Bold Fusion puts 'Genius Under Fire'

From an accidental creative to the minds behind the Old Spice guy and PNC's Virtual Wallet, this year's Bold Fusion marks its seventh anniversary with plenty of new energy. Hosted by he Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's Harnessing Young Professional Energy (HYPE), Bold Fusion has grown into the largest YP summit in the region, an event for networking, creative inspiration and a chance for the city's young professionals to voice their thoughts about the city.

Goals include increasing YP retention and sparking creativity among Cincinnati worker. The event is part of a larger, long-term effort. Cincinnati USA Chamber Marketing Manager Jennifer Young says the concept behind Bold Fusion came early in the city's drive to attract YPs.

"The first Bold Fusion was long before we had HYPE or other talent attraction initiatives," she says. "I think it was when people were just starting to use 'YP,' and they were looking for an event where they could make themselves heard."

Attraction and retention remain central to its mission. "If folks are thinking about leaving Cincinnati, something like this might make them reconsider," says HYPE Program Manager Julie Bernzott. "They might learn something new or meet great people through networking."

And that positive energy could extend deep into the business community, she adds.

"They might take that energy back to their companies, which then could lead them to more attraction efforts," she says. "This could be the first time they've heard of HYPE."

This year's Bold Fusion takes place Aug. 18 at the Westin Cincinnati and focuses on the theme "Genius Under Fire." In addition to presentations, look for heavy Twitter activity by following the #cincyhype hashtag, part of a continued social media push. "We find that adds to the conversation," says Cincinnati USA Chamber Director of Public Relations Chris Kemper.

Kemper says Bold Fusion, along with HYPE's other efforts, impact the city's demographics. The Greater Cincinnati region lost 14 percent of its 25- to 34-year-olds from 1990 to 2005, but reversed that trend to add more than 10,000 YPs - a 3.9 percent increase - to the region between 2005 and 2010.

"We're starting to see the fruits of that labor," he says.

By Matt Cunningham

Follow Matt on Twitter @cunningcontent

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