YPEK | About Us & Our History


About Us…

Young Professionals of East Kentucky (YPEK) offers young leaders an outlet to channel their energy into something they are passionate about – their careers and their communities.

YPEK brings together young leaders and creates opportunities for them to grow individually, socially, and professionally while developing forward thinking, innovative approaches to improve the communities of East Kentucky.

YPEK strives to prepare and nurture young professionals to lead with vision and passion and to fuel East Kentucky’s business and social climate with new energy and initiatives.

YPEK is an opportunity for young leaders to help shape the future of our region by connecting with other talented and driven individuals. Together we can help make East Kentucky a more vibrant place to live and work.


Our History…

Young Professionals of East Kentucky (YPEK) began in the spring of 2009 as an idea for bringing young leaders together for networking, dialogue, and leadership. The organization, built on the principles of: connect, grow, and lead, is centered on networking with those around you as well as reaching out to those with different views, learning from observing and relating with others, and taking gained knowledge and applying it to make an impact through servant leadership. After meeting with various regional leaders, a broad base of support quickly developed and the formation of YPEK began to take shape. A steering committee was formed to bring young professionals together from across 7 area development districts, 32 counties, and over 10,000 square miles. At the Steering Committee Meeting, YPEK Founder Kevin Smith delivered a message concerning the need for a young professional’s organization that makes a difference in our communities by striving to craft empowering solutions. Since the initial meeting, YPEK has created an organizational structure that utilizes county leaders in its Advisory Committee and has a leadership team of board members that represent the various industries, communities, and makeup of the region. Today, YPEK has applied for 501(c)(3) status and is creating opportunities to engage and utilize young professionals throughout East Kentucky.

Our Service Area…

For County Data Profiles, provided by the Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, please click here.

Join us as we connect, grow, and lead!