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Pro Tips

Young Professionals:
Explore Non-Traditional Mentorships

“Non-traditional” mentoring opportunities have grown popular among business aviation’s young professionals (YoPros). Despite a more informal approach, these interactions can have a lasting and fulfilling impact on both mentors and mentees.

“Just a few minutes of elevator conversation with someone curious about aviation can be fantastic,” said Jessica Belcher, a sales and marketing executive with Exclusive Aircraft Sales. “It’s a quick way to answer their questions, which often leads them to conduct more in-depth research.”

Similar conversations inspired Pilatus PC-12 First Officer Kristen Stimpert as she’s advanced in her career.

“I’ve had coffee with a guy who moved his entire family to Fiji to manage a fleet of aircraft, and another who flies air tankers for CalFire,” said Stimpert. “One incredible young woman is a Boeing 777 captain, and another is flying right seat in a [Gulfstream] G550.

“Everyone has their own journey,” she continued. “If you actively listen and remain present in these conversations, you can gain some incredible mentorship.”

Mentoring relationships can also grow out of more structured gatherings. Jordan Scales, associate aircraft manager at Clay Lacy Aviation, noted that he remains engaged with several aviation students he met during presentations he gave at colleges.

“They know I’m there because I truly want to answer their questions,” he said. “It’s important to keep that open-door mentality going forward.”

“Social media can be a fantastic means of outreach to connect with people and find ‘mini-mentor’ opportunities to help educate them.”

Jessica Belcher Sales and Marketing Executive, Exclusive Aircraft Sales

Social media can also be a powerful resource, even for people who’ve never met face-to-face.

“A gentleman reached out to me via LinkedIn and asked how I broke into the industry,” Scales recalled. After communicating for eight months, the man told Scales, “Hey, this is kind of weird to say… but I think you’re my mentor!”

“I’m a big fan of social media,” Belcher added. “The platforms are free to use, and the audiences are enormous. They can be a fantastic means of outreach to connect with people and find these ‘mini-mentor’ opportunities to help educate them.”

No matter the form of non-traditional mentoring, all parties can benefit.

“When you have conversations with different people in different areas, you benefit from their diverse backgrounds and will come away with incredible stories and advice,” Stimpert concluded. “Some may resonate more than others, but they all will help guide you on your own path.” others, but they all will help guide you and provide insight on your own path.”

Review NBAA’s mentoring resources at nbaa.org/mentor.

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