The 7th annual Young Professionals Leadership Summit (YPLS) was held this October in Houston as part of the AAPG Mid-Year Business Meeting. The three-day event gives Young Professionals (YPs) a greater understanding of AAPG through workshops to discuss issues currently facing YPs within the Association, and the chance to network with current AAPG leadership.
After last year’s YPLS, I wrote in the EXPLORER about the fact that many YPs do not see the value in AAPG and that they can receive many of AAPG’s products and services from other sources.
Additionally, many YPs have expressed frustration that, while this and similar issues have been raised many times, the Association has yet to adequately address these problems to their satisfaction, and it directly affects our membership numbers. Membership is decreasing and the YPs are a large demographic within this decreasing population.
In response to the discussions at last year’s Leadership Summit, the Young Professionals Special Interest Group (YP SIG) developed four focus areas aimed at communicating and increasing the value to both YPs and the Association. These focus areas were:
- Technical excellence
- Membership recruitment and retention
- Career development
- External partnerships
Participants at this year’s YPLS spent the majority of their time revisiting these focus areas. The group reviewed the programs that have been held within each focus area and evaluated each based on whether a particular program/event had provided value to YPs and the Association. After this assessment, decisions were made to either continue or expand a program, or to discontinue it. Additionally, new programs were proposed in order to create a diverse suite of programs within each focus area.
I’m pleased to report, during the time between the 6th and 7th YP Leadership Summits, the YP SIG has been able to execute a number of programs and events that relate to our four focus areas.
Within the technical focus area, the YP SIG has held several one-day technical workshops, short courses and panel discussions. The YPs had our most ambitious program at ACE in Calgary this year, with the YP SIG sponsoring a field trip, a focus session, the annual YP Meet and Greet and a networking reception. The YP program for GEO 2016 in Bahrain also included a packed YP program including technical and non-technical short courses, a core workshop, a meet and greet and panel sessions.
These programs have helped the YP SIG to further our goals within the membership recruitment and retention focus area. Additionally, we have encouraged our members to become more active, communicating and raising awareness of the “student-YP bridge,” and highlighted the value of the YP SIG through articles like this one.
We are also extremely excited to see the first Young Professionals Exemplary Service Award presented during AAPG’s 100th anniversary at ACE in Houston next year.
Our goal for 2017 is to increase YP involvement in committees, the House of Delegates and in local/national leadership. Additionally, we will be conducting another YP survey in order to receive feedback on our current programs and performance from the entire YP population.
The YPs have also been working very closely with AAPG Director of Innovation and Emerging Science and Technology Susan Nash to help develop and promote courses relevant to YPs, especially in the current economic environment. The career development options have expanded dramatically, thanks to these combined efforts. The YPs have also been leveraging other YP groups, including the Young Professionals in Energy, the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts YPs and the Society of Petroleum Engineers YPs, and we have hosted a number of joint events.
At the conclusion of the 7th annual YPLS, participants felt energized and walked away with a clear set of actions to continue developing the four focus areas proposed one year ago.
Additionally, participants of both the YPLS and the AAPG Mid-Year Business Meeting were able to see the large number of programs and events that the YP SIG has successfully executed in the last year. These programs are helping the Association to thrive well past its 100th anniversary and are making a lasting impact with the YP SIG.
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