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Springs' young professionals head out on their own 

The time has come for the Business Alliance Rising Professionals to go their own way.

The group, formed seven years ago to help connect and nurture civic leaders, announced last week it would break from the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance. The actual break won't occur until early next year, says Young Professionals board chair Shawn Gullixson, but the path forward will become more clear when members meet in September.

"It's been a part of our strategic plan to eventually break off and form our own organization," he says. "We will be in partnership with the Business Alliance as well as other partnerships in the community, and support each other's programming activities, but we wouldn't be under the Business Alliance."

Dues paid by Young Professionals, $40 a year for a single membership, will be kept by the new organization rather than the Business Alliance, Gullixson says, though the fees might be "restructured."

Young up-and-coming business people, not necessarily all Young Professionals members, took a beating in April when a City Council pay initiative spearheaded by young people so that they could afford to serve, failed by a 4-1 vote at the polls. Council is paid $6,250 a year; the measure sought annual pay of $48,000.

Gullixson says the new move will strengthen his group, long-term: "By doing this, it opens up additional streams of funding — grants, sponsorships — so it gives us an opportunity to expand and grow."

The Alliance's president and CEO Joe Raso said in a statement that his group "will continue to be fully engaged" with the new organization.

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