Getting the Most from Professional Association Memberships
Membership in a supply chain or logistics association can be significant to your professional development.Actively participating helps advance career growth and offers continuous learning. Dino Moler, executive vice president of client solutions for third-party logistics provider LeSaint Logistics, member of several logistics and supply chain organizations, and president of the board of directors for the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association, offers the following advice to get the most from association memberships.
1. Learn everywhere. Learning opportunities include conferences, webcasts, best practices, and workshops. Learning from members offers another great opportunity. Listen closely to members' varied perspectives, experiences, successes, and failures.
2. Teach others. What do you do extraordinarily well? Do you succeed with social media or know a way to bring customers value, save them money, and still make a profit? Association members would benefit by learning new ideas and solutions from you.
3. Share experiences. If you would rather not teach, or you dislike public speaking, you can still share your experiences with others one-on-one or in small groups. Professional associations, even though many times composed of competitors, foster a spirit of sharing.
4. Network regularly. Membership offers opportunities to build and nurture relationships. You can get to know people from all facets of the supply chain sector including members, vendors, partners, event speakers, and the media. This network is helpful when you need to hire someone great or if you are looking for a career change.
5. Develop a trusted group of peers. This goes beyond basic networking. Developing career-long relationships with people you can trust helps when you're facing a logistics challenge or need to share some new ideas confidentially.
6. Get involved. Professional associations offer plenty of opportunities to volunteer, participate in events, work on committees, or even join the board of directors. Most associations are volunteer-led so your participation is essential.
7. Encourage others to join. Help your association grow by encouraging others to join and vendor partners to participate and support it. It is everyone's responsibility to help the association thrive.
8. Mentor members. Are you an influential industry leader? Many people in your association are new in their roles or new to the industry, and they need you to help them become successful. Are you young or new to the logistics sector? Find people you admire and learn from them. You can return the favor later in your career.
9. Embrace change. Step up and help your association make positive changes if the agenda starts to drift from the core. Conversely, don't be opposed to change suggested by others just because it's different than the way you did things in the past. Healthy associations evolve.
10. Enjoy events. Most associations plan social events throughout the year. Go ahead and enjoy. It's good for your state of mind. There is plenty of work to do in any volunteer group so don't feel guilty when it's time to kick back and have some fun.