The Young Planners Group (YPG) of the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association (SDAPA) kicked-off its 6th Annual Mentorship Program with an orientation event on November 15, 2016. The Mentorship Program has been coordinated by SDAPA’s YPG with a mission to foster professional growth and career development in a team setting through an exchange of professional expertise and innovative planning practice. This year we welcomed 70 participants to the Program, which resulted in 17 groups!

During the kick-off event, which was held at 57 Degrees, mentors (i.e. senior, associate, or assistant level planning professionals) and protégés (i.e. planning students or planners with less than two years of professional experience) were introduced to their mentorship “pods.” These mentorship pods, or mentorship teams, are comprised of 3 to 5 members at different levels of career development, but at a minimum includes one senior level planner to serve as a mentor. The pods were grouped based on interests, location preferences, and goals noted in their applications. Overall, the program offers a unique professional development opportunity for protégés to establish social and professional relationships with both their peers and with experienced planning professionals.

As part of the program each team commits to a minimum of 4 one-to-one or team meetings of at least one hour each over the course of the program, which runs through June 2017. This can be done through a combination of team meetings and Program events. Team meetings can include networking events, case studies, job shadowing or any activity that provides professional growth opportunities. The YPG Mentorship & Education Subcommittee will be hosting additional Program events during the upcoming months, including Lunch & Learns, a mid-cycle social, and the milestone celebration.

If you aren’t a participant in this cycle, please consider joining us next year for this valuable and rewarding program!