Getting Involved with Professional Associations
By: Benjamin Mulling, CMA, CPA.CITP
Member of IMA Young Professionals Committee and IMA Board of Directors
Chief Financial Officer, Tente Casters, Inc.
Having been a member of IMA for nearly 10 years, I've always enjoyed the activities and programs that the association offers. It wasn't until I truly got involved with IMA, however, that I really experienced all that it has to offer and realized that I could help make a difference. Having served on the IMA Young Professionals advisory committee and now IMA's Global Board of Directors, I've truly reaped the rewards of being involved with a professional association.
Among the many benefits of being involved in a professional association, such as IMA, and others, is the opportunity to network with other professionals at a variety of career levels. The knowledge shared and the stories of real-life experience are invaluable. Networking provided me with the ability to learn from others'; past successes and failures and gave me a way to better myself in my own career. There's also a bond with other volunteers that creates an environment of openness and sharing which is not always there when you simply attend events and don't get involved.
There have been several times that I have contacted a fellow volunteer to ask them for their advice or get their opinion on a particular issue. If I hadn't networked with them through my involvement in a professional association, I could not have relied on their insight, and would have had to make uninformed decisions. Sharing their wealth of knowledge truly helped me better myself from a professional standpoint and improved my decision-making skills.
Professional associations further your career by offering the opportunity to market yourself. . Working on different projects, ideas and events provides you with the ability to show people first hand your professional skills, work ethic, and personality. This can lead to an endless stream of professional references and irreplaceable and invaluable job leads.
Lastly, you can never quite explain the feeling felt when you know you have the ability to make an impact in your profession. Professional associations gives you a feeling of accomplishment and presence. Knowing that you have made a difference to the profession and the lives of other practitioners is truly rewarding.