"I think it's time we had a signature landmark that also speaks to the talent of our hometown."

Derek Grosso

Co-founder of Second Date Social and owner of City Venture Holdings (parent company for Columbus Young Professionals Club, Music City YPs, CityPulse Guides and Columbus Impact Academy)

About: When city leaders were mourning the annual loss of talented young graduates to other regions in the years leading up to the Great Recession, Derek Grosso was thinking about ways to connect the ones who stayed. Since he founded the CYP Club in 2005, he’s connected 25,000 young professionals, making it the largest membership organization of young professionals/millennials in the United States. With events ranging from social mixers to professional development to volunteering to sports activities, CYP Club contributes $2.1 million annually in economic impact to Central Ohio. Its members have volunteered more than 100,000 hours and donated $535,000 to local charities. He is taking the CYP Club model to cities across the country, having launched Music City Young Professionals in Nashville, and has served as consultant to more than 50 YP initiatives over the past five years in nearly a dozen cities. In 2018, he launched the Columbus Impact Academy for emerging leaders, and in 2019, Grosso co-founded Second Date Social with his wife, Nicci Sprouse-Grosso, to take meeting singles offline in a fun, low-pressure environment. A native of Long Island, New York, Grosso holds a bachelor of business administration from George Washington University.

Outside work: Upper Arlington Volleyball Booster Club president, Experience Columbus Membership Advisory Committee member.

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What does Columbus need to thrive? “We need to be focused on welcoming our prospective new residents, but we also need to provide greater care and open arms to those who are already here—and who need our help. We need to provide better access to jobs, food, education, housing and infrastructure. It’s something all cities and regions are facing, but with our people (who I believe are our greatest asset), we can achieve more by working together.”

Grosso’s idea: “With murals going up all around the city over the past few years, I think it’s time we had a signature landmark that also speaks to the talent of our hometown. I’d love to host a city-wide call for entries and raise funding to commission a local artist to create an iconic, large-scale monument, sculpture or public artwork.”

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