Leadership

Meet the Millennials: Young Professionals Are Pushing Associations Forward

By and / Sep 22, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Want to get a glimpse into the minds of millennial employees and members? Hang out with them here for a few days. Each day this week, young professionals from around the association industry will share their perspectives in their own Associations Now guest blog series.

If you were in Nashville for the 2014 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition and were tuned in on Twitter, you might have noticed a new hashtag—#YPImpact. In conjunction with the #ASAEYP hashtag, members of ASAE’s Young Professionals Committee [PDF] and the larger YP community used this new hashtag to document how young association professionals made an impact at Annual. Over the course of the meeting, tweets showed the next generation of association leaders learning, networking, and sharing their experiences.

Now, we are bringing that effort to Associations Now.

All this week, YPs will be sharing stories of the impact that they are making on the association industry. You will learn how YPs view their jobs through a different lens and what this might mean for the future of association management.

Take, for example, a story from our own experience. Tammy Barnes, vice chair of the ASAE Young Professionals Committee and state advocacy officer at the American Psychological Association, recently worked with her boss to introduce fully sponsored wireless internet access at the APA and American Psychological Association Practice Organization’s state leadership conference—a benefit never before provided in the event’s 31-year history.

Young professionals bring unique life experiences and perspectives to the table. Yes, we approach situations in our careers differently, but that’s nothing to be scared of.

Don’t be fooled by the stereotype that “all young professionals are tech savvy.” Barnes’ Android phone is the most advanced technology she owns and (barely) operates. She was inspired by her attendance at another industry’s conference, where she experienced the ease of attendee work-life balance made possible with free WiFi.

Barnes brought the idea to her boss, a baby boomer, and they discussed the pros and cons of adding free WiFi. Her boss was hesitant, but in the end, Barnes presented a solution that fit the needs of the conference, and the feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

Young professionals bring unique life experiences and perspectives to the table. Yes, we approach situations in our careers differently, but that’s nothing to be scared of. Think about how environmental factors have affected each generation: Baby boomers grew up with rotary phones and computer consoles that took up an entire room; generation X had personal computers and car phones; and now, generation Y is using cellphones and tablets like computers. These seamless advances in technology have had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on our day-to-day lives.

Additionally, our generation has a drastically different approach to membership. The days of joining associations for the “good of the order” are in the past. As members, YPs demand a more meaningful return on investment. In fact, in the last few years we’ve witnessed this hands-on, action-oriented phenomenon within the membership of our own ASAE Young Professionals Committee.

Overall, YPs are not just association executives under the age of 35. We are a vibrant part of the broader community—the next generation of association leadership. As you’ll read over the next few days, YPs are pushing our industry through new approaches and toward greater heights. We hope that you’ll see firsthand how we are positively impacting the industry and that you’ll gain a few insights as well.

Brandon Robinson

Brandon Robinson is the chair of the ASAE Young Professionals Committee and Vice President of Association Management at Eisenman & Associates, Inc. More »

Tammy Barnes

Tammy Barnes is vice chair of the ASAE Young Professionals Committee, and state advocacy officer of the American Psychological Association. More »

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