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YPN5Q: Torch Community director Patwin Lawrence

This week we hear from Patwin Lawrence, co-founder and partnership director at Torch Community.


YPN5Q is a weekly Q&A series spotlighting the state’s top young business and civic leaders and creative minds — professionals propelling change through entrepreneurship, the arts, public service, social media, and community involvement.

This week we hear from Patwin Lawrence, a Financial Aid Representative at Capella University who has been at the forefront of young professional organizing since moving to the Twin Cities from South Carolina in 2001.

Lawrence is the co-founder and partnership director at Torch Community, a social networking organization designed especially for young professionals in the Twin Cities.

Established in 2009, Torch Community — along with 18 nonprofit partner organizations — brings young professionals from a wide range of fields and industries together for community engagement, professional development, and business and social networking. 

In addition to his work with Torch, Lawrence serves as board secretary and communications chair for the State Council on Black Minnesotans, which advises the Governor and legislature on the nature and intensity of issues confronting the state’s African American population.

Lawrence is also the immediate past president of the Minneapolis Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP).

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Patwin Lawrence
Courtesy of Patwin LawrencePatwin Lawrence

Name: Patwin Lawrence
Age: 35
Residence: Minneapolis
Current job title: Director
Current employer: Torch Community

1. How would other people describe you — using only adjectives?
Good question. It would vary according to time of day. Most descriptors would likely be colorful nouns that can’t be printed in a respectable publication.

2. What blogs or websites are you addicted to?
I’m an amateur genealogist — I’ve been collecting and research my family history for over 20 years — so I’m addicted to research sites.

The new thing is genetic genealogy: using your DNA to overcome brick walls in your research. I’ve had my Y-DNA (paternal line) and my mtDNA (maternal line) tested with very interesting results. is coming out with a new autosomal DNA test (which tests across your entire DNA, rather than testing one line). The site will be able to determine my racial composition, breaking it down into ethnic groups by percent. This is awesome! People who have been cut off from their roots will be able to reconnect!

3. What’s something new happening in your life?
I’m currently working on a podcast for the Council on Black Minnesotans website. As the communications committee chair, I’ve been revamping the website with new content and tools to engage the community. The podcast will feature interviews, information on legislative happenings and community news that will help inform and empower the community.

People are so busy working; they don’t have time to research what’s happening in the community. The Council on Black Minnesotans is going to supply that information to community members.

I’m working through Twitter right now, but still have to figure it all out…

4. Who is your favorite local celebrity?
L.A. Nik.

Whenever I’m at the W Hotel, he’s at the hotel. It’s a running joke with friends; we bet we will see L.A. standing at the bar on the 27th floor when we get there. Most of the time, that’s exactly where he is — dressed all in black. Awesome.

I still don’t know what he does or even why he’s famous. He just is. 

5. Where is your favorite after-work hangout spot?
I don’t have an after-work hangout spot per se, because I’m usually rushing to an evening meeting or event. I do have some favorite bars, if that’s what we’re really getting at.

According to my Facebook check-ins, Bradstreet and Marvel are my current favorites, but I have been cheating on them. The newly-opened Eat Street Social Club is my recent infatuation. I’m a big fan of classic cocktails and the cocktail programs are really good there.

I also enjoy La Belle Vie and Meritage and Heartland in St. Paul. The bartenders make these places even better.

To nominate a young professional for “YPN5Q,” email with the nominee’s full name, employer or contact info, and one or two brief sentences supporting your nomination.