I have the honor of serving as the global lead for Young Professionals Network (YPN), one of the seven employee resource groups (ERGs) that currently exist here at Autodesk.
YPN’s mission is to enable early and mid-career professionals to become future Autodesk leaders by fostering a culture of diversity and inclusiveness, providing opportunities for professional development and a safe space for collaboration, and driving a culture of mentorship and coaching.
We help address things that are top of mind for our YPN members, empowering the group’s younger professionals who grapple with three key issues: purpose, compensation, and professional goals. Because we want our aspiring leaders to stay at Autodesk, we promote making horizontal career moves within the organization to gain new knowledge and skills. (We are demystifying the idea that moving up the corporate ladder is the only way to advance one’s career.)
With mentorship, coaching, and other initiatives like our APAC Toastmasters club, we’re invested in advancing our members’ professional development.
Everyone asks me, “Am I too old to join YPN?” The answer is no! While we welcome Autodeskers who are Millennials (born 1981-1996) and Gen Z (born 1997-2012), the group is open to anyone who is keen on development and connection.
About half of our members are individual contributors, while the other half are senior contributors and managers; just 0.1% are directors. For the senior managers, it’s about serving as mentors and preparing junior YPN members for leadership. Our over-40 colleagues understand younger members’ journeys and issues important to them. Age inclusivity is just part of our mission to advance a diverse and inclusive culture.
When you join YPN, you get to expand your network through interacting with other Autodeskers across organizations and geographies, engaging with peers you relate to and trust to build a better world. You also get access to professional development opportunities to help you grow, and you have a chance to give back to communities both within and outside of Autodesk.
YPN membership is more than just an ancillary activity at work; it’s a mosaic of our lives. We organize local events on a regular basis and promote networking and social time with members at some of our larger events, like our annual sales conference and Autodesk University.
I’m based in Europe, so it’s always challenging for me to participate in events in the United States because of jet lag. At our last annual sales meeting in Nashville, I woke up at 4 a.m. and was unsure what to do. While walking around the conference center, a YPN member recognized me. We spent the next few hours networking, talking about career development at Autodesk, and basically having fun. I think back to those discussions we had around career development, and I am sure I would have never had the opportunity to meet so many rising stars at Autodesk if it wasn’t for YPN.
There’s so much to look forward to when it comes to the future of YPN! I am extremely excited about our new initiative, “Plan your next horizontal move in Autodesk.” This program provides a blueprint on how to learn about Autodesk organizations and roles, and how to develop an actionable plan. We’re aiming to run a pilot within our Customer Success organization to give selected candidates the opportunity to shadow roles they are interested in.
By equipping our younger employees with the tools and resources they need to grow in their careers, their futures at Autodesk look bright!
Looking for a career where you can solve challenging problems, create interesting products, and help customers make a positive impact on the world? Join us!