Get To Know: The California Young Professionals Special Interest Group

04/07/2024 12:29 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

The California Young Professionals Special Interest Group is a collaborative community of young learning and talent development professionals from the ATD Los Angeles, ATD Orange County, ATD San Diego, and ATD Golden Gate Chapters. This SIG is co-led by Jessica Del Rosario Dent, a learning and talent development professional with experience in both corporate and higher education.  We asked Jessica a few questions about her journey to becoming the leader of this group.

What personal experiences or beliefs drive your passion for the group's focus?

Jessica: When I was attempting to enter into the corporate learning and talent development space, I often heard from recruiters that the companies I applied to were seeking candidates with "more experience" than I had. Ironically, gaining "more experience" becomes a challenge when companies are reluctant to hire you due to a perceived lack of it. This dilemma is a common concern for many young professionals or those aiming to shift their career paths.

This experience motivated me to create an environment that nurtures growth, encourages the sharing of knowledge, and supports the professional development of its members, all while addressing the challenge of gaining the necessary experience to advance in our chosen careers.

How do you foster a sense of community and collaboration among SIG members, especially when addressing unique challenges of leading a multi-chapter SIG?

Jessica:  It’s all about creating opportunities for authentic connections.

In our events, we prioritize intentional networking by encouraging thoughtful discussions and fun personal questions, aiming to make connections meaningful. Attendees are urged to stay in touch via LinkedIn, fostering professional relationships beyond the event. 

Similarly, as representatives, our collaboration is both deliberate and proactive. Recognizing that everyone has busy schedules, celebrates life events, or life just happens, it's essential to be understanding, while also remaining flexible. Beyond our professional collaborations, we value our personal connections by sharing moments from our lives through photos, Instagram, or casual texts. I believe successful collaboration is more likely when you understand your team members as whole individuals.

Can you share a moment or event during your SIG leadership that profoundly impacted you or the group’s direction?

Jessica:  The moment that significantly impacted our group's direction occurred when we changed our name from Southern California Young Professionals to California Young Professionals. This change was largely due to an amazing colleague of mine, Remy Biglow from ATD-Golden Gate, who spearheaded the effort to expand our group. It’s so exciting to create these connections with other L&D professionals across the state!

How has leading this group influenced your perspective on the Learning and Development profession and your personal goals?

Jessica:  Leading this group has deepened my appreciation for diverse insights, broadening my perspective on the L&D profession and significantly influencing my career path. It has highlighted the importance of empathy and considering multiple viewpoints in professional growth, underlining my commitment to continuous learning and strategic thinking in my career choices.

How do you measure the success of your SIG?

Jessica:  A way to measure success for our SIG would be through the growth and social media interactions from members across all our chapters, as any progress in these areas is a step in the right direction.

What goals do you have for your SIG's future?

Jessica:  I am eager to expand our social media presence. Being a multi-chapter SIG offers us many opportunities to enhance our reach and impact. This will allow us to connect with a more diverse audience, share our insights, activities, and achievements across a wider platform, foster a stronger community, and encourage more engagement from members and potential members.

Explore what the California Young Professionals SIG has to offer you!

View Jessica Del Rosario Dent's member profile.

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