I'm about to celebrate four years as an IABC member, and nearly ten years in the field of communications. That second statistics was a bit sobering, but I realize that it has really been the past five years where I have fully embraced the amazing community of communications professionals in our city and across the country.
A big part of that has to do with my involvement in IABC. Several years ago I volunteered at the Capital Awards a couple of times, and fast forward to now where I am organizing it for the third year in a row.
My first five years in communications doesn't seem as energized or exciting as the most recent five. Part of that relates to career objectives and changes – just over a year ago I started working in a dream position (that I found through the IABC Jobline), and a large part of that is everything I have gotten out of being a member of IABC.
I believe I took it for granted in my first few years as a member of different associations – a lot of thinking "what are they doing for me"? Working under an assumption that an association should come to me with opportunities was the opposite of what I live now – and that is getting out there and contributing to the associations I have joined. Through this attitude shift I have been paid back in spades.
First and foremost the people I have met throughout volunteerism and being on the board has been incredible. Just last week while attending the welcome back mixer I was able to connect with three new people all in different stages of their career, and it was so insightful. As a previous events director with IABC, a big thank you to the current director, Adriana Amelio, for putting on a great event!
I mentioned the Capital Awards – a program I am very personally and professionally proud of. The hours that go into organizing over 30 judges, over 125 entries, AND a gala can make your head spin – but again that is where an amazing group of communicators volunteer their time to help organize the event. Many of these volunteers use that experience to relay it into job opportunities. I've happily been a reference for many of them as they work to further their careers. I take that honour very seriously, to be a part of someone chasing their dreams.
I could continue to wax poetic about the opportunities IABC has granted me – but my biggest learning has been that you get out what you put into it. In honour of membership month, I encourage communications colleagues to investigate their membership, but also get involved in the many opportunities provided on local, national and international levels.