We are a young professionals group serving Northern Michigan above the 45th parallel.

Our Vision is to see thriving young professionals live, work, play, and stay in Northern Michigan.

Our Mission is to bring young professionals together to build meaningful friendships and connections. By empowering our members to create opportunities for themselves and others, we foster lasting positive social and economic change. Together, we amplify the voice of young professionals in Northern Michigan.

We do this by:

  • Providing support and enrichment opportunities for young professionals in order to improve their overall quality of life.

  • Providing low-cost / no-cost programming and training to help young professionals learn new skills and make meaningful connections to advance their career opportunities.

  • Building camaraderie through social and recreational opportunities in Northern Michigan.

  • Giving back to our community through volunteerism and civic engagement.




Sean Lynch | Investment Associate, Encore Financial Group



Christa Rensel | Owner & Designer, Nimble Kettle

Alex Headshot

Marketing Chair

Alexandra Myers | Marketing Manager, Great Lakes Center for the Arts


social chair

Kurtis Damerow | Owner & Operator, Emmet Drones

Branden Headshot

The Gringotts Banker

Branden Wheeler | Business Manager, Charlevoix-Emmet County Intermediate School District

Erika Headshot

Give-Back Committee chair

Erika Dielman | Server, Independence Village


Board member

Andy Hewitt | Realtor Assistant, Coldwell Banker


A huge thank you to the founding leaders of Thrive 45º: Sarah Pirie, Brittany McNeil, Dylan Valade, Megan Nickerson, Mattie Ozment, Jeff Neil, & Katie Potts. And to our mentors: Carlin Smith and Lisa Hoyt. 




There are lots of great opportunities to get involved and help inform how Thrive 45º makes an impact within our community.

Interested in joining a committee? 

Social Committee

Committee Chair: Kurtis Damerow

Responsible for social and recreational activities that bring our members together in a casual atmosphere to connect. 


Professional Development Committee

Committee Chair: Andy Hewitt

Responsible for programming that helps our members move forward in their professional lives through education and networking.


Give-Back Committee

Committee Chair: Erika Dielman

They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and this committee is responsible for finding opportunities for our members to give back to our community. 


Funds & Fundraising Committee

Committee Chair: Branden Wheeler

Responsible for cultivating partnerships, collaboration opportunities, and fundraising. Thrive 45º is fully run through volunteers, and sponsorships are crucial to ensuring that the organization continues.