We define F10s as young professionals currently functioning in the first ten years of their careers. They are also between the ages of 22 to 32, and represent the association community's future. As such, it makes sense to provide resources to this very important demographic.
Although there are certainly older career professionals entering the association sector after previous experience working in non-profits in other capacities (e.g., volunteers) or for government or private sector positions, F10s have unique perspectives and needs. They may possess the education and practical skill their profession requires, for instance, but they lack experience and operational know-how.
Three Questions for Danielle Russell
by Jeff de Cagna
To better understand what the F10 segment, i.e., association professionals in the first ten years of their careers, ages 22-32, thinks about associations, we put some questions to Danielle S. Russell, senior association manager for Association and Events Management in Toronto. (You can find Danielle on Twitter @dani__russell)
1. What attracted you to work in associations?
Not unlike many of my more experienced peers, I fell into associations almost by accident – ok, technically I was pushed.
It was the summer of my third year working as a political staffer at Queen’s Park (the Ontario Legislature), an election was looming, and I began to feel uncomfortable with the idea that the good people of Ontario could throw my boss out of a job, and me right along with him. So I started to think about where I wanted to go next, I looked around at the inspiring women I was working with, or had worked with; I evaluated the careers of some of my favorite role-models; and, I started to ask around – what should I do next? Well, I have some incredible mentors, and within a few weeks I had my answer – the association Industry – and an action plan for how to get here!
2. What have you learned about yourself?
This may seem trite – but I’ve learned that I can do anything I put my mind to. I can take old skills, build on a sound foundation, and learn to do just about anything. In associations, especially those with small/tight budgets you need to be a Jill (or Jack) of all Trades.
I’ve also learned that I get great satisfaction from volunteering; my Great-Grandfather was fond of saying to his children “everyone must serve” and it is a mindset that I’ve found I agree with. I have gained so many relevant skills – from the Trillium Chapter Board, to the Chair of the Summer Summit, to the in-house governance expert of a small grassroots community organization – and I find it helps to know how an NFP can and should work, when you are trying to make a difference.
3. How are you thinking about your future career in associations?
Well for starters, I’m getting this close to my CAE, two weeks of readings, one final paper, and an exam (as of time of writing) are all that stands between me and a few more letters at the end of my name. I would not have invested the time, energy, and oh so many weekends, if I wasn’t thinking about a future in associations.
I’m also thinking about my future in the association Industry – especially in terms of building a peer group in CSAE. As I’ve already said, when I advocate for services for Young Professionals, or mentor soon-to-be-grads at my Alma Mater, or put in the countless hours I’ve contributed to the F10 working group and the broader conversation about the CSAE business model – it’s because in 20 years when all the boomers are gone, I still want to have a network to count on.
F10 Video Contest
CSAE challenges its F!0 audience to create videos that illustrate the sort of challenges and situations they face as young professionals. The CSAE 2016 F10 Video Contest is now closed and the winner will be announced at CSAE National Conference 2016