Entering an Industry and Learning to Navigate the Road to Success

When you enter a new industry it can be an extremely daunting experience.  The road to success is often littered with obstacles, hurdles, and learning experiences.  When I first started my career in both the parking and software worlds, I was certainly drinking from a fire hose - from learning new acronyms (PBP, SaaS, WIP, just to name a few) to meeting new faces, it was initially challenging to navigate such dynamic industries.  However, I am fortunate to work in an industry that is powered by a strong cohort of professionals, and I immediately saw the benefit to joining organizations within my industry.

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I joined Women in Parking, which allowed me to meet talented women in the parking industry, but also provided  a mentoring program.  At the most basic level, mentors provide you with advice and can train you throughout your career.  As time passes you can see that a mentor program is so much more powerful.  

At Passport, we have an infectious company culture that supports the team in its professional endeavors.  Through that network of support we are encouraged to join professional organizations, so I became actively involved in one with a mentor program.  It was so powerful to have honest discussions with ambitious, like-minded industry professionals who care just as much about steering the parking industry toward the future as my company does.  

On the surface, a mentor program will provide the opportunity to speak professionally with industry leaders.  You can look forward to chatting about new initiatives within your company and upcoming conferences.  As time passes and the conversations grow, the program should be modeled to provide so much more than that. Each month through conversations with mentors, you will be inspired to push further down the road and past comfort levels.  

Participating in a mentor program can be intimidating at first… ‘you want me to speak candidly with vice presidents, directors, and C-Level executives about my professional trials and tribulations?’  Personally, I was worried about having such open dialogue with folks so much further along in their careers. From day one my mentor listened and made me feel comfortable and supported.  

Through conversations with my mentors I learned how to navigate the windy road of parking from a fresh perspective of someone familiar with the industry.  I learned how to best steer conversations that were difficult to have with managers, gained insight into the parking industry’s history, and discussed what to expect in the years to come from the ever-changing world of parking.

I’ve been promoted multiple times at Passport and look to lead my own sales team in the near future, and have even been asked to speak at regional shows.  Having the opportunity to participate in a strong mentor/mentee relationship has certainly played a role in that.  Passport’s culture promotes a strong sense of self development and professional growth, which encouraged me to take on my own mentee.  In doing so, I’ve been able to pass on lessons learned throughout my time here.

These conversations continue to provide many personal and professional lessons that I’ll carry with throughout the years in the industry and throughout my career.  We all know that navigating a new industry can be daunting, but through programs like this we are able to speak with fellow professionals and become a driving force of change in parking.  

About the Author

Kelsey Owens