Serving the Future Leaders of Your Association

By Alyssa Gibson, American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives

A few months ago, one of our volunteers approached us to inquire about education and networking for young professionals. While we could certainly provide a list of programs and resources appropriate for this segment of our membership, we realized there was a much larger opportunity to cultivate a community for members in this very important stage of their career.

In the weeks and months following, we’ve convened a task force comprised of both young professionals (under the age of 40) and new professionals (those with five or fewer years of experience in the industry). They are informing new avenues for engaging this group, helping us provide the resources and connections members need as they advance in their career, and better ensuring their long term involvement in the association.

Helping members feel involved and connected to your association’s community right away shows them the value of remaining a member throughout the lifecycle of their career. And these will be the members who are the future volunteer leaders of the association.

Opportunities for your association’s young and new professionals provide a much-needed space for those who might feel hesitant or less comfortable participating in larger conversations where experienced members naturally lead the discussion. While it’s important for newcomers to connect with seasoned professionals for advice and mentorship, it’s also very valuable to find a group of peers who are in the same career stage as you are. These are your peers who best understand what you’re facing and who will be your long term connections.

There are so many ways to engage young and new professionals. Here are just a few ideas to get started:

  • Identify your association’s young and new professionals and invite them to serve as a committee or task force to help inform potential educational and networking opportunities.
  • Host a virtual networking event on a monthly or quarterly basis (if you’re a national association) or in-person if your members are local.
  • Plan webinars or a virtual conference with education specifically for this segment (try to keep it as low cost as possible and easy to access, as these members likely have limited budgets for travel and professional development expenses).
  • Plan a young professionals meet-up at your next conference or in-person event.
  • Host a young professionals blog, podcast, or video series featuring your young professional members.
  • Invite young professionals to do an Instagram or Facebook takeover at your next event to share their experience through the eyes of a newbie. 

RELATED: 2020 ISAE Young Professional Summit

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