By Jared Mazzanti

AmCham China’s Young Professionals Committee assembled a panel Wednesday, April 22, to talk about career development done outside the office. The evening's speakers at the Haworth Showroom – Loretta Evans of Xycletime, Inc., Ira Cohen of Universal Ideas and entrepreneur Richard Robinson – encouraged young professionals to find and join organizations that interest them because these affiliations provide a platform to connect with others who share interests.

Event attendees represented leadership from a wide array of organizations, including Moishe House, AusCham Young Professionals, Young Writers Club, university alumni associations and sports clubs. Involvement in these organizations is a natural way to expand personal and professional networks, but also teachers another skill: how to be a good follower. According to Loretta Evans, those who have been leaders know what kind of followers they appreciate, an awareness that can carry over when roles change. 

Of course, those motivated enough to connect with peers can also start their own groups. In Richard Robinson’s experience, those who are willing to do the “legwork” to find a venue and organize an event will be able to find people eager to participate. As participation and membership grow, thought leaders will be willing to give you their time.

Ira Cohen had a consistent message throughout the event for young professionals networking in organizations and in their workplaces:learn how to ask penetrating questions. Change happens very quickly, and those asking the questions will be able to learn quickly enough to manage this change.

Jared Mazzanti is a Communications Intern at AmCham China.