In the world of associations, benefits offered make all the difference. C-level employees have different wants and needs than a young professional, and catering to both is no easy task. While upper management may have the luxury of expensing their memberships, many young professionals do not have such luxury and must really weigh the benefits of membership versus saving a few extra dollars. While IAVM offers many fantastic resources from industry conferences to online publications, for young professionals, there is no better benefit than the Mentor Connector Program.
When looking into becoming an IAVM member earlier this year, the Mentor Connector Program was the selling point for me. While it is great to go to VenueConnect, read industry publications, and discuss forum topics on VenueNet, none of those perks have as great a value as the ability to talk one-on-one with an industry veteran at least once a month asking any and all questions I may have. Sure young professionals have their supervisors and direct reports to help show them the ropes, but there is a different feeling when talking with a “mentor” versus talking with a supervisor. There is no pressure to impress the boss, no insecurity in admitting you don’t fully grasp a concept, and no feeling of annoyance from asking a plethora of questions. Mentees are encouraged to point out their weaknesses in order to turn them into strengths and ask the hard questions they might feel uncomfortable asking in another setting. Young professionals don’t know what they don’t know, and mentors are there to give that insight.
My advice to all young professionals or those on the fence about the Mentor Connector Program is to do it. Just do it. There is nothing to lose and all to gain. Some of the most successful people on the planet credit their achievements to a mentor, so why not you? Even if you think there is nothing more for you to learn, the Mentor Connector Program at its foundation is another way to strengthen your network in an industry that revolves around relationships. There are not many instances in life where a complete stranger volunteers time month after month to help better another complete stranger, so take advantage of it while you can so you don’t regret it later.