Last week I facilitated an annual meeting of 60 volunteer leaders in New Orleans. It was Mardi Gras, so it was a special treat to be visiting the city at that time. But even more fun than being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras was the energy these volunteer leaders brought with them. Some would argue that they’re the next generation of leaders, but I think they’re today’s leaders. Sure, they’re newer to the profession than some of their colleagues, but that doesn’t make them any less capable, passionate or dedicated. In fact, in some ways, it makes them that much more qualified to be leading these discussions. When they talk about the future of where the industry is going, they’re talking about their future. They’re incredibly invested in ensuring growth and prosperity for the next several decades.
While the meetings are always productive, I typically enjoy the unstructured conversations over drinks and dinner much more. And New Orleans was no exception. Some of the local members were kind enough to host a reception for us, and I had a great conversation with one of their young leaders. She shared a recent conversation with me that she’d had with her boss. There hadn’t always been support for mentoring, and it seemed that sharing wasn’t a priority for the established professionals. They were talking about grooming the next generation, and she shared something I thought was incredibly profound, yet simple. Mentoring up-and-comers fosters continuity; it does not create competition. Her vision was that of a legacy for the organization — why wouldn’t today’s leaders want to leave a legacy of talent and performance that developed under their leadership? It’s an incredibly powerful legacy to prepare the organization for success long after you’re gone. So often we get caught up in what today is and where we are at this exact moment. Sure, mentoring someone takes time now, but the future rewards are more than worth the investment. Who can you help today to ensure your values live on tomorrow?