Mentorship and networking opportunities matter when it comes to professionals who are embarking on the early stages of their work. For those in the standardization and conformity assessment community, leadership guidance can help shape the direction of a long career, foster engagement with other professionals, and provide insights on ways to address challenges unique to their profession. Protégés can benefit too, by improving their strengths and expanding invaluable career networks.
ANSI recently spoke with Carrie Schmaus, technology manager, U.S. Department of Energy, about her time and experiences as part of the USNC Young and Emerging Professionals (YEP) Committee and her involvement in the recently launched USNC Professional Mentoring Program.
ANSI: What is your role in the “YEP” program and why did you decide to get involved?
Carrie Schmaus: I am the chair of the Young and Emerging Professionals (YEP) Committee to the U.S. National Committee (USNC). My interest in the role of young professionals in the future of standards started when I attended the 2018 Young Professional (YP) Programme, an event hosted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for young professionals to learn about standards and conformity assessment, network, and refine their leadership skills.
It was during this session that I was elected one of three YP Leaders, so I had the opportunity to spend the following year on a project that eventually led to a National Young and Emerging Professionals Program for the United States. Because the implementation of this idea made the most sense to run through the YEP Committee, I ran for the chair position so I could continue to contribute to the development and launch of the National YEP Program.
ANSI: How has your involvement with the IEC and the U.S. National Committee influenced your career and line of work, and your understanding of standards?
CS: My work with the IEC and the YEP Committee has expanded my involvement in standards and conformity assessment beyond what is required of me in my role at the U.S. Department of Energy, so I now have a broader understanding of the importance of standards and can bring that understanding back into my marine energy work. By taking on positions in the IEC and USNC communities, I have also honed my leadership skills and broadened my network, which has been both professionally and personally rewarding.
ANSI: What can you tell us about the USNC Professional Mentoring Program and who is this opportunity for?
CS: The USNC Mentoring Program is an opportunity for folks new to standards to be matched with a seasoned professional, as well as an opportunity for people that have been in standards for a while to give back and contribute to newer folks’ success. The Mentoring Program facilitates relationships across the standards and conformity assessment community and readies the industry for the next generation of leaders. Anyone that is new to standards is eligible to be a protégée, and standards and conformity assessment professionals that have been in the industry for some time are eligible to be mentors.
ANSI: What’s your role in the mentoring aspect of the program?
CS: The YEP Committee is proud to work with the team behind the USNC Professional Mentoring Program to assist in the development of the program as well as getting the word out about the opportunity. Many USNC YEPs also participate in the Mentoring Program!
ANSI: How can the mentoring program help a young professional’s career and development as an expert in their field?
CS: As is true in any industry, perspective from someone who has once stood in your place is beneficial for folks just getting started in standards and conformity assessment. Mentors offer advice, connections, and can be really helpful when a professional decision or challenge arises. Protégés offer an opportunity for mentors to give back to their professional community, think of new ways to address challenges, and foster relationships with the emerging leaders in their field.
Find out more about the USNC Young and Emerging Professionals Committee and the newly launched USNC Professional Mentoring Program on the USNC Young and Emerging Professionals webpage.