Cultivating Connections among up-and-coming under-40 Industry Professionals

For up-and-coming under-40 industry professionals, SEMA’s Young Executives Network has long provided resources to help its members cultivate connections, sharpen skills and advance their careers through networking and education. 

There are face-to-face networking events with fellow members and industry leaders as well as a social media presence that includes a YEN Facebook page, a private Facebook group and Instagram for day-to-day interaction, plus a YEN website. The SEMA Launch Pad competition, presented by YEN at the SEMA Show, is considered the network’s flagship program, while the YEN Awards Reception also at the Show is without question the premier networking event of the year.

YEN has also hosted regional Meet Ups, most often in conjunction with industry events. Last year, for instance, a meet up was held in October during the Formula DRIFT Round 8: Title Fight at the Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, Calif. In December, another meet up took place in Indianapolis during the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show.

But while YEN events at the SEMA Show and regional meet ups are always well attended and earn high marks, there are many YENsters and would-be members who are unable to attend these events. With more than 1,500 members spread across the country, how then could the network better serve its membership with meaningful and more accessible regional opportunities? The answer lay in a pilot program.