Posted by & filed under Association Events, Success Stories, Tips and Ideas.

Bringing Generations Together: How to Bridge the Gap

By: Jenna Jones, Program Coordinator

Being relatable is a key component of any association. There are those that have served in the industry planting seeds for many years, while others are just entering the industry looking for ways to set themselves apart.  Whether you are considered a veteran or a newbie in the industry, we can all bring something to the table.

One of our client associations has established two committees working toward the goal of bringing the generations of their association together. These two committees are the YPs (Young Professionals) and the VIPs (Veterans in the Profession).  While the Young Professionals group is comprised of members that are 35 years of age and under and considered new to the industry, the VIPs usually have 10 or more years’ experience and have been a long-standing member of the association. Here are a few examples on how this association is bringing these two groups together.

Calamities and Cocktails

One of the most recent trends taking shape in this industry is the blending of these YPs and VIPs in the form of a social hour more commonly known as Calamities and Cocktails.  During this ‘happy hour’, VIPs share war stories from the industry, while the YPs maneuver around the room taking in these stories and noting the steps to take to become a success in the their industry.

Easy Identification

You can also denote the YPs from the VIPs through meeting name badges.  At each of the monthly meetings, attendees gather to listen to a guest speaker on a particular topic.  The first 30 minutes consists of registration, breakfast, and networking opportunities.  Each attendee receives a name badge and these badges and badge ribbons can be used to identify members from non-members or YP’s from VIP’s. Your long-standing members can easily find YPs to reach out to, as well as helping your new members identify a VIP should they want additional guidance at the meeting. By doing so, it helps break the ice to begin initial conversations and facilitate opportunities for networking between long-standing members and new members.

Conference Social

With this particular client, each year, thousands of association professionals gather together to hear about the latest industry trends and network with others from around the country.  Each chapter is given the opportunity to host a social of its members. This gives the YPs and VIPs another opportunity to meet and network in a casual setting. This serves as an opportunity to foster mentor/mentee relationships that can continue beyond the conference.

While this is still a fairly new concept, the idea behind it is clear.  This newfound respect between the YPs and VIPs allows for an even greater understanding of the industry as well as noteworthy tips to take away from a group just entering the field vs. a group that has earned VIP status.  Both can take something from each other.

Jenna has been a team member of ASG for 10 months and looks forward to what each day will bring. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching sports, and going to the beach!