By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
BIG SKY – On June 1, the Big Sky Young Professionals will begin a mentorship program that pairs community members in the early stages of their careers with experienced professionals.
The mentors will be members of the Yellowstone Club, one of Big Sky’s private ski and golf communities.
Big Sky resident Lori Addicks will facilitate the program by setting expectations for both mentors and mentees, and by helping participants understand what kind of guidance they can expect.
“The [mentoring] relationship is often one that’s focused on career development, skill sets, [and] sometimes opening doors,” Addicks said. “It can be really invaluable in terms of getting some insight [into] what goes on in different industries and at different levels.”
Addicks said 25 members of BSYP indicated they were planning to attend as of May 18, but that number could increase to 40 or 50 people by the June 1 event.
One reason there’s so much interest in the program might be that many young professionals in Big Sky don’t have the benefit of working in large organizations where structured training is part of their work experience, she said.
Addicks works in a private consulting practice focusing on leadership development, executive coaching and organizational development.
Part of the mentorship process involves getting the mentor-mentee match right, and Addicks will provide each person with a workbook to guide them along the way. She said that establishing clear expectations should help the relationship get off to a successful start.
Participants will indicate their preferences in terms of time commitment and will sign up to connect for one, three, six or nine sessions. Addicks said conversations will happen virtually, but that won’t preclude the pairs from meeting in person if their schedules allow it.
“I’m really excited about the fact that there’s an opportunity for individuals to really invest in the development of young professionals in this community,” Addicks said. “I commend the Yellowstone Club [members] for offering that.”
Margo Magnant, Big Sky Chamber of Commerce’s membership director and the founder of BSYP, said she believes there’s a lot of potential for the mentoring program.
“If it’s implemented the way we hope it will be, I think it could really spell the success of the Young Professionals group,” said Magnant, adding that a partnership with Yellowstone Club members could really set BSYP apart from other networking groups in Gallatin County.
Magnant said as of May 20, there were 37 Yellowstone Club members interested in serving as mentors, and club member David Givens will coordinate them.
The June 1 event is open to everyone, but the mentorship program will be reserved for paying members of BSYP, Magnant said. A pro-rated summer membership for June to Nov. 30 is available—a nod to the seasonal schedules of many of Big Sky’s workers.
Magnant sees the group’s efforts as one way to draw and retain a skilled and dedicated professional workforce. “If we can bring together like-minded folks for professional development, maybe we [could help them] secure their place in Big Sky and feel more at home,” Magnant said. “That was my more personal motivation.”
The group is committed to meeting at least once a month. Magnant said that the January luncheon on financial planning sold out and they’re planning a similar event focused on health care for later this year.
BSYP has 34 paying members thus far—the membership is expected to grow—and its events are shared in a Facebook group with 174 members. The target age range is 21 to 39, “but we don’t check driver licenses,” Magnant joked, adding that there are a number of members who’ve passed the 40-year-old mark.
So far, the community’s reception of the group’s efforts has been positive, Magnant said. “I’ll go out to dinner and people will come up to my table and ask about Young Professionals and what’s next. I’ve had businesses calling me and asking if they can sponsor our next event [and] venues approaching me to ask if they can host us next.”
The June 1 event will take place at the 320 Guest Ranch at 5 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/groups/bigskyyp.