On Nov. 14, business professionals from the Philadelphia region gathered at KPMG to discuss ways young professionals can grow and develop through mentorship. The event, “Pay it Forward: Mentoring our Future Leaders,” hosted by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber), kicked off a series of mentorship events designed to partner young professionals with area business executives. During the event, Rebecca Zinn, Assistant Professor of Practice, Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Director of Marketing for Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Fox), guided attendees through a presentation on “Cultivating Leadership Opportunities Within the Organization” together with Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Fox and Managing Director of Fox MC.
During her presentation, Zinn pointed to research conducted by Abodo.com showing that a thriving job market is the most important quality in a city for young professionals, and that Philadelphia offers a majority of the qualities that young professionals cited as important. However, she also said that “sixty-four percent of young professionals expect to leave their job or city within five years” and highlighted the importance of investing in this population of the workforce and giving them a reason to stay. “As a business community, we have an opportunity to invest in the future by cultivating leadership,” Zinn said.
“Data show that young professionals aged 28-34 need to build relationships with mentors both outside of their sector and outside of their organization,” said Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Chamber. “That’s what we’re hoping to do with young professionals in our organization. There’s a lot of opportunity” he said.
The goal of the kickoff event was to develop a baseline for how mentors and mentees can understand each other’s challenges and help young leaders become better employees, leaders and colleagues, according to Ginny Susini, Chair of the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council (YPC), an arm of the Chamber that connects ambitious, visionary young people with a strong, diverse network of peers, mentors and regional business and civic leaders. Susini is also a mentee participating in the program.
“The Board has wanted to start this program for years to connect young professionals with business leaders in the region, and we’re excited that this program has finally launched,” Susini said. She expressed optimism this new program will provide young professionals with additional incentive to stay and establish roots in Philadelphia.
Mentorship program participants included mentors who are current Chamber members and mentees participating YPC. Participants represented a wide array of Philadelphia area companies, such as KPMG, Comcast, PNC, Saul Ewing, the Kimmel Center, Wawa, and Vanguard, among others. They broke out into small groups and addressed topics Professor Zinn prompted, including leadership development opportunities for young professionals in their organizations and potential changes in organizational dynamics.
“I hope the event formed a foundation for mentor relationships that will be developed over the next six to eight months,” Zinn said. “Through the discussion questions, I aimed to introduce topics that mentors and mentees can continue to discuss as they start meeting together.”
Program participants will reconvene as a group in January, April and June 2017.
Through its consulting services, Fox Management Consulting has worked with firms of varying sizes and functions on strategies to meaningfully engage young adults, both as customers and as employees. To learn more about these and other services Fox MC offers, contact us here.