It should come as no surprise to learn that Young Professional AAPG members are not only growing in numbers within our Association, but also in influence.
YP groups are increasing all around the AAPG world - and as any who read the monthly "ProTracks" column in the EXPLORER already know, the groups' monthly activities are becoming "must-attend" activities wherever they're held.
YPs have held their own Leadership Summits, typically in conjunction with AAPG Leadership Days, and their Meet-n-Greets - which allow them a chance to not only meet others in their demographic, but to network and bond with more veteran AAPG members - are important parts of all annual conventions and international conferences.
The growth of this group has been notable; in March 2007 we had 2,381 members who were between the ages of 25-35; as of last month we had 8,459 (the classification is now age 36 and under).
But it's not just the numbers that matter when it comes to considering YPs and AAPG. Something else that is equally impressive is the way their passion for their profession, industry and careers are infusing our Association.
Passionate people have always made AAPG a great association, right from the start. And it's wonderful to see that same quality alive in so many of our younger members.
Two Young Professionals who I have worked with this year are Richard Ball, who is completing his two-year term on the AAPG Executive Committee as secretary, and Flover Rodriguez, a Colombian native recently named vice chair-international on the AAPG Student Chapter Committee.
Both of these talented people have impressed me with their drive and vision for the AAPG - yes, and their passion for what they do. And because of their involvement in many key roles over the past few years I asked each of them a question or two about their experiences.
What is something you learned from your involvement with the Student Chapter Leadership Conference?
FLOVER: Being involved with the AAPG has been an incredible experience, and I've learned firsthand that being successful is not an impossible goal that is limited to only the lucky few - success is something that exists in all of us.
However, there is no shortcut to success.
When I attended the Global SCLS in 2009, Richard (Ball) shared advice from one of his mentors (Bobby Ryan), which was this: Never work your next job until you have accomplished and surpassed your current expectations.
It took hard work to plan the Latin American SCLS. Our plan was to teach students how rewarding it is to share their passion for geology and the geosciences with others - and that is something every member should strive to attain.
And eventually we realized, our team had indeed designed an event that will continue to make a difference in the lives of young geoscience students for years to come.
Flover, you are a student and very active in the Association. What advice do you find most valuable?
FLOVER: Practice makes perfect - there is no easy way around being successful. No matter how talented you are, if you don't work harder and dedicate yourself toward being better every single day, you'll fall behind in your profession to someone else who is working harder.
Also, if you focus your energy on making a difference, you are going to make it. You have to believe in you. You have to believe that you can create the organization you want.
Richard, what advice do you focus on passing on to students?
RICHARD: Have a vision - I try to impart how a solid vision of whatever it is you're trying to accomplish makes the difference between success and failure.
What would both of you like to see becoming the focus for AAPG members?
FLOVER: Learn from your own experiences - don't wait until someone tells you how to solve a problem, try to find the solution.
Randi, you told us how important it is to be responsible for the next generation, and it's true. If every generation in the AAPG continues to heed that advice, and works toward making the organization better prepared for the next generation, the AAPG will be around for the next 100-plus years.
RICHARD: Keep it simple.
We are a large organization, and occasionally we get bogged down in the belief we need all-encompassing, complex ways to improve the AAPG, when in fact, some of the most beneficial changes come from simple ideas executed in small pilot programs (like the SCLS program).
All we need is an idea, an effective way to communicate that idea and people who believe in that idea.
I often try to inspire my daughters using words from Amelia Earhart: "Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done."
I think Flover and Richard are giving us a good message. When we listen to and carefully consider the needs of members, and then act in good faith to find solutions, great things can happen.
Visions can begin.
Of course, doing that means we first need members to come up with some good ideas about how AAPG can help maintain the integrity of our science and the growth of our profession for future energy needs.
And, importantly, we need people who are willing to share those ideas with us, so we can all work together to make those good ideas useful for our Association, valuable for our membership and integral to our capabilities to provide energy for our planet.
That's a tall order, and it will require everyone - students, YPs and veteran geologists alike - to participate.
Are you ready to be part of the team?
I'd love to hear from you.