Guest Commentator: Maggie March, Philadelphia Director, Arena Strategies

Why is it important that employers encourage young professionals to pursue mentorship opportunities and how does this help them retain talent?

Employers need to encourage young professionals to participate in a mentorship program for many reasons. Mentoring is an invaluable part of professional development that will ultimately result in a well-rounded and happier employee. By encouraging young professionals to seek mentorship opportunities, companies show their employees that they are willing to invest in their success while fostering leadership, communication skills and an expanded network. Mentorship provides guidance and a sounding board for young professionals that allows for an honest and productive conversation. The outcome of these relationships will ensure retention of motivated and dynamic employees. Mentees can gain a fresh and different perspective on challenges presented in their day to day jobs as well as set and work towards goals and milestones. Young professionals are faced with a landscape that isn’t always easy to navigate. Having someone you trust who has ‘been there’ on your side provides confidence in your career.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in a pilot program called Pay it Forward by the Chamber. It is a guided mentorship program matching young professionals with some of the most influential and successful business professionals in the region. The program was started after the Chamber’s survey found that 44% of young professionals are motivated by professional advancement and are seeking mentorship opportunities. I was matched with Allison Davenport, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Pennsylvania. Allison and I have built an invaluable professional (and personal!) relationship that I would otherwise not have had. Although our participation in the program ended last Spring, we still make it a point to get together regularly. She always listens and gives me great, well thought out feedback and perspective that results in me being better in my role at Arena Strategies. She also encourages me to build a list of professional goals and has been great about reminding me to continually work towards them.

Due to the positive relationship we have built over the past year, I was inspired to become a mentor myself. I have recently joined Big Brothers Big Sisters’ new program called Mentor 2.0 that matches young professionals with motivated college-bound high school freshman. We are working with our mentees on a weekly basis on projects that prepare them for college. I can say that in addition to being fulfilling, I am learning so much from both of my experiences.

Maggie March’s participation in Pay It Forward is part of an 18-month data gathering process by the Chamber’s Education & Talent Action Team to better understand the personal, professional, and civic motivators of mid-career professionals. The findings, which will make the case for why employers need to engage young professionals in innovative ways, will be released at the program below.

Upcoming Program

The Next Generation of Talent: Building a More Competitive Greater Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Independence Mall West • 150 N. 6th Street • Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tickets starting at $35

Learn more and register »