges, such as Lee and equestrian show promoter Mark Bellissimo.
It was Lee’s support for programs such as Xcelerate Wellington that earned her this year’s Community Impact Leader Award.
“Each year, the group nominates a number of individuals and chooses the person who has most impacted our mission, who has had a large impact on the people who live here in a positive way,” Tahan said. “We want to say thank you for making a difference in our community. Robbin Lee is nothing short of what we as a group are looking for — someone who brings a lot to this community and a lot of support to our group. She really believes in YPOW and also gives back to the community. She expanded our hospital to include services our community previously did not have, she’s the incoming president of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, she’s the past chair of the American Heart Association Heart Walk, she’s a board member of the Wellington Community Foundation, and she actively participates and fundraises for our community.”
Receiving the award earlier this year was an event in itself. Lee was conducting a meeting of department managers in WRMC’s administrative board room when she heard music in the hallway — it was a mariachi band hired to serenade the unsuspecting winner as YPOW members served breakfast, cupcakes and treats. The hoopla concluded with the trophy presentation.
“I am not sure which was more surprising, the mariachi band marching through the hospital early on a Monday morning or the nomination,” Lee said. “I am thankful for being recognized, however, I am just the face of the amazing WRMC leadership and staff. I am truly honored to lead this team of intelligent, dedicated, passionate people. There are so many people in this community who are focused on giving back and continuing to improve the lives of those who live here. I am honored to be selected and hope that others are inspired to impact our community in a positive manner as well.”
Lee respects both the members and the mission of the Young Professionals of Wellington.
“The group consists of individuals who are leaders in their professions and leverage their positions to make an impact in the community,” Lee said. “They collectively work toward providing advocacy for community issues and engaging the next generation in preserving Wellington’s status as a premier community to live and work. They also serve as role models and encourage entrepreneurship through Xcelerate Wellington.”
She likes the group for its forward-looking attitude.
“As a hospital that strives to stay in tune with the community, we look to organizations such as YPOW for feedback on how to meet the needs of our residents while continuing to contribute to positive economic growth,” Lee said. “Also, these individuals are the future for business in Wellington. Therefore, their awareness of the healthcare sector is critical.”
She enjoys her work with Xcelerate Wellington. “This is a fantastic competition that encourages innovation in our community,” Lee said. “I enjoy hearing the ideas presented and meeting the brilliant minds behind the concepts. Proposals such as Oceana Coffee and HNM Menswear are opportunities for us to support projects that help our community grow.”
In addition, Wellington Regional Medical Center supports YPOW at its annual Jump Off WEF event and its annual Wicked celebration.
“I admire YPOW. They are our future,” Lee said. “I want to thank them for recognizing the advances and accomplishments of Wellington Regional Medical Center and for allowing me to be a part of the leaders they view as a critical part of our community.”
Visit www.ypwellington.com for more information about the Young Professionals of Wellington.