Growth of ITW Young Professionals Network in Europe
Instron Applications Engineers Maeve Higham and Alessandro Zazzarelli sat down for an interview to share their great work for Europe’s Young Professionals Network. This newly established cohort is gathering across Europe and supporting the rising talent of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), Instron’s parent company.
Q. What is the mission of the ITW Young Professionals Network (YPN)?
A. YPN aims to connect and empower professionals early in their careers across ITW’s decentralized environment. The YPN was established to help build a community of likeminded peers, working in different ITW business units around the world, through a series of professional development and social networking opportunities. We hope that the YPN will ensure young professionals are connected to peers, dynamically understand ITW businesses, and in turn, are more collaborative when working on ITW initiatives.
Q. What are your roles within the YPN?
A. We currently make up two-thirds of the European YPN leadership team, alongside an ITW colleague based in Paris. YPN Europe is currently in the very early stages. Right now, we are very much focused on getting our name known across all business divisions and making sure we reach out to all young professionals working in Europe to encourage membership. As part of our roles, we work closely with YPN leadership in the US and liaise regularly with ITW executives in addition to the ITW Diversity & Inclusion Council. This collaboration ensures YPN Europe’s goals are aligned with broader ITW strategies.
Q. What opportunities do you see among Europe ITW companies?
A. Having organized two events, it’s amazing to see the desire from all involved to learn about sister ITW companies. The fact that we all use the same vocabulary when it comes to initiatives and business information quickly leads to more in-depth, interesting conversations. We want to use our momentum to showcase more ITW divisions and build relationships, which may not have been otherwise. We’ve seen how much richer business experiences can be with such a broader and more diverse group.
Q. Since establishing, what changes how you seen within this community?
A. Since our event in July 2016, we have really seen exponential growth for YPN in Europe—we went from 4 people to over 150, bringing the global YPN population to almost 600! Despite this early success, we’re conscious of how much there is still left to do. In the UK alone, we’re at less than 40% of what we could ideally be. This is why we’re focusing on small, localized events hosted on a more frequent basis. This strategy gives the opportunity for more people to get involved and spread the word about YPN, creating a snowball effect and cementing membership.
Q. What do you hope for the group in 2017?
A. We are already working on the Europe-wide conference to be held in the second half of 2017—so, watch for this! But in the meantime, we hope that the YPN initiative will continue to gain traction across Europe. The vision is that young professionals based in these regions will work together to host a number of smaller, country-based YPN events. The progress in 2016 has been so rewarding, and we can’t wait to reach as many ITW young professionals as possible in 2017!
Posted On June 10, 2014, 10:33