By Justin Aquino
When athletes become champions and actors and actresses are announced as winners at award shows, it is common for them to acknowledge mentors that have helped them to achieve the highest honor in their respective fields. The venue management industry is no different. I have spoken to many who have achieved IAVM’s Certified Facilities Executive’ (CFE) designation, the industry’s most distinguished recognition, and most tribute their mentors in motivating them to become one of the industry’s finest.
IAVM offers its members a free 12-month long mentoring program called Mentor Connector. Partnerships start in April and October annually and provide personal one-on-one mentoring. No matter how long you’ve been in the industry, no matter your age and role (mentor or mentee), participants use this opportunity to enhance and grow in our profession. As an IAVM member since graduating college, I have always sought ways to take full advantage of my membership. Not having the opportunity to go to the many schools and conferences our association provides, I looked for other opportunities to interact with IAVM members. The Mentor Connector program immediately stuck out and I applied to be a mentee. The application process was quick and easy; the form asks questions to determine career aspirations and the type of mentor preferred. My answers assisted the Mentoring Committee in matching me with the right mentor.
I have been fortunate enough to complete one 12-month cycle. After achieving my goals I had set during that year and gaining new knowledge and skills, I was hooked. So I signed up again and I am currently participating in another cycle with a new mentor. The goals have changed but the new knowledge and skills I have acquired so far makes this program very worthwhile. The support my mentor gives me in achieving my goals has given me more confidence in my job. Mentorships don’t have to last for the official term of your partnership. I look at them as life-long relationships that will endure throughout a career…industry colleagues you can always reach out to for advice and assistance.
Now, as I share my experiences and successes in the industry, mentors throughout my career are always mentioned – just like athletes, actors and actresses – give recognition to their mentors. To my mentors who have seen my potential and took a risk, those that have seen my mistakes and tutored me to improve and the many mentors who have supported and applauded me in my successes. I can’t thank you all enough and I’m certain you know who you are.