As a culture, we are continually working toward finding balance among the different generations. There have been countless seminars, books, videos, and conferences centered on the ideology of generational gaps. What makes us different from our younger or older colleagues, customers, and suppliers?
For those of you who attended the 2017 Wood Flooring Expo in Phoenix, you heard a message of cooperation among generations and how it is a necessity for the successful future of our industry. We focused on how each generation can use its strengths and ideas to move our industry forward rather than focusing on the predefined differences that supposedly separate us.
Another conversation we have had frequently in our industry centers around the future of our workforce. As we reported in our April/May issue of Hardwood Floors Magazine, the NWFA is currently working on several initiatives to help address the labor shortage including online learning and credentialing, and an apprenticeship program.
All members have a place and a voice within the association and the industry, including young wood flooring professionals. The industry wants and needs these voices to keep the association fresh and relevant to upcoming generations.
With that, the NWFA created the Emerging Leaders Network, designed to attract and engage young talent and keep the industry thriving.
If you are a seasoned member, think back to when you first got involved with the industry. Who did you meet at your first Expo? Who was by your side when you participated in your first school? Who gave you a helping hand when you decided to start your own business? The Emerging Leaders Network is intended to help forge relationships among young wood flooring professionals of all business types.
Our industry is extremely connected, and those who choose to enter this profession seldom leave. True friendships are made, and I would wager that a number of your businesses have benefited from the relationships you’ve nurtured over the years as a result of your participation in the NWFA. Our Emerging Leaders Council identified this as another reason to form a network spanning all business types. The young leaders meeting today may very well be doing business together for years to come. The Emerging Leaders Network provides a home base for those relationships to grow.
At the Emerging Leaders Reception at Expo, the room buzzed with dozens of young professionals eager to meet and get involved with the industry. At press time, more than 50 members have been referred into the Emerging Leaders Network, ready to get involved.
Some of the opportunities members will have in this group include contributing content to Hardwood Floors Magazine, implementing ideas into programs that will better serve young professionals, and developing solutions for a balanced workplace environment.
To become a part of the Emerging Leaders Network, young professionals must be members of the NWFA (or work for a member company) and be referred in by their employer or a member of the Emerging Leaders Network or Council. Young professionals owning their own businesses may self-nominate.
To nominate a young professional in your company, complete the online form at nwfa.org/emergingleaders.aspx. Inclusion in the network is free, but will yield significant returns.