With all of the online networking opportunities available today, joining a professional organization might seem a little old hat. But nothing could be further from the truth. These organizations as important as ever, offering opportunities to grow professionally and personally that you can’t get anywhere else. Here are three reasons why you should consider joining:
#1 Give your company an edge Just about every industry has a professional organization focused exclusively on them. They can give you access to the richest trove of research, trend analysis and competitive information that likely exists for your line of business. It’s the ultimate inside track that starts delivering insights from the day you join and will keep you up-to-date from then on. That is certainly the case with us. As the premier professional organization for the trade show and events industry, the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) has been a constant source of guidance to us for years and continues to provide a crucial leg up in our business.
#2 Grow your career Professional organizations are networking nirvanas, sponsoring events throughout the year where you can connect with like-minded people. As you make new contacts and deepen existing ones, you’ll benefit from the camaraderie, support and shared learnings that naturally results. It’s a level of networking that can only happen in-person and face-to-face. In fact, we’ve known more than a few people who met at organization events and ended up becoming not just business associates but lifelong friends. Professional organizations are also great places for younger professionals to locate that all-important mentor who can help guide their careers.
What kind of difference can this kind of peer interaction make? Our President credits the support she has received from fellow businesswomen in the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) as positively transformative to her career—if not her life. What organization might there be that can do the same for you?
#3 Personal fulfillment Joining a civic-minded association can satisfy you on an even deeper level. Whether it’s a charity, environmental cause or civic endeavor, there are a host of organizations that can give you the satisfaction of giving back to the community—and of spending time with people who share your commitment. We can tell you that being involved with the United Way, particularly at the board level, has been a highly fulfilling experience for us.
Best of all, with hundreds of professional organizations to choose from—from small local start-ups to national organizations—you’re sure to find one that appeals exactly to your interests and career. So check them out and become a believer!