Four reasons why you should attend professional association meetings

association meetings

As an association manager, I’m regularly coming up reasons why professionals should join their industry associations, and different ways to market and share their value propositions – and yet, there is still work to do around awareness in our own meeting planning industry!

How do you get your professional development? What networks have you joined? Is it time to start being more active in your industry’s association? Or, maybe you’ve already had a full career and it’s time to give back? Here are four reasons why you should attend more professional association meetings in 2018.

Being part of the movement

Professional association meetings are where discussion on change and strategic direction of an industry happen. Whether you’re talking about the organization itself, looking at research, or just talking about changes other planners are hoping to see in the future, this is where you can be part of the conversation and contribute to where your industry, and possibly your career, are headed.

Learning about trends and new technology

You may only have time to skim the latest and greatest of daily headlines in order to stay on top of what’s new and cool. This is where you take a deep dive! Take advantage of conference apps or planners to really think about what information you want to get out of these meetings and plan your schedule ahead of time. You may not have a lot of time to do your own research, and this is probably the best way to get things hot off the press from industry experts.

Building connections with other event planners

You never know when a competitor may come across a business opportunity that they want to pass on, and think of you to refer to – and vice versa. There is plenty of business out there for everyone, and most planners are happy to share the wealth when there’s an opportunity to do so.

Giving back

If you’re a seasoned professional, attending professional association meetings may give you the opportunity to network with old colleagues, but may not always provide the opportunity for new education. However, this is an opportunity for you to give back to the industry, help shape future professionals, and impart your knowledge onto others. In recent discussions with the CSAE Trillium Chapter Young Professionals Committee, we’ve talked at length about mentorship opportunities, and how we can support the transfer of knowledge from seasoned to young professionals, especially outside of traditional, and more confined, mentorship programs, so that this is always top of mind through interactions at these meetings.

About the author:

As Director, Association Management & Consulting Services at Redstone Agency Inc., Maddy has worked with over 20 not-for-profit organizations located in Canada and the United States as well as an international association. She is focused on ensuring her clients always receive advice based on best practices and brings a wealth of knowledge in membership engagement, CMS and website platforms, systems and processes management as well as change management. A bilingual member of the team, Maddy also has expertise in providing board and volunteer support and structuring the annual financial reporting systems of many organizations. Maddy has published articles on Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, green workplaces and taking control of workplace stress. Maddy was named a 2015 Top 40 Under 40 by the Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE Weekly. This prestigious award recognizes 40 up-and-coming association and not-for-profit professionals who demonstrate high potential for success in leadership roles and exhibit a strong commitment to the association management profession. Maddy is also the 2014 recipient of the Donna Mary Shaw Award from the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE). It is awarded to individuals in the not-for-profit sector with a passion for management and mentoring. Maddy sits on CSAE’s Young Professionals Taskforce and is currently working towards completing her CAE designation.

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