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How to Be the Most Valuable Young Professional on Your Team

There was incredible energy, collaboration and diversity at the Engineering News-Record’s Top Young Professionals Conference. It’s clear there is a very real opportunity for young professionals to make a mark on the industry.

In case you missed it, Kent Companies Vice President of Support Operations Leah Gradl moderated a panel on Mastering Leadership Skills to Become an MV(Y)P: Most Valuable Young Professional. There was an abundance of questions from young professionals who want to contribute to their team at a high level. Here is a recap of the presentation.

During the discussion, attendees learned strategies to boost their value at their company and take charge of their own career development path. They heard directly from leaders in business development, information technology, human resources and organizational management. Each panelist focused on a target audience – self, colleagues and customers.

The session’s panelists included:

Business is changing, generations are changing, and so are expectations. Belt reviewed statistics depicting what the new generation of leaders wants, translating into being a mentor or a coach. She talked about how professional expectations and skill development are evolving as a result of a major shift in traditional work arrangements.

Sowden shared an anecdote on blooming where you are planted, taking charge of your career trajectory, setting realistic expectations and meeting your company where they are at.

Elliott discussed managerial traits that are crucial for future leadership to develop themselves and their teams. Out of the 14 characteristics shared, he placed emphasis on judgment, decisiveness, tact, integrity and enthusiasm.

Gradl focused on honing in on your specialized career niche and becoming an essential business development team member to win new work.

“Business development is more than a bid log,” said Gradl. “Master your company narrative. Differentiate your team. When you take control of the story, you create value on both sides of the table.”

The main takeaway? You can earn your seat at the table by creating keystone habits that evolve into consistent performance. Create a vacuum for others to follow. Consistency is the foundation of leadership on your team and across your organization.

Attendees left with a roadmap and critical leadership skills that will help them become the most valuable young professional on the team.