By Anand Patel
A few weeks ago, Rob Reuter made the exciting announcement that the Young Professionals Network has grown to 300 networks (and counting). This is a commendable feat in the short 4+ years YPN has been around. As a part of Florida YPN, I’m very proud that 12 out of the 26 new networks established nationally to date in 2013 are from within the great state of Florida! Needless to say, the YPN “bug” has caught on and will continue to spread.
As YPN continues to grow around the country, it is also important to focus on quality as the networks multiply in quantity. The last thing we would want to see is networks fizzling out and failing after just a year or two post-launch. If you have ever been involved with Toastmasters International, you may know that not only do they place importance on mentoring new members who join a Toastmasters’ club, but also on mentoring new clubs as they become established. This way you help ensure member participation and club success as they start out their initial year.
As YPN members we can apply the same principles to the many new YPN networks being established around the country. Newly appointed YPN chairs are actively seeking guidance, tips and advice, and would be happy to hear from experienced networks. Here are some ways you could be a mentor and some advice you can share with new networks in your geographic area or across the country:
- Reach out to the YPN chair, association executive or staff liaison of the new network and offer to share your experiences. Calendar in some time, for example: Agree to spend 15-20 minutes every few weeks on the phone to speak with them. This doesn’t have to be a burden on you and take up too much of your valuable time. Fifteen minutes on the phone and perhaps corresponding via email can go a long way in helping a new network out.
- Share advice on how to select your inaugural YPN committee, selecting a vice-chair and how often to meet. We all know YPN is a great entry-point into association volunteerism but keep in mind that this may be the appointed chair’s first experience as part of a committee as well. Continue reading »