Connect 2 Potential reaching for the STARS at Southern Exposure
Mentoring young professionals and emerging leaders is a fantastic way to help ensure the success and sustainability of the produce industry. It’s also a passion for Wendy McManus, leadership coach with Connect 2 Potential. So, when the STARS aligned, McManus signed on to support the Southeast Produce Council’s Southeast Top Agricultural Recruits Scholarship program for the second year in a row.
The STARS program activities revolve around the SEPC’s Southern Exposure conference taking place April 6-8 in Orlando, FL. The students are invited to attend the event as special guests. There they have the opportunity to network with industry members and potentially secure internships or permanent positions in the produce industry.
Working closely with Raina Nelson, SEPC STARS committee co-chair, McManus developed a two-part initiative to help the selected students maximize their opportunities in this industry. After hearing great feedback from the students in 2020, the pair decided to join forces once again in 2021.
“Our STARS mission is to recruit top level students and effectively provide internship and job opportunities to infuse talent into the produce industry,” Nelson said. “The Connect 2 Potential initiative enriches the STARS program and adds another layer of value for our STARS scholarship recipients. Wendy supports the students so they can excel at Southern Exposure and beyond. We are excited about bringing the STARS and Connect 2 Potential back together in 2021.”
Prior to attending Southern Exposure, the students have been given access to the online Authentic Networking for STARS mini course from Connect 2 Potential. Through a few short video segments, the course teaches the fundamentals of networking and conversation, including listening skills, asking great questions, and preparing an elevator pitch. With this knowledge, the students will converge at the event in Orlando.
Following Southern Exposure, McManus will invite each of the students to complete a DiSC Profile and sign up for a one-to-one debrief with her. This highly validated assessment tool is a great way for the students to better understand their own communication style. The debrief with McManus brings clarity to their strengths and superpowers and provides visibility into how other people likely see them. At the close of the debrief, McManus supports each student in committing to a development goal and making a plan for how to keep that commitment alive.
“It’s an honor to help these highly engaged students prepare for Southern Exposure, and then share a valuable self-awareness tool with them afterwards,” said McManus. “I truly appreciate the opportunity provided by SEPC to do this fulfilling work and make an impact for both the students and the industry.”
Connect 2 Potential has a public version of the Authentic Networking mini course at connect2potential.com/networking.
McManus is excited to attend Southern Exposure and reconnect with industry friends after a long year of isolation. Contact her to schedule a meeting during Southern Exposure to explore how Connect 2 Potential can support your team or individual leaders.