While in Chicago, I had a chance to drop by the YP Speed Networking event at Chicago's Elephant & Castle pub and restaurant. The event brought together young professional chemical engineers during one of AIChE's most important meetings of the year, and it appeared as though it was a big success. Below is my interview with Chicago YP, Jessica Swary.
John: How many young professionals attended the YP Mixer during the Chicago Spring Meeting?
John: Did you attract YPs mainly from Chicagoland or other places as well?
Jessica: Though we had a good showing of Chicagoans, the majority of the attendees were actually national and international.
John: How did you come up with the idea of "Speed Networking" for this event?
Jessica: This was a joint brainstorm of the Chicago Young Professional (YP) group. We had all done the boring icebreakers/networking activities; this was a way to mix it up and keep it fun and exciting.
John: Could you tell us how the Speed Networking worked?
Jessica: We had 1-2 tables assigned to each of the sponsoring divisions. YPs were randomly assigned to a group as they registered and remained with this group throughout the networking. The speed networking was divided into five 15 minute rounds. During those 15-minute periods, representatives introduced themselves and their divisions to the YPs, followed by individual introductions from the YPs themselves. The remaining time was spent with open conversation and questions. When time ran out, a whistle blew and YPs scurried to the next table for the next round.
John: How was the event received by the YPs in attendance? Did you get any feedback?
Jessica: From the initial feedback, it seemed that the event was very well received by YPs and representatives alike. YPs and reps mingled long after the speed networking was over, which I took as a definitive sign that it was a complete success.
John: Any other comments?
Jessica: Many thanks to our Sponsors: Fuels & Petrochemical Divisions, Separations Division, Chicago Local Section, Management Division, and Environmental Division. The event would not have been as successful without their wonderful support. Additional thanks goes to the Chicago YP group who put in many hours of planning over the last several months and whose hard work paid off!