Building Mutually Beneficial Relationships

SAMANTHA GEIER

In August of 2016, TAPPI launched an online platform allowing members, non-members, volunteers, and consultants to collaborate, share knowledge and expand their personal and professional networks. Since its launch, TAPPI Connect has been a valuable resource for divisions and committees in building technical programs for conferences, developing Standards and Technical Information Papers, sharing meeting minutes and presentations, and revising and updating publications.

Mentor Match was created through TAPPI Connect a short time later. The program unites professionals with 5+ years of experience (mentors) and young professionals and students (protégés) to share resources and experiences while working together to achieve professional and personal goals.

“Most companies do not offer a formal mentoring program and TAPPI fills the void in that respect,” says Jessica Carette, TAPPI Connect mentor and innovation manager R&D at Cascades Inc. “Experienced industry professionals have a duty to pass on their ‘savoir faire’ and the Mentor Match program is a great place for newer professionals to build a network and benefit from this knowledge-sharing platform.”

While the benefits of being mentored are well documented, it is important to remember that mentors themselves stand to gain. “I encourage anyone to join Mentor Match because it is beneficial to both parties. Any opportunity to widen your network and meet people with different experiences in a common industry should be welcomed with open arms. My advice for anyone thinking about joining Mentor Match is to seize the opportunity immediately,” says Carette.

Mentor Match is open to any current TAPPI member. To participate in the program, mentors and protégés must apply by completing detailed profiles in the TAPPI Connect platform and are then matched-up to work together according to their needs, interests, and talents. During the application process, protégés can view the mentors available and reach out via email (outside the system) to find out if there is a mutual interest.

Defined enrollment periods help ensure timely and beneficial matches. The upcoming enrollment window is April 3-26 for mentors, while protégés can sign up April 23-May
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TAPPI provides staff support, including an initial conference call between new mentors and protégés to assist them in getting started. The mentoring takes place over the course of six months and can be extended to meet each team’s needs.

Although there is no official limitation, TAPPI recommends mentors have no more than three protégés at a time to avoid work overload.

For more information on TAPPI Connect and the Mentor Match Program, contact us at [email protected]

New TAPPI Division: Women 
in Industry
TAPPI recently launched the new Women in Industry Division to reflect the important and growing contributions of women professionals to TAPPI and the industry. Representing approximately 15 percent of TAPPI’s membership, the new division includes more than 175 dynamic professionals who have driven its growth.

“Having operated as a committee under the PIMA banner since 2015, we are thrilled to increase our TAPPI footprint to the division level where we will continue to expand awareness about issues particular to women,” said Division Chair Pam Cowan. “It is our express goal to work toward strengthening our industry through encouraging the participation of women at all levels with the active involvement of both women and men in that dialog. Stay tuned… there’s a lot to come!”

Major goals for the Women in Industry Division include: developing strategies, tools and resources to help women advance in their careers; creating networking and educational opportunities across all divisions and groups; and identifying and celebrating successful women leaders in the community.

More information is available at www.tappi.org/womenindustry.