Since its inception, LES has always offered tremendous value and opportunities to IP and licensing professionals at all stages of their careers. The three pillars that the society is built on – Learning, Excellence and Sharing – shine through in everything we provide for our members, from education, to career mentorship, to networking, to our ANSI-accredited standards development program, and beyond. There is a lot to love about LES, but I have always been especially excited about the career advancing opportunities it offers to our younger members, those newer to the field. That’s why I’m thrilled to be returning as Chair of the Young Members Congress (YMC) USA and Canada this year. After a quiet period, the YMC is back in full force in 2022, and we’re excited to hit the ground running and start re-engaging with our members.

Become an Emerging Leader with LES

While the YMC invites input from members of all ages, historically we’ve been more focused on professionals under the age of 40. As we kick off the new year, we’ve opted to concentrate more on years of experience, targeting members in their first 10 years in the field of licensing. As always, we welcome input from all members, but our activities and benefits will remain focused on elevating those newer to the field, no matter their age. This change dovetails nicely with the recently added LES membership category for Emerging Leaders, which offers professionals with 10 years of experience or less a $200 discount on the first three years of LES membership. You get all the great benefits of membership without breaking the bank. Of course, joining LES as an Emerging Leader also gives you access to the YMC, which offers a steppingstone for leadership roles in local chapters, committees and special LES sectors, in addition to other key perks.

Come for the Speaking Opportunities

The YMC offers two overarching benefits: speaking opportunities and networking. First, we’re dedicated to helping newer members elevate their profiles through speaking engagements. Gaining the opportunity to speak publicly at an LES (or other) event is an excellent way to increase your visibility with an influential crowd. Unfortunately, speaking opportunities can be difficult to secure early in your career, which is why the YMC puts such emphasis on this topic. The YMC’s annual Pan American Conference is focused on featuring speakers relatively new to the field who show expertise in a specific subject matter area – it’s a great way to kick-start a speaking career. We also work with other LES sectors to give new members speaking opportunities at the LES Annual Meetings, which provides broad visibility in front of the entire LES USA & Canada community. We believe public speaking is an invaluable way to advance your career, and we do our best to help our young members get a jump start on the circuit and get their names out there.

Stay for the Networking

In addition to speaking, the YMC also puts great focus on networking. Everyone understands the value of building relationships with others in your field, but in practice it is not always easy, especially in recent years when most events have gone virtual. Even under normal circumstances, networking at larger events, like our Annual Meeting, can be challenging when you’re new to the group. As welcoming as LES is, it’s not always easy to break into conversations. The YMC provides introductory networking opportunities in a more relaxed setting, such as game nights, karaoke, boat cruises, and beyond. These orientation events are designed to help newer members build relationships not only with their young peers, but also with seasoned veterans in the group, which helps make future conversations more approachable and ultimately grows networks. This type of relationship building opens doors for informal mentorship opportunities, which are another tremendous LES benefit, especially for the younger members.

While on the topic of networking, another point worth mentioning relates to the international benefits that LES membership provides. The YMC has active branches all over the world, which enables members to make contact and grow relationships with their LES colleagues across the globe. This international aspect has always been a key benefit of LES membership.

Looking Forward

I’m so excited about the work the YMC is doing to nurture the future potential of our members. As we look forward to the year ahead, we hope you’ll get involved and join us on the journey. The USA and Canada branch of the YMC hosts member calls every other month, the next of which is coming up on January 26th, 2022 at 4 pm ET. All LES members are welcome to join these calls, in which congress leaders discuss upcoming speaking and panel proposals for our members, plan networking opportunities for upcoming LES events and offer a chance for members to connect. Learn more about the benefits and mission here, and contact me to get involved. We hope to see you at YMC meetings later this year!

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About the Author

Stacey Dunn is a lawyer and patent agent with ROBIC, a Canadian firm that specializes in intellectual property law. She specializes in the drafting and prosecution of patent and industrial design applications in the life sciences, genetics, agriculture, medical devices, green technologies, and consumer products. She also provides patentability, validity, infringement, and freedom to operate opinions.

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