By Pamela Corbin, CAPP

I came back from the 2019 IPMI Leadership Summit filled with enthusiasm and exhilaration about the course content and the focus on leadership within the parking industry. I’m sure much of my excitement was derived from the keynote speaker, Major General Peter J. Talleri, USMC (Ret) who was a logistics professional with more than 30 years of service.

While he touched on the topic of natural leaders, he focused on how leadership traits can be learned and sharpened with time. The military invests a great deal of time and money in leadership training—many courses can be up to six months long. While it would be great to have this opportunity, parking and mobility organizations typically don’t have the luxury of taking someone out of the workforce to attend such in-depth training, not to mention the sheer cost investment.

I believe this is where mentorship plays a great role in organizations. In recent years, formal mentoring programs have been put in place in organizations to include the military and private sector. The CAPP Program has a mentoring program, and I recently had the opportunity to be assigned to mentor a young parking professional on her CAPP journey.

I strongly believe that leadership and mentorship are tied closely together. As we rise through the ranks and up the corporate ladder, it is important that we learn from those above us, but it is equally important to mentor those coming behind us. Because we don’t have the luxury of sending individuals to training for extended periods of time, seasoned professionals and leaders need to constantly mentor our employees for their growth and development.

I can’t overstate this importance, as I had a mentor almost immediately upon being employed by the City of Orlando Parking Division. My mentor was not in my chain of command, but he was an individual filled with corporate knowledge regarding the organization. If he didn’t have the answer, he pointed me in the right direction. He was more than enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. He encouraged me—strongly—to get involved with parking organizations such as IPMI and the Florida Parking & Transportation Association (FPTA) and fueled my desire to pursue my CAPP. I was also very fortunate to experience a similar scenario when I was commissioned in the military.

I believe it is through leadership that such bonds are formed, and I can attest that they helped me achieve my goals and objectives. As leaders, we need to take notice of those individuals who are hungry for growth and guide them in their career to achieve their goals. It is not a one-way street though; employees need to recognize leaders and seek them out to maximize their professional development.