How Volunteering with Your Professional Association Helps You Grow
There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have gotten my current job had I not said yes to Jennifer Wilson, of Convergence Coaching, more than ten years ago. She asked me to volunteer to join the AAM professional association committee she was chairing- Virtual Education. It might have had another name back then, but it’s the current committee that puts on all our AAM High! Webinars and Virtual Campfires. Fast forward a few years, and she asked me to take over as Chair. They were big shoes to fill, so I said no. Then she asked again, and I said yes. Maybe a year into my role as Chair, Jen found me a co-chair, our current Executive Director Lauren Clemmer.
I knew Lauren as a friendly competitor in the Cleveland area. We worked well together and worked hard at filling our 16+ webinar slots. It was nice being local as we could get together in person and discuss our webinar ideas and who we were hoping to get as speakers. It really was a great experience. I learned new skills, polished others, and got to talk with a lot of experienced marketers and important consultants in our industry. Two of my partners were featured in an industry magazine through a relationship I developed through my committee.
You don’t realize what a big job it is co-chairing a committee like ours at a volunteer-driven professional organization until you’re in the thick of it. As our webinars generated revenue for AAM there was pressure to find the right mix of topics with speakers that could relate to our members, and who were willing to do a webinar for free. Committee members can have great influence in organizations shaping an organization. The Virtual Education committee was instrumental in making a change to our dues structure to include all AAM High webinars as part of the membership. It took a while, but we campaigned hard to make this happen.
Lauren went on to become our Executive Director, and I was lucky to gain another talented co-chair, Christine Camara, of Inside Public Accounting. In her role at the publication, she has many connections and is aware of what a variety of firms are doing. Just knowing who to call for what expertise saves a committee a lot of time, and brought us a whole new group of potential speakers. She’s a great writer, isn’t shy about asking for help, or volunteering to help. Like Lauren, I learned a lot from Chris too. You don’t survive this industry for over 20 years without making some great friends who enhance your skillset and are great sounding boards.
Just because the call to volunteer with your professional association happens at a certain time of year, doesn’t mean you can join a committee at any time. Visit the AAM committee page to learn about the many opportunities to get involved. We have a great volunteer coordinator, Brenda Sleeper, who can help you find the best committee for you. Not a member of AAM yet? Sign up for our free trial membership https://connect.accountingmarketing.org/trial-membership
About Natalie McCann
Natalie is a Marketing Strategist for Thomson Reuters’ Checkpoint Marketing. Before joining Checkpoint Marketing, Natalie spent 20 years as an in-house marketing director at a regional accounting firm in northern Ohio. She led the marketing efforts of the multi-office firm by driving development of niche practices, building highly visible event brands, and driving efforts in the areas of digital marketing. As a seasoned marketer, she now works with firms of all sizes across the country sharing content marketing best practices and strategies to impact communications, branding and business development.
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