I’ve had an amazing first year in the "real" world. But I realize that I’m still quite green. I have a lot to learn about my chosen career field, as well as what it takes to build a successful career in general.
I also know I’m not the only young professional to worry whether I’m qualified to be on the board of a professional association. However, when the opportunity to serve as Newsletter Chair for the board of the Kansas City Data-Driven Marketing Association (KCDMA) came about, I took the leap.
Now that I’m a few months in, I feel silly for worrying so much. I’ve been having a fantastic time, and have especially enjoyed the opportunities to expand my circle, plan programming, and draft content for the association.
So without further ado, here are the reasons I think you, young professional or mid-career individual, ought to join the board of a professional association.
You will learn about your surrounding community. I’ve learned a lot about the marketing/communications community in Kansas City since joining a board, and have been pleasantly surprised to find so much collaboration and mentoring amongst professionals at a variety of companies and agencies. (I’ve also learned that Tannin in the Crossroads District has a wine club… I didn’t say all knowledge was marketing-related).
You will help to enrich the association. It feels great to know your efforts are helping an association you're passionate about. Using your skills to help the association accomplish its goals is the best way to be of service.
You will gain new knowledge. Being on a board allows you to take risks and try on different hats. If you’ve wanted to learn about a certain area (event planning, fundraising, managing a website), joining a board is the perfect way to dip your toes in and find out what it’s really like.
You will make new friends and connections. I’ve gotten to know some incredible people who have similar interests and goals ever since I joined the board of the KCDMA. But honestly, I had trouble forming these relationships when I was only attending lunch-and-learns once a month.
One of the most amazing things about being a board member for a professional association has been the opportunity to have fun, and continue expanding my post-college group of friends and mentors. And friends and mentors just make life better.