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Young Professionals and Associations – Opportunities to Learn and Grow

Posted by Alyssa DelPrete on May 23, 2018 2:08:00 PM

If you told me at my college graduation that I would have a job at an association a little over a year later, I would have responded with a very confused look and many questions. As an English major, I had tested out a few different career paths through internships in my quest to determine my ultimate passion, but associations weren’t on my radar. It was pure luck that brought me to my current position at the American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives (AAOE).

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Topics: Networking, Associations, Young Professionals, careers

3 Ways an ISAE Shared Interest Group Can Grow Your Career

Posted by Sarah Rosenberger on Feb 27, 2014 11:58:00 AM

Show of hands: When you were little, did you want to be an association professional when you grew up? In college, did you choose to major in association management?

For most of us in the association management field, the answer to both of those questions is no. Most association professionals say they “fell into” association management and never looked back. And while there are certainly skills from other fields that translate well into this profession, we all know that this line of work comes with its own unique challenges. The member-based organization dynamic, board governance, membership growth and retention, providing education, volunteer management,  developing new products and services, serving as the voice of an industry… the list goes on and on, and association professionals are charged with doing it all (and more) with very limited resources.

That’s where ISAE can help.

New in 2014, ISAE launched the Shared Interest Group (SIG) program. The concept is simple: Association professionals who have similar interests and/or responsibilities can come together to focus on what matters most to them. A full list of SIGs can be found here: http://www.isae.org/learn/shared-interest-groups/

Here are three ways an ISAE Shared Interest Group can grow your career:

  1.  Shared resources. Many association professionals do not have the luxury of working in large departments with multiple staff members tasked for the same goals. Most likely, you’re a membership department of one; an event planning department of one; a communication department of one. Joining a Shared Interest Group gives you access to a network of other professionals who do exactly what you do day in and day out. Want to grow membership? Join the Membership SIG and you’ll likely find someone who is willing to share what their association did, provide samples and help you evaluate your own membership plan.
  2. Sense of community. It’s easy to think that your association is too unique, or the challenges too rare, to ever be able to find someone outside your organization who would understand. By joining a SIG, you’ll find that all association professionals tend to face similar situations—and want to help each other succeed. This outside perspective can help provide clarity to your organization’s issues while giving you the support system you need to tackle these challenges.
  3. Learn something new. Even the most seasoned association management professionals can benefit from a SIG. The peer-to-peer networking provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from each other’s successes and failures. Any association that refuses to adapt to current changes will not grow. The same can be said for the association professional leading that organization.

The SIG program is truly one of the most beneficial programs ISAE offers association professionals—but you’ll only get what you give. By joining a SIG, you’ll be able to reaffirm what your organization is doing right, learn what you can do to improve, and have a support network to guide you along the way.

Join a SIG now: http://www.isae.org/learn/shared-interest-groups/ 

Author: Shelly Pfenninger, Vacation Rental Managers Association

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).

About Shelly Pfenninger

Director of Communication, Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA)
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Topics: Carreer, Networking

Networking is Marketing, and It’s More Important Than Ever

Posted by Sarah Rosenberger on Oct 30, 2013 12:12:00 PM

We all know we’re supposed to network with other professionals. Most of us occasionally muster as much tact as we can and drag ourselves to a mixer or luncheon. Yet in this era of social media and economic downturn, face-to-face networking is more important than ever. Those who get out from behind their screen, shake hands, pay attention and follow up have the most success of all.

It is tempting to dismiss the advice that we should “always be networking.” If associations have jobs, shouldn’t they announce those opportunities publicly so they get the best possible candidates? Shouldn’t jobseekers be evaluated on the basis of their experience and their ability, not how chummy they are with decision makers? Since we can control the quality of our work, we want to be judged solely on our efforts. Networking feels like the opposite of working; it seems like meeting new people is more about currying favor than enhancing our ability to contribute.

Although this rationale is attractive, networking isn’t just about your own career. It’s also about how you promote the brand of your association.  Networking is the most cost-effective marketing tool you have, because it’s based on the perception others have of you and your work. And although it costs very little to do, the results are priceless. Your reputation reflects on your organization, and vice versa. People are talking about you when you are not there.

The rapid ascent of social networking technologies presents additional challenges. On the one hand, tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter enable us to virtually meet people and exchange ideas with incredible speed and convenience. Yet at the same time, these connections seem to require greater focus to maintain. It might be more efficient to announce new programs or current needs to hundreds of followers, but it will likely be more effective to catch up with an old colleague over lunch.

This isn’t a strike against the Internet generation. There’s actually a scientific reason that “pressing the flesh” is so powerful. Psychologists have studied the way we interact in person, and unsurprisingly, it turns out we have a much stronger memory for faces than we do for names, professions or other factoids. Shake hands with someone today, and chances are good they will seem eerily familiar if you spot them at a shopping mall months or even years later. Almost all of us feel that we easily forget names but quickly recognize faces. You may not remember who they are or what was said, but you’re likely to know for the rest of your life that you’ve seen that face before. Leverage that science in your favor.

Networking is more important than ever before. And in an age where marketing is fundamentally important to associations, networking remains among the most effective ways to promote who you are and what you do. When you’re networking, you are helping to optimize our social fabric. You’re sharing your dreams and desires with the people most able to understand and help you take flight.

Author: Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.


*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).

About Robby Slaughter

Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby is also the author of a new book: Failure: The Secret to Success. More information is available at www.failurethebook.com
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Topics: Networking, Marketing

Who’s In Your Network … and Why?

Posted by Sarah Rosenberger on May 14, 2013 11:07:00 AM

As association professionals, we all have networks. And one of the value propositions for most (if not all) associations is a network for members.  With the technology tools available today, some of those networks are large – very large. Not like the old days before LinkedIn (2002) or Facebook(2004) when most of our networks were based on relationships that we had developed through personal, face-to-face contacts.  And those networks took years to cultivate.

I suppose that there are positive attributes to both kinds of networks. The smaller, more intimate network that is based on personal interaction and the larger networks facilitated through technology tools like the ones many (not all) of us use today. But with the social media tools available today, do you really KNOW the people in your network? Why are the people who are in your network, in fact, in your network? It’s so easy to send an invitation to be part of a network, and it’s even easier to say “yes” to letting someone in your network.

Did you ever step back and look at that network and say “why are these people (or that person) in my network?” What benefit do they seek to gain? Why? What benefit might I receive?  Do you seek referrals? Will you get those from people who you don’t know? Will you get those from people who don’t know you and know how well you perform in any particular circumstance? Do you hope to gain knowledge? How are you going to do that and how do you decide if the source can be trusted? Or do we simply not think about those sorts of things? I think we should.

We are all still limited by one significant common factor. Time. It really doesn’t make any difference how your network has developed. It takes time to nurture valuable relationships – business or personal. And if we don’t nurture those relationships, we really don’t have a network – we just have a list of contacts. It takes time and experience to develop trust.

So maybe we should focus on the quality of our network. Not the size of the network. A large network can add complexity to our lives and we certainly don’t need more complexity. Whatever your thoughts or your approach to networks, I think that we should all think about who is in our network, whose network we are in, and why.

About Sarah Rosenberger

Sarah is a marketing and communication professional for Raybourn Group International (RGI), an Indianapolis based accredited Association Management Company (AMC) who manages over 15 national and international associations. Currently, Sarah serves as the Director of Sponsorship for the Indianapolis Social Media (IndySM) Executive Board in addition to her responsibilities as the Communication, Marketing and Membership Coordinator for the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE). Sarah is also affiliated with the Indiana Junior Chamber (JCI Indianapolis), along with the American Marketing Association-Indiana Chapter. You can follow Sarah on twitter @SarahIndyGal.
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Topics: Social Media, Association, Networking

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