Welcome to Employee Learning Week: Seeing Yourself as a Learner
Employee Learning Week Continues: Robin Reagler on the Art of Learning

Imagining a Path: Employee Learning for Young Professionals

Elwbaninvo_02 As part of my series supporting ASTD's Employee Learning Week, here's a guest post from Brynn Grumstrup Slate, Manager of Communications and Programs for the National Association of Women Business Owners, who shares some of her favorite learning activities.

Brynn tells me that her most valuable professional development experience has been her involvement with the American Society of Association Executives. She says, "Serving on this committee has been especially helpful in making real connections and deepening my knowledge." And when I asked her about what motivated her to continue with her professional development, she told me that she's a natural learner, but that also "I find that it pays off by helping me do my job better, show my ambition to my bosses and establish new relationships with colleagues and peers."

Brynn isn't currently blogging, but after reading this post, don't you think she should start? Be sure to leave a note in comments or you can email Brynn directly. You can also join her on Facebook in the Young Professionals Group. And thanks, Brynn, for heeding my call for guest bloggers this week!

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Soon after landing a job in association management a year and a half ago, I started taking advantage of my employer’s generous professional development policy. Even as an entry-level staff member, I’ve found it easy to learn more about the field and gain new skills that have helped me advance. Even if I end up steering my career in another direction, these opportunities are valuable because they help me better imagine possible future paths. 

Through professional development, I have built on abilities that improve my daily work, met other professionals who have the potential to be valuable connections, and progressed my understanding of my own talents, preferences, goals, and values. 

Some ways that I’ve developed professionally and personally include: 

Workshops and seminars. These learning opportunities guide me in finding out more about a particular concept or honing an emerging skill. I like in-person sessions for the stimulating discussion and information exchange. Online seminars are great because I don’t have to leave the office. 

Formal courses. Longer courses let me go more in depth on an issue or job area. Although they require homework, the extra effort pays off. I can demonstrate deeper knowledge to my bosses and feel more comfortable jumping in with new projects after completing a course. 

Networking sessions. When I take a few hours after work to meet other people in my industry I don’t see an immediate pay off, but I never know which person I talk to will be able to help me with a future problem or supply a valuable connection. 

Committees and volunteer opportunities. Volunteering to serve on the Young Professionals Committee of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is a rewarding experience that I expect will bring long-term benefits. I spend a few hours each month participating in discussions during meetings and helping plan projects. In the process, I make lasting connections with other committee members and develop a deeper knowledge of the field and its unique issues. More than any other action, this commitment helps me feel the most in tune with both my current job and my future goals.

Cross-posted at Beyond the Glass Ceiling

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