Young Travel Professionals Launch Mentor Program
by Andrew Sheivachman /

Young Travel Professionals (YTP) is launching a mentoring program to match new entrants in the industry with more experienced professionals.


Wazha Dube, co-founder and director of events for the New York branch of YTP, which was founded in 2011, told Travel Market Report he was inspired to introduce the mentoring service by his experience as a mentee while studying at Hawaii Pacific University.

“I was lucky enough to have a mentor at my college industry management program, and I found that most of my peers never had that,” said Dube, who is business development manager at Kartagener Associates, a destination and travel marketing company in New York City.

Growth opportunity
As Young Travel Professionals grew from 75 members to close to 2,000, Dube saw that many who are new to the industry need guidance.

Mentoring of young new entrants by experienced yet up-to-date professionals can help keep new entrants in travel from switching to other industries, Dube suggested.
 
“Most seem to fall into the industry through happenstance and find that a lot of travel people are much older,” said Dube.

“So whoever is teaching young travel professionals the ropes is probably teaching methods from several years ago; things today are different than when our bosses learned [the industry].”

Mentors are signing on
Mentors enlisted so far include Ken Fish, president and owner of Absolute Travel; Leslie Overton, general manager of Absolute Travel, and Amanda Colin, director of marketing for Ovation Travel Group.

“Since we sent out the press release about mentoring, I’ve been getting emails from dozens of [potential] mentors,” said Dube.
 
“They’ve seen the need to grab people in the hiring pool, and that’s what we’ve enabled mentors to do,” said Dube. “They have access to the talent of young people, while the mentees have an opportunity to explain what their goals are.”

Initially the program will enroll no more than 15 mentors, but if the program is successful it will be expanded.

The program requires a six-month commitment. Potential mentors and mentees can learn more by emailing mentor@youngtravelprofessionals.com.

Looking to the future
YTP’s mentoring program plays into the organization’s expansion plans. “It allows us to expand in cities where we don’t already have groups,” Dube said.

Young Travel Professionals currently has active branches in New York, San Francisco, Boston and London.
 
“We jumped at the opportunity to open a London branch, so not only do we have branches on both U.S. coasts but also across the pond.”

We would like to start off with no more than 15 mentors, but if we’re successful we will expand.

Wazha Dube, Young Travel Professionals