Join us on our mission to help
young professionals stay connected, informed and involved.

Many Career Paths — One Common Goal:

ACEL is a resource for and about young people in Alachua County, Florida. Our vision is for this community to become an increasingly desirable place for diverse, talented young people to flourish. We want you to be a part of it.
We put our mission into action by:

  • Connecting young leaders to one another at social and professional events.
  • Informing Alachua County residents of issues and opportunities in our community.
  • Involving young professionals in projects and initiatives to help them grow professionally.
  • Making Alachua County an even better place!



Paid membership in ACEL includes the ability to apply for our mentorship and microgrants programs. Every fall, we pair up members with a who’s who of Alachua County leadership to form powerful pairs that lead to inspiring stories. Our microgrant program empowers members to be reimbursed up to $200 for different learning opportunities that would benefit them and members. The professional development committee also puts on our Lunch with a Leader series with business leaders in our community, which members receive a deep discount to as well as our free monthly First Friday Coffee Talks where we meet to discuss different professional development topics. 


ACEL’s Public Policy Committee advocates on behalf of young professionals in Alachua County on over thirty policy agenda items with our county and city governments. Our volunteers work hard to meet with city officials, attend hearings, hold non-partisan happy hours for our members to meet candidates. We also produce candidate Q&A’s and bios during election season to keep our members informed on the issues that affect them most. The committee also produces our Lunch with a Legislator series, which members receive an amazing discount to. 


ACEL’s Community Service committee provides its members and volunteers opportunities to give back to the community by facilitating volunteer events that provide a great benefit to our non-profit partners, as well as providing a way to connect with each other while learning a new skill. In the past, not only has ACEL helped donate hundreds of hours of volunteer time, but raised thousands of dollars and made lasting impact in the community through initiatives like installing bike pumps around the city. 


ACEL’s Social committee creates dozens of events every year, including our monthly professional networking mixer, as well as trips to the springs, laser tag and many other fun activities to meet fellow young professionals. Members receive deep discounts on these events. Our fiscal year ends in June with our famous Annual Dinner where members join to celebrate the accomplishments of our past twelve months. 



From professional networking events and trips, to volunteer opportunities and our committees, we’re responsible for hosting over 100 events per year in the Greater Gainesville area. ACEL events are a great way to break the ice, meet new people and collaborate in a number of ways. Many of our attendees have received job offers in a city where new opportunities are filled through networking versus traditional job boards. If you’re new to the area, ACEL is your fast track to building that amazing new group of supportive friends and colleagues. 

We also have an online community in Slack where members connect, we run our committees, and jobs are posted by our member companies before anyone else sees them. 


Whether it’s a love for local politics, or supporting a great cause, ACEL provides you opportunities to make a difference on numerous levels. From the ability to have your voice heard in public policy, or volunteering for one of the many great causes we support, we’re the quickest way to connect with the right people to support your passion. 

In fact, two of our former Public Policy chairs have gone onto become Gainesville City Commissioners. 


Many young professionals in Alachua County face a similar problem: working in small, emerging companies is exciting, but many lack the resources to offer the tools, advice and education to help their employees grow. 

ACEL looks to fill that gap through a number of different programs in its Professional Development committee including Mentorship and Microgrants — but sometimes it’s as simple as having a new colleague to seek our for advice outside your workplace that makes all the difference in the world. 



Being a member of ACEL has its benefits. From deeply discounted events, to access to mentors and microgrants, you’re not just investing in yourself but in our community of young professionals as a whole. 

Every year, an all volunteer board of fifteen people donates hundreds of hours of their time managing dozens of events and volunteers to helping make Alachua County a place people want to come to, stay and grow professionally. We operate on a small budget and deliver a large impact.


We have five committees that give you the opportunity to not just give back to the community but build new skills and form new friendships. 

Whether it’s helping put on Social events, influencing Public Policy, organizing fellow volunteers for Community Service, sharing your knowledge in Professional Development or helping spread the word about how great ACEL is through our Marketing & Communications Committee, we are always looking for help and you do not have to become a member to volunteer. 



Every May, our nominations committee looks to fill open board roles to begin our fiscal year in July with passionate, talented people helping run our organization. 

Throughout the year we’re often looking to replace a few people. Why? Most of the time it’s because the person was so talented, they got promoted at work and were too busy to continue. 

If you’re looking for a deeper way of getting involved, as well as the benefits of having your employer take notice of your initiative, joining the ACEL board is the way to go. 


Frank Avery

Executive Director of CareerSource North Central Florida

“When I was new to town having just moved from South Carolina, ACEL was the first group I really had a chance to connect with. From trips to the springs to a chance to lead as the Marketing & Communications Chair for nearly two years, the experience has taught me so much about how to grow and thrive in a great community. ”