BR young professionals group rebranding for first time since 1993 inception

For the first time since the organization’s inception 21 years ago, Forum 35 has introduced a new logo as part of a rebranding effort meant to reinvigorate membership as it looks for its next big project.

The young professionals organization got its start in 1993, with its first initiative being a fundraising effort to place lights on the Mississippi River bridge. The original Forum 35 logo, which featured a simplistic sketch of the bridge, memorialized that effort. The bridge is absent from the new logo, which does not include any images.

The new logo features stylized text in bold, capital letters, with a speech bubble in the center of the “O” in “FORUM.” Forum 35 Vice President of Membership Melissa Parmelee says the speech bubble symbolizes that all Forum 35 members have a voice within the organization and that the young professionals group has a voice in leading Baton Rouge into the future. See the old logo, and check out the new logo.

The new logo is intended to inspire the next generation of Forum 35 members, says the organization’s president, Eric Dexter.

“Going into the 21st year—into the next 10 to 20 years—we wanted to get something that could give us a spark,” Dexter says.

One of the organization’s stumbling blocks, according to Parmelee, has been encouraging all of its members to take advantage of the opportunities it provides. More than 500 members pay yearly dues, Parmelee says, but many members aren’t getting involved in Forum 35 volunteer projects and social events.

Improving participation starts with better informing members about what’s going on, Parmelee says, which Forum 35 hopes to achieve through a website revamp. Forum 35 is also trying to better disperse responsibilities to give more members a stake in the organization by encouraging committee chairs to delegate more tasks to others.

“We’re still doing the same things, we’re just going to do them cleaner and clearer,” Parmelee says.

Dexter says Forum is actively pursuing its next landmark project, but in the meantime, it will continue to connect Baton Rouge’s youth to the city’s leadership.

“Baton Rouge is in a stage of development, and we can be a part of that development,” he says. “We can provide ideas and we can help carry out those plans.” —Kelly Connelly

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