We all need an advisor, a guide, a sounding board – a mentor involved in our professional lives. IAVM’s Mentoring Task Force is dedicated to helping venue managers build their support systems. We spoke with Terry Genovese, CFE, chair of the mentoring task force and Joe Durr, Event Services Manager at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and a mentoring task force member about the program. “We want members to first and foremost recognize that there are no stereotypes in mentoring. Mentors are not always old and wise and mentees are not always young and inexperienced. We all need mentors. We all can benefit,” said Genovese. IAVM members join the Mentor Connector program for a variety of reasons. all participants find mentoring to be beneficial. Terry shared some of the most common factors for seeking a mentor:
Change & Transitions: Most careers take numerous twists and turns. Downsizing, rightsizing, economic downturns, technological advances, and many other factors add more transitions to our career paths. Many of these changes are unexpected and are certainly not part of the plan. Mentoring can help to ease these transitions.
Technology: Innovation happens so quickly and personal experience is a great teacher. Thanks to advances in technology, “reverse mentoring” in which a junior professional advises a more seasoned professional, has become quite common. Younger, tech savvy people are often best suited to mentor older peers on topics like new technology, social media, and more.
Multigenerational Workplace: The current workforce includes Baby Boomers, GenXers, Gen Y or Millennials. The various personality traits, work ethics and expectations of each of these generations are all a part of a very dynamic workplace environment. Connecting and working effectively with all generations is integral to success. Mentoring relationships often bring professionals from different generations together. The partnership, by its very nature, helps to bridge gaps between generations and enable both to become more effective venue managers.
Stress: “Doing more with less” has become a mantra for venue managers in recent years. Working longer hours, managing budget challenges, and trying to maintain a competitive advantage in tough economic times all contribute to stress levels. A mentoring relationship can offer an unbiased sounding board to validate their feelings and help venue managers navigate the challenges successfully.
Economic Downturn’s Impact on Professional Development: The economic downturn has forced many venue managers to work longer hours and travel less. Many times, learning opportunities are limited. IAVM’s Mentor Connector Program enables venue professionals to learn what they want to learn in a time and place that is convenient for them.
Terry added, “Mentor Connector partnerships create their own agendas. They develop goals they aspire to achieve through the partnership. Learning a new skill, preparing for certification, increasing a professional network, learning from the experience of another – the mentoring process can facilitate a variety of goals.
Thanks to modern technology, mentoring can take place anywhere, anytime. IAVM’s mentoring partnerships are flourishing with the use of high tech communication tools that have become vital in our world. Partners meet via email, phone, text, Skype, and sometimes on a one-to-one, face-to-face basis. Crossing various time zones and geographic challenges, partnerships are thriving with the opportunities communications technologies offer. IAVM has provided a platform VenueNet for members to chat online or when possible, partnerships are meeting at conferences, Chapter meetings, VenueConnect, sector meetings and Oglebay (IAVM’s Venue Management School and the Graduate Institute).” said Genovese.
We encourage all of our members to take advantage of IAVM’s mentoring program. Beginning October 2013, Mentor Connector expands to two 12-month schedules—its original April through March timeline and a new October through September program. Partnerships are matched on a one-to-one ratio: mentors sharpening their skills through teaching, and mentees benefiting from another’s knowledge base and network of colleagues. We currently have 19 partnerships, and look forward to adding 10-15 more. Interested individuals (mentors and mentees) are encouraged to apply by October 25. However, with a new 12-month cycle starting every six months members can apply at any time.
Apply today for this Fall’s Mentor Connector program. Contact Gina Brydson, IAVM Director of Membership at Gina.Brydson@IAVM.org to learn more.
Photo: © Orange Photography