Seed World

Jeff Skemp and IPSA Keep Mentorship Top-of-Mind

Education. While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind in our industry, it is ever increasingly becoming a topic that organizations and companies across the seed industry are investing in. 

It’s no different for the Independent Professional Seed Association’s (IPSA) educational committee, led by Gro Alliance’s Client Operations Manager Jeff Skemp.

“Our main focus is on scholarships,” says Skemp. “We awarded 10 scholarships this year, and we’ve done that for the last couple of years.”

Each scholarship is $2,000, and the funds are given to IPSA from various different member companies — including Central Bag and Burrus Seed. Not only that, but each student gets a free pass to the IPSA Annual Conference, along with their trip and room and board paid for.

“The big thing we want them to take away is a connection to the industry,” Skemp says. “We want them to network with members of the industry.”

But it doesn’t end with a free trip and money for school. Another duty of the education committee is ensuring every scholarship winner is connected with a mentor from a member company. 

Skemp says to imagine, as a college undergraduate, walking into a room of 400+ people and not knowing anyone. It’s an intimidating picture.

“The mentor is designed to be a one-on-one for that student to ask questions and get time to learn about our members,” he says. “It also allows our members to introduce them to other member companies, and ultimately, we’d love these students to come back into the independent sector of the seed business.”

Want to hear more about the mentorship program and advice Skemp would give to graduates on their way into the industry? Listen to his Giant Views video: