What's in a name?
Bolder Young Professionals
Next event: 5-year anniversary party at BMoCA, 1750 13th St., Boulder
Cost: $30 (pre-registration required)
Boulder Young Professionals
Next event: TBD (slated for March)
The Boulder Chamber's young professionals organization will mark its fifth anniversary this year, and will do so with a makeover that has stirred a little contention.
Earlier this year, the chamber's Boulder 2140 group was rebranded as Bolder Young Professionals, given a new logo and a new format — the previous $99 member fee was waived.
As a result, the organization ballooned in members and celebrated a successful launch event at Fate Brewing Co. that benefitted Realities for Children of Boulder County.
"(The name and branding change) was a long time coming, but we needed to move forward, and we've had tremendous success," said Joanna Hoffmann, investor relations manager for the Boulder Chamber.
Not all have been pleased with the arrival of Bolder Young Professionals.
The organizer of the very similarly named Boulder Young Professionals, a chapter of the Colorado Young Professionals Network that has stated plans to host its first event in March, said he is "baffled" by the move.
Jon Severson, who started the young professionals network 10 years ago with the launch of Colorado Springs Young Professionals, alleges the chamber deliberately copied his organization's branding and format of events, including happy hours that partner with nonprofit groups.
"It just seems odd," Severson said. "That's where we're at with it."
Severson said he spoke with Boulder 2140 last year and told the group of his plans to expand his young professionals business into Boulder, Fort Collins and Summit County.
"I like to do things for a good reason, not just because I can make a buck," he said. "Ultimately, my angle is: You put a bunch of good people in the room and see what happens. That's why I was very open to working with the Boulder Chamber."
Colorado Springs Young Professionals LLC registered Boulder Young Professionals as a trade name in December 2012, according to state business records. Severson has been the registered owner of boulderyoungprofessionals.com since 2008.
Hoffmann and chamber officials said they were aware that another organization had the "Boulder" name. They weren't dissuaded from adopting a new name because the "bolder" phrase is a common play on words, she said.
When the Boulder Chamber dropped the "of Commerce" from its name in late 2008, the organization also adopted the tag line "For a Bolder Business Community."
Bolder Young Professionals fits with that theme, said John Tayer, president and chief executive officer of the Boulder Chamber.
"We have been, now for five years strong, moving forward with this program, with helping young professionals advance their careers and business interests," he said. "We are quite proud of that organization.
"The rebranding, from our standpoint, was an opportunity to address consistency around Chamber messaging. Also there was a funny concern about the 2140 name looking like a typo for 2014."
Tayer said Bolder Young Professionals is primarily a volunteer-driven organization and he was not present for the branding discussions.
Tayer said he was contacted by Severson a couple weeks ago. In that conversation, Severson expressed concern about the name, Tayer said.
"But we had already been well along the path in our activities," Tayer said.
Severson said last week that he plans to continue moving forward with the launch of Boulder Young Professionals, but declined to comment further on any next steps he might take with the chamber.
"We're hoping they decide to do the right thing," Severson said.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.