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Making an Impact Through Industry Associations

There are many associations within the wedding and event industry, each with a unique set of values and benefits that come with membership. Most provide educational resources, networking opportunities, and a chance to engage with like-minded individuals and build professional partnerships. Simply put, association groups are formed to build a community.

However, being an active member isn’t just about signing up, paying your dues, and showing up to a few meetings when your schedule allows. If you want to make the most of your membership, you should be going above and beyond the basic expectations and strive to become a valued asset within the community.

Here are a few ways to create a name for yourself within an association and use your strengths to make a difference for the group as a whole.

Get involved with events

Most association chapters host regularly scheduled programming for their members, from educational luncheons to evening networking events. These provide an excellent opportunity for members to meet others in their market and build relationships that can lead to advantageous business partnerships. However, attending is only the first step to making the most of these programs.

Next time, reach out to the chairperson or board member in charge of events and programming to offer your own services or products. Consider contributing catered meals, photography, design services, or marketing promos — whatever your craft may be, find a way to offer it up for free. This can give you a great platform to showcase your work and promote your brand, while also getting brownie points from the chapter’s leadership.

Join a committee or two

Signing up for a committee is a commitment; you must be prepared to set aside time and energy to fulfill your committee responsibilities. However, it’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the association and strengthen your relationships with other industry professionals. Choose a committee that suits your strengths and your schedule or try something new altogether! Perhaps you want to help grow the chapter by joining the membership committee or maybe you want a direct hand at choosing speakers with the education committee.

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need to be very experienced to sign up for a committee. In fact, when I first joined an association in 2005, I signed up for every single committee they had to offer! Was it a lot of work? Sure. However, the lifelong friendships and exciting career opportunities that came out of that simple decision was well worth the effort — even 15 years later!

Climb the ladder

There are many opportunities for growth within an association chapter, from committee chairs to the president’s seat itself. There are many responsibilities that come with a leadership position, but it’s an extremely rewarding experience that is worth pursuing if you have the time.

As a leading member, you get to make decisions about the future of the group and the type of educational content that your members can access. Being a leader in any capacity certainly isn’t a cake walk, so be prepared for extra work. In times of crisis, you will be looked to for guidance and you need to be ready to adapt and respond to all types of situations.

You don’t need to be a national speaker or earning seven digits to make an impact in your association. As long as you have good intentions and a commitment to supporting others, you’re already well on your way to becoming an influential member that can grow your chapter as a whole.

 

Jennifer Taylor is the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined workflows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development. She is also the owner, and founder of Taylor’d Event Group, a leading event planning company that serves local and destination clients in Washington State and Maui, HI.

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