Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tip #260: Help Build the Next Generation of Sweet Leaders

As an association, RCI is committed to supporting the next generation of confectionery leaders. In 2012 RCI developed the Next Generation group as a platform to encourage members in their twenties and thirties to build relationships and connect through fun, interactive events.

Being part of a multi-generational, family business, RCI Board President Steve Vande Walle, shares his first experience as the new kid on the block and why supporting young confectionery professionals is important to the industry as a whole.
"[RCI's Next Generation event was created to help the younger generation] develop relationships with members their age, many of whom will turn out to be life-long friends, creating a network of confectionery colleagues facing many of the same challenges who can turn to each other to solve problems and learn from, "says Vande Walle. 
"I wish they had something like this 30 years ago, when I first started attending conventions. I remember attending a networking reception in those days, and seeing all of the “older” members chatting and socializing like they were all best friends."
As a reminder for the more "seasoned" professionals, Vande Walle states, "as leaders of RCI, it is our responsibility to make sure professional growth and networking opportunities for our younger members continues to be available as a way to help our next generation flourish. I believe the next generation events are a step in that direction. Please encourage all young RCI members to attend Next Generation events and even consider becoming a member of our Next Generation Committee. Being a part of the inner workings of the association is very interesting and even more rewarding." 
Regardless of your age, you, too, can help foster the success of future industry leaders by mentoring younger staff or members of your community, encouraging them to participate in local organizations for young professionals, enrolling them in an education course or by sending them to a industry-related conference. 

Consider bringing a young member of your team to RCI's Annual Convention & Industry Expo in Cleveland, Ohio June 18-22, 2018. Aside from all the great education, networking and tours, these "next geners" will leave having made meaningful and lasting connections with colleagues their age that could have an impact on their professional careers for years to come. Visit retailconfectioners.org/annual to learn more and register to attend.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

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