News Report Article


YBNext goal is to make community better place to live, work and learn

Young professionals in Effingham County are striving to make the Effingham community strong and a place that continues to grow for generations. YBNext is a dynamic group of young professionals that make up the next generation of leadership of Effingham County and surrounding areas. They are an affiliate of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerece. You must be between the ages of 21-40 and live or work in Effingham County to become a member of YBNext.

Jennifer Vahling, current President of YBNext, believes in what YBNext provides for young professionals.  "I believe in YBNext and what it stands for, both personally and professionaly for our members, as well as the benefits it brings to the community through our charitable initiatives," said Vahling. "Whether it is networking, volunteering, or developing as a professional, YBNext can help." Vahling has been affiliated with YBNext for four of the five years of the group's existence. She became involved in YBNext after returning to the area after spending five years in Chicagoland.

"When I came back to the Effingham area, I was looking for a place to meet other young professionals that had similar interest," said Vahling. The goal of YBNext is to educate, inform and employ the talents of the next leadership group of Effingham County; and to benefit the area workforce, enhance family life and provide a career path for future leadership. YBNext has different commitees that members can serve on to add to the amount of networkring opportunities. Members can volunteer on the professional development, charitable, marketing, membership, and social commitees. "Some of our events are during the day and some are in the evening." said Vahling. "Our lunch and learn professional development session are usually held from noon to 1 p.m. We usually have a speaker for 30 minutes." Upcoming professional speakers are Leon Holschbach, CEO of Midland States Bank, who will discuss Intrapreneurship on April 26th. Craig Lindvahl will be discussing Life Lessons on July 10th.

The social committee plans events to provide opportunities to network and develop both professionally and personal relationships in enjoyable atmospheres. YBNext also gives back to the community. "Our charitable committee puts together and donates over 1,000 treat bads to Effingham Unit 40 school." Vahling said. "We've also been active in giving money to FISH and other organizations throughout Effingham."

The marketing commitee shares about upcoming events through e-newsletters, Facebook and their new website This year, YBNext introduced its new Corporate Membership Program. Reduced memberships apply to businesses signing up employees. "The Corporate Membership Program is a way to get your employees more involved in the community," said Vahling. "YBNext is a great way to enhance the professional skills of your staff and promote awareness of your business."

In 2013, there were 125 members active in YBNext. This year, 100 members have joined and renewals are coming up. "We're on a good path for growth," said Vahling. "We're hoping for a membership of 200 this year." Vahling, along with the Board of Directors, are excited about the future of YBNext. "We are very passionate about the future of Effingham County," said Vahling. "We just don't want to be members of an organization we want to make an impact in Effingham. We want to be able to help fund things, drive local business and assist young professionals that want to open a business." 

To learn more or join YBNext, visit their website at


Officers of YBNext are pictured above. Sitting (left to right) are Hailey Niemerg, Secretary; Jennifer Vahling, President; and Molly Myracle, Social Chairman. Standing are Greg Bushue, President-Elect; Joe Fearday, Professional Development Chairment; Kelly Butts, Treasurer; Ali Habing, Marketing Chairmen; Maollry Doedtman, Charitable Chairman; Grant Bushue, Ex-Officio; and Brandon Wright; Membership Chairman.