Jadine Sturgill, administrative manager
This is part one of a 2-part series on professional development based on a recent Association Chat (#assnchat).
At IMI we continue to advance our skill through professional development opportunities to be able to better serve our clients. When KiKi L’Italien hosted an Association Chat (#assnchat) on Twitter on September 23, 2014, about professional development, it was a natural progression for the IMI staff to discuss these questions together.
Q1. How important is professional development to your members and do they see it as part of your association’s role to provide it?
- Professional development is key to our members; it is important that they stay up to date with the latest developments in their field. They do look to our associations to provide professional development more and more.
- Review the results of any survey asking why people join associations and typically you will find “education and professional development” among one of the top four answers, so I would say it is extremely important to our members and they do expect the association to provide outlets for continuing their education. Also, a lot of our members work in a profession which requires continued testing and education to maintain their license and/or credentials. The opportunity to earn those credits and learn through a professional organization is one of the most important reasons to join an association.
- Our members see professional development as an important part of staying relevant in our quickly changing world – and they look to the association as a great resource for that education.
- The association is highly committed in providing programs aimed at empowering members to better serve their clients as well as teaching excellence within its industry; this is part of their mission statement.
- The association offers many professional development opportunities to members, including individual certifications, company accreditations and monthly webinars. Many members take advantage of the offerings.
Q4. What are your own expectations on professional development? What are you looking for?
- Professional development is key to staying current and up to speed in a world that moves so quickly. I personally like to learn about processes and programs that will assist with strategic and operations of the organization and personal leadership topics.
- I look for professional development opportunities which have a return on investment; opportunities which help me to be competent in my profession, which help me to stay relevant and up to date and more effective. The pace of change is probably faster than it’s ever been – and if you stand still you will get left behind.
- When I look for professional development resources, I look from a variety of angles. Can I add a new skill set? Can I go to the next level in a skill I already have? What is the information I need to make sure I am at my best for my associations?
- My belief is that one should never stop learning. I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my own abilities and knowledge in regard to my position here at IMI, including, webinars, books, courses and articles offered by AENC or similar organizations that directly affect my job responsibilities. I also enjoy learning from my colleagues here at IMI; we enjoy sharing information.
- I attend professional development conferences and webinars throughout the year to expand on my knowledge base. I always enjoy learning about the latest topics.
“At IMI we provide an education budget and encourage each staff person to pursue professional development opportunities because we recognize it is good for employee retention and staff morale, it improves efficiency and productivity, re-energizes staff and overall helps us to remain relevant as an association management company. In general, we see professional development as an investment, not an expense.”
-Linda Owens, president of IMI