At a recent networking event I was asked by someone to sum up in my own words why I am a member of the ASTD-Cascadia Chapter. After thinking about the question for a few moments the word community came to mind. I explained that for me the true value of membership is getting to be part of a great community of people who, like me, have a love for learning.
For the past year I have had the honor of serving as the volunteer committee chair for ASTD-Cascadia. During this time I have spoken with dozens of members and volunteers, and perhaps more than anything else, I hear that it is the connections people make that they prize above everything else. The truth is that these connections are the foundation of our Chapter and they are what make up our great community.
You may not know this but the Cascadia Chapter is almost exclusively run by a dedicated group of volunteers who each play a special role in our community. They offer their expertise, passion, and time to help us accomplish our goal of being the premier resource for workplace learning professionals. It is the contribution of these volunteers that make possible the opportunity we all have to connect and be part of such a dynamic community of learning professionals.
Not everyone needs to take on a formal volunteer role to contribute to the community - though I certainly encourage every member to consider volunteering (contributing to the community as a volunteer amplifies the membership experience). The aim is for each of us to be active members, to contribute to the community's professional expertise, and to enable us all to be capable advocates for our profession. If you are a new member, a long standing member, or somewhere in between, I challenge you to ask yourself, "What can I do to contribute and enhance the ASTD Cascadia community?"
To get you started, here are a few examples of ways you can contribute: attend programs and share your expertise during discussions times; invite a colleague to join and participate in the Chapter's shared experiences are a great way to build relationships; mentor a young professional; volunteer a few hours of your time each year at one of our programs.
I will leave you with one final thought. I have the pleasure of working for a firm that consults with a diverse group of organizations and leaders at all levels. I have seen first-hand that the value of community, connection, and contribution extends beyond the realm of learning professionals. It has significant value in the business world as well.
Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. I'm here to help you make a contribution to your professional community.