Recently, AMN/Counterman Editor Amy Antenora caught up with Jacki Lutz of Sensata Technologies, who serves as chair of the Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG).
YANG has really gained a lot of traction in the past few years. Bring us up to speed on the numbers and growth of the group.
JL: Number-wise, YANG continues to grow year-after-year despite the obvious “aging” out process. We, of course, lose members as they turn 40 each year but continue to gain more newcomers to make up for those. Currently, we are close to 1,750 members, up almost 100 members from just last year. As members age out, we really try and keep them engaged by becoming “mentors.” We use our mentors for speaking opportunities and to engage in various professional development efforts of our membership. We are nearing 100 active mentors and we are continuing to define and grow that program.
Even more importantly, when we talk about the “growth” of YANG, we should consider how the group continues to adapt and grow with the times. All of our initiatives and goals this year are set to make us a more inclusive and engaging organization.
Everyone was thrilled to be back to an in-person AAPEX and I know YANG hosted not only a meet-up at the show but also a fundraiser for AACF. How did these two events fare for YANG?
JL: I am so proud of the fundraiser for AACF. The council was brand-new at the time and really hit the ground running by hosting meetups across six states all at once. This was the first time we did anything like this and there was a lot of planning that went on behind the scenes. The result was $15,000 raised for AACF ($5,000 more than our goal) and our first in-person event since the pandemic hit. Ultimately, lots of spirits were lifted along with lots of money raised!
The AAPEX Meet-Up was a huge success. Along with the rest of the industry, we weren’t exactly sure what the in-person turn out would be. Our membership really showed up though and we ended up with more registrations than we have had in our previous years. Some of that was because of the gorgeous outdoor location but I think it is largely representative of our membership wanting to get back at it and network.
What’s on the agenda for YANG in 2022?
JL: There is so much on the horizon for this year. In addition to getting in-person meet-ups back on the calendar, our leadership conference back to in-person for the first time in two years and our continuous efforts to give back to our industry, we have added some new initiatives to help grow engagement with our community.
Starting in February, we are offering a new monthly Young Professional Series, where we will be utilizing our mentors and industry leaders to help educate our members on various hot industry topics. These are 1 hour long, “lunch n’ learn” type sessions, with about 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of small group discussion and networking. Our hope for these is that by doing more consistent and bite-size content, we will maximize participation and retention and hopefully help our community engagement feel more continuous.
We plan to announce our newly defined mentorship program at our leadership conference this year. We are currently polling our members and mentors to understand what they want to see in this program. It won’t be anything overly defined, but our goal is to give some clarity around what the expectations are for both members and mentors if they decide to move forward in a mentor/ mentee relationship.
Lastly, we are actively looking for ways to get more of our membership involved on a regular basis with running our initiatives. We want to open up more spots on sub-committees and take advantage of more brain power on these initiatives.
On a more personal level, you have been involved with YANG for a number of years now and are a very vocal supporter. Tell us about some of the benefits you have gained as a young aftermarket professional involved in YANG.
JL: It is no secret that a strong network is what will carry you in this industry. It is all about the relationships you make and what you give back. YANG has given me an incredible network to fall back on when I need support and has given me growth opportunities to support others as well. It is also all about the opportunities provided by YANG to give back to the industry too. That is what keeps me passionate. The more you do, the more you care. The more you care, the more you do.
How can prospective members find out more information and get involved?
JL: The best place to go is YANG’s webpage on www.autocare.org. You can find upcoming events, any new monthly content, as well as information on sponsorship, membership and mentorship. I would also encourage any readers to follow us on social media (Facebook and LinkedIn) as we post all of our new content and upcoming activities there!