Isaac Newton once said ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’. This powerful quote could also be a participant’s reflection of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) Young Professionals (YP) Mentoring Program.
Shaping the future leaders of the geospatial workforce, the program connects established professionals and emerging young talent, like that of our rising GIS superstar Alexandra Perry.
Alexandra, a Geospatial Project Manager at AAM, a Woolpert Company shares her experience as a mentee in the YP Mentoring Program in 2022.
She was paired with mentor and geospatial industry leader Maree Wilson, who heads major programs within the public sector, and brings a different perspective and background to the geospatial industry. Alexandra said that Project Management has been a new journey in her GIS career, made more challenging by starting this role amidst the pandemic.
“I felt as If I had taken that leap but was left asking where do I go from here? Stepping into a new role was both exciting and overwhelming. I was lacking confidence and was seeking a female perspective.”
Having experienced the very same program as a mentee herself a couple of years prior, Maree sees just how valuable a mentor is and wanted to take the opportunity to share her insights with others.
“I think my biggest lesson was reinforcing to me just how important a mentor is throughout your career. It’s good for me to be a sounding board, and that role of a mentor is critical throughout your career.”
The three-month program encourages participants to explore various topics designed to offer guidance, provide clarity around decision making, and build soft skills. For Alexandra, this looked like carving a career path and setting the right goals to get there.
“Hearing about Maree’s experience has really opened my eyes and mind and has made me feel a lot more motivated. I have new goals and am more confident about where I am now and what I may be able to do in the future. With Maree’s guidance I have been able to further develop my communication methods and explore different avenues for connecting with people and events in the GIS community.”
Alexandra recommends this program to anyone in the surveying and spatial profession needing extra support and a boost in confidence. Her final thoughts and insights gained are extremely positive and a credit to the program and mentors.
“A lot of different people, roles and skillsets come together to keep the GIS industry alive. Those of us in non-technical roles also have an important part to play in the success of the project. It is becoming normalised to gain skills and connections from industry professionals from a multitude of companies and I find comfort that these flowing experiences are encouraged. SSSI have done a great job, the topics chosen, and the materials provided have been relevant and well thought out and I am beyond thankful to have been involved.”