Laura Occhipinti founded New Jersey Young Professionals on February 22, 2004, after just having relocated from Bergen County to Somerset County. Although the move was far from epic in length, Laura suddenly found that her friends were too far away to get together for happy hours, coffee, movies, etc. She was in a position where she wanted to make friends but had no idea how to go about doing so. Even though she was single, she didn't want to join a "singles group" as she was not looking for dates but rather for friendships to transform into a social circle.
She founded the group on Yahoo, hoping that there were others out there who were also looking to make friends, and boy was she surprised! NJYP went from one member to 2,000 within a year, and 6,000 by the second year. NJ Young Professionals is now a registered organization that holds events throughout the Garden State. There are now 6,000+ paid Members and 16,000+ Young Professionals on the mailing list.
In 2015, Laura sold NJYP to Michael Park and Brian Melnick. Mike came on as CEO and Brian as COO, and together formed a plan to continue the legacy of Laura and NJYP by creating even more new, creative events, and expanding in exciting ways.