Why should a VMA care? It’s self preservation Membership demographics are skewed The decision to join is changing Generational convergence is a challenge YVPs are a strategic opportunity
Generational change What’s a generation? In short, a group born about the same time, in about the same area, with similar experiences. VMA membership is not homogenous Macro trends drive generational change
The four generations Generation Y Born 1977 – 1995 Generation X Born 1965 – 1976 Baby Boomers Born 1946 – 1964 Matures Born pre-1946
Generation Y Fastest growing demographic Shaped by formative events They’re learners They can feel entitled They want to make an impact
Generation Y (more) Don’t expect lifetime employment – but they are loyal Tech dependent Value lifestyle and relationships above work
Generation Y (even more) Event driven Individuals but drawn to groups Want to be part of the solution
Generation X Skeptical Non-traditional family units Loyal to individuals
Baby Boomers Work ethic “Pay your dues” High level of education
Matures Strong military connection Believe in delayed gratification Large families Most trusted by _________?
ASVMAE initiative goals To become more relevant and attractive to the younger segment of the veterinary profession To be considerate of the sensitivities of current members To encourage collegiality and communication between younger and older members
ASVMAE survey findings 79% invite recent graduates to meetings – 49% with a $ incentive 82% offer free or discounted dues <21% asked recent graduates >70% believed competing interests or not seeing value were key barriers
Recent graduate response Actual barriers – Not knowing: about VMA or how to join – Little discretionary money – Not feeling welcome – Not relevant – No time off from employers
Recent graduate response (more) Challenges and stresses – Practicing medicine in real life immediately post graduation – Working for a private employer and effectively meeting his/her practice’s needs – Learning how to communicate with clients and staff
Recent graduate response (more) Challenges and stresses – Moving to a new location and the social issues that entails – Dealing with high debt loads and other financial challenges – Integrating home/social life with practice life – Considering business decisions (e.g. practice ownership)
ASVMAE identified challenges VMAs struggle with relevancy VMAs not familiar to recent graduates Outreach must be a strategic priority with funding
The content’s the same … Gen Y big-picture priorities Outcome-driven actions Relevance for swift career advancement Interesting people or information Sounds like …
The content’s the same … The Veterinary Leadership Experience vimeo.com/12370745
The content’s the same … What’s your VMA’s video? Do we focus on price – or on value?
Listening through a focus group What is a focus group? Why conduct one? What planning is required? Who should participate? Who leads the discussion? What location and format?
Focus group (more) Conducting the focus group – Establish a comfortable environment – Honest feedback – One question at a time – Remain neutral – Ensure even participation – Keep focused
Focus group (more) About the questions – Open ended – Neutral tone – Limit to 5-8 – Be careful with “why”
Focus group (more) Sample questions: When you think of our VMA what reactions or perceptions do you have? What are the specific things that our VMA needs to offer in order to be relevant and valuable to you? In regard to your development as a veterinary professional, what needs do you have and how can our VMA be of value?
Focus group (more) Sample questions: How would you describe your professional community – who is it, what do you get from it, how do you cultivate it, and how does our VMA fit? What issues are you facing, or what concerns do you have, that our VMA might be able to help you with? We appreciate the opportunity to learn about you – but what would you like to know about us?
Focus groups (more) Closing the session Making use of the information Detailed guidelines on the ASVMAE website
Principles of engaging Gen Y Similar others Authentic and unscripted Immediately actionable Trusted channels
Principles of engaging Gen Y (more) Unexpected teasers Lifestyle oriented Things to bring Unofficial handbook
Practical ideas Conduct a focus group Create the website sectionwebsite Involve them in work groups Develop plans for marketing and communications Review association examples
Practical ideas (more) Ban “First-time Attendee” ribbons Mix up the seating Put cell numbers on business cards Add a video auto-reply Consider economic incentives Articulate specific benefits
Summing up Young professionals can benefit from the core offerings of VMAs The content may be the same but the format and voice must be different Young professionals deserve our attention – and they are a strategic opportunity for VMAs to remain valued and relevant