ProTracks: Involvement reveals opportunities

Young Pro Takes Seat As Youngest Delegate

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Ryan Lemiski
Ryan Lemiski

It wasn’t all that long ago that Ryan Lemiski was a Student member of AAPG, nervously attending his first Leadership Conference.

Three years ago, to be exact.

Fast forward – just a blink, really – to today and you’ll find the then-Student is now an Active AAPG member who has become the youngest member ever of the AAPG House of Delegates.

For any AAPG young professional looking for a role model on how to become involved in your Association and make a difference in your profession, Ryan Lemiski may be a pretty good place to start.

Lemiski joined AAPG in 2008, during his graduate studies – and later that year he attended his first AAPG Leadership Conference.

Attending was just a first step. Indeed, his active involvement started almost immediately on the Student Chapters Committee.

Three short years later – and after serving in many leadership roles for AAPG’s Young Professionals Committee – Lemiski’s work and volunteering seems to have paid off. Earlier this year Lemiski, an exploration geologist for Talisman Energy in Calgary, was elected an AAPG delegate, representing Canada.

“It is truly an honor to have been elected to represent all AAPG’s members in the Canada region,” Lemiski said, admitting that when he first applied he thought his chances – due to his age – were slim.

Now, he strongly believes his election shows the great future AAPG is heading toward.

“The selection of a Young Professional to the House of Delegates is a positive step,” Lemiski said. “To me, it suggests that AAPG membership realizes how important Young Professionals are to the future of the Association.”

‘Tremendous Opportunities’

Lemiski is very excited about his new role, because he feels he has been given a great opportunity to bring the views, opinions and vision of the AAPG Young Professionals to the floor of the House of Delegates.

“Being the youngest in the House of Delegates brings much needed visibility to a membership demographic that to date lacks representation in the House,” he said.

Lemiski hopes bringing a new demographic voice will spark new ideas on how AAPG can retain young professional membership – and how they can make young professionals understand and feel they are an integral part of AAPG’s future success.

From his experiences, for example, Lemiski has recognized there are far too many young people in the Canada region who know very little about the opportunities and benefits AAPG can provide for them.

“AAPG presents tremendous opportunities for young professionals,” Lemiski said. “Knowing this, I’ve made it a priority to promote AAPG to students and young professionals whenever I can.”

Lemiski, like other young geoscientists, attributes much of his professional success thus far to AAPG.

“I’ve built a global professional network, and made life-long friendships simply by being a member of this great organization,” he said. “In many respects, my employment with Talisman Energy resulted from the skills I developed by being an active AAPG member.”

Giving Voice

Younger members, whether Students or Young Professionals, have become a top priority for AAPG – and the initiative seems to be working.

Lemiski referenced programs like the Young Professional Leadership Summit and the opportunity of Young Professionals to serve on AAPG committees, as examples of this – and he feels confident that AAPG leadership is very interested in incorporating the vision of Young Professionals into the Long-Term Strategic Plan.

“In many ways Young Professionals are helping steer AAPG and our profession into the future,” he said.

As a Delegate, Lemiski is looking forward to interacting with senior AAPG members – and bridging the gap between the older and younger AAPG generations.

“These (older) individuals contain a wealth of knowledge and experience, and it’s critical that Young Professionals get involved now while these mentors are still prolific,” he said.

The public tends to view this industry as an “Old Boys Club,” Lemiski said, when in reality it has evolved into something much more diverse.

He feels there is endless potential for the Young Professionals to be a very powerful public outreach tool.

“It’s important for Young Professionals to become vocal leaders, so that we can showcase the younger side of our industry,” he said. “By doing so we can convey information to the public from a very different perspective.”

Lemiski has big plans for himself and those surrounding him:

  • He hopes to encourage more Young Professionals to run as Delegate candidates, with his ultimate goal being for every Section and Region to have Young Professional representation in the House of Delegates.
  • He aspires to have a support network for Young Professionals established for the Canada region by the end of this year.
  • Now in the position to be a mentor, Lemiski would like to give some helpful advice to AAPG Young Professional readers, starting with this:

“Become an active member in a professional society, and learn what these societies can do for you and your career. There’s no doubt in my mind that those who take the time to volunteer will be surprised at the numerous opportunities that exist for professional advancement.”

He also added for Young Professionals to not be afraid to ask their employees for support.

“AAPG can only grow through volunteer activity,” he said, “and that requires the support of companies.”

Finally, when asked if he sees his age as a disadvantage in the House of Delegates, Lemiski humbly replied, “I can’t really think of many disadvantages other than maybe having to work a tad harder to be heard in the House.

“I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge,” he said, “especially when an entire membership demographic is counting on me to bring their voice to the floor.”

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