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Professional organizations for the admin–is it worth it to belong?

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in Admin Pro Forum

Question: "I’m wondering if it’s worth it to join some professional organizations that relate to my job, or if it’ll just result in more emails and news of events I can’t attend. In general, is there real use in being a part of groups like these?"  – Melissa L.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

DeeCee May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Yes, an organization geared toward you and your profession can be extremely helpful. I joined IAAP in 2003. I attended meetings but had no plans to get involved. Over the years I have made many friendships, attended many beneficial educational meetings/programs, and have grown personally. I am now almost to the end of my year as President of our Chapter. I also gave a 1 hour presentation this year on Public Speaking Skills that earned a recertification point. I would never have seen myself doing that all those years ago when I first joined.
I am very fortunate that my firm pays for my dues, my meals, and usually my extra meeting costs. Being active in IAAP is part of my annual review, and my employers appreciate the effect my involvement in IAAP has made.
You can try to encourage your employers to pay for your dues, or at least part of your costs. Show them brochures about the group and explain the advantages of membership. They may decline, but if you keep suggesting it, the idea may start to sink in. Good luck.

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g May 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I would say it depends. I wasn’t a part of any until last year (I only recieved newletters, training, etc. from either free or paid subscriptions). I’m now a member of the AEAP. It’s not bad (my boss pays and we paid for the cheapest subscription only due to budget). However I can’t afford any of the trainings and there is a forum to ask questions to (but it’s frustrating when you put a question on there and you don’t get any replies). You get discounts on other services too but none have been worth it to me yet. So not sure if I’m going to renew with them.

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Ava May 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

By all means join a professional organization! While they are not “free”, you will learn things that will upgrade you professionally and personally. Like anything – you get out of it what you put into it. So, if you join, don’t be afraid to try a committee. I know within my own IAAP chapter that I learned leadership, time management skills and public speaking skills. I was so shy when I first joined the chapter. They really helped me build the confidence and professionalism that I have today. I couldn’t have done that without them! Chapters build people up, not tear them down. So, while in a local chapter it’s good to practice skills like public speaking and leadership. Then, put those skills to good use in the real business world.

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Sharon May 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Would like to – but are any of them free? I have $0.

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Kim McCartney August 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Sharon – ASAP is a free organization and has many great benefits including free webinars and member materials.

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g August 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

What does ASAP stand for? So when I’m looking it up. My subscription is about to end on the one I have and not sure my boss is going to let me renew.

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Patty May 25, 2012 at 8:23 am

I am a past member of the IAAP, which is a great organization to belong to, as you can see from the comments above. Our local president had been trying to recruit me for many years and when I finally joined, I was sorry I hadn’t done it sooner.

As stated above, the networking opportunities are numerous. The seminars are always geared to the administrative professional. In my local chapter, we have a luncheon with a speaker and workshops for IAAP day in April. Those alone are worthwhile.

And, once I joined, I was invited to speak at one of our monthly meetings. When asked the topic, I suggested networking and it was well very well attended and received.

So, to answer your question, Melissa, it is well worth joining a professional organization, geared to the admin.

Good luck in your endeavours.

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Patty May 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

Darn, I hate when I make typos. I meant to say, it was very well attended, not well very well. Also, the other comments have posted below mine, not above.

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Jane May 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I also am a member of IAAP, and have been since 2005. In 2005, I could not imagine being President, and now I was just vote as President of our Chapter. I have made wonderful friends, have learned so much, and have grown in my professionalism and knowlege. My boss pays my dues, and encourages me to attend workshops and seminars. No matter what you do, you will get something out of it, if you are willing to give of yourself and get involved. I feel sorry for those ladies whose names are on the rolls, but have yet to attend a meeting or a get together or workshop. This year our chapter offered 6 recertification points. The cost was for $10 which at each meeting included dinner and a speaker. What a bargain!

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Roz Carter May 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Every job has limitations, I have been a member of several organizations depending on my job. Whether private or public industry, it is extremely helpful to be a part of professional organizations to enhance job performance. The best organization that builds professional and personal growth is Toastmasters International. I joined a Toastmasters club at my job and it’s better than any staff development program. Find a club in your area at http://www.toastmasters.org.

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Jasmine Freeman May 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

It certainly can be well worth it. However, be cautioned that you will only grow by putting an effort in personally. As with any program or workshop you attend as well. It’s up to you to get involved and to take action on what you learn to prove you are learning and applying the new information.

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Liz Dorgan, CAP-OM May 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Absolutely! You need to research the groups that are out there and pick the right one for you. I did and after all was said and done, I became a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals and am the current President for my local Chapter. The leadership skills I have gained have proven to be a great catalyst for greater responsibilties at my organization – more than others before me had. I am the EA to the CEO and also support the Board of Directors and both are very supportive of my involvement in IAAP.Not only do I learn from others but membership helps me stay one step ahead of the technology game that changes almost weekly (if not daily). Pick the right group for you and you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Karen Loughman May 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I belong to the International Association of Administrative Professionals. It is a very good organization, and more than worthwhile! We have an educational program every month, there are networking opportunities, I learn from the other members, and the more active I became, the more useful the organization became to my professional development. They publish a magazine monthly and you can participate in their web communities that can connect you to other admins around the world. Of course, like any organization, if your don’t participate, you won’t get much out of it.

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Robin L. Robertson May 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I belong to the IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) also and I wholeheartedly agree with Wanda. Along with the seminars and workshops, there is a lot of networking. I find the IAAP helps me grow professionally. My employer pays my membership dues and conferences I attend. I was just elected Treasurer of my chapter which thrilled my employer. Professional and business growth is never out of style and it could certainly pad one’s resume. I believe belonging to a professional association can never hurt but always help.

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Karen May 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I belong to two professional associations. One supports administravie professionals, and the other event planning professionals. Both associations have and continue to be invaluable to me, although you get out of it what you put in. I’ve learned quite a bit from attending the monthly programs and conferences. It’s also an excellent opportunity to grow your leadership skills. I currently serve, and have served in the past on the board in various positions for one of my associations. My advise is to attend a few meetings before committing to any professional group.

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Joyce May 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

If you pick the right one, I’d say yes. It gives you professional development opportunities. Keeps you informed on changes that may be happening that could affect or help in your position. It also gives you an opportunity to network, find good people for your company (thereby making you shine), or get leads on jobs that may not yet be advertised. I’ve gotten scoops on what other companies or executives are really about from other members–finding a gem or saving you the headache of working for a monster for self and/or friends. I invited an executive and his AA to a special event; and he made contacts/friends with AAs of other executives he wanted to do business with. I earned his appreciation, and that of his assistant’s.

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Laurie Thompson May 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Absolutely. The benefits of belonging to a reputable organization are numerous. Not only can you network with peers, you position yourself to learn and grow beyond your comfort zone. I believe the true label of a leader is his/her relationship building skills. Networking can also aid you in solving issues- giving you insight and results that you may not have considered.

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Wanda May 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I’ve been a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) since 2004. This is a great organization that provides professional development seminars and workshops. The individual chapters have speakers at the monthly meetings which range from professional development to fun topics. IAAP allows for networking with others in the same profession. Our chapter has community service projects along with fun things to do. The once a month meeting is geared toward administrative professionals and our development. There are state division conferences as well as an international conference held in a different location each year. My employer pays for my membership and some of the conferences I attend. It is well worth the time and money spent.

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Lisa May 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I believe the primary reason that people belong to professional organizations is to share information / ideas and learn new trends. It also looks good on their resume!

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