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Making the Most of Our Industry's Association Memberships

One of my life long joys has been attending and being involved in a number of industry associations. It’s not only the camaraderie felt by meeting people from all over the world that is so fulfilling during and after the conferences, but also the life long friends and relationships that I've formed over the years. In being a member of a number ofl associations I have also been, and still am, involved on several boards, committees, panels, and groups that shape and support each association on various levels.

Let me take a moment to outline what I feel are the benefits of joining and being involved in our industry associations:
  • Networking opportunities — It should be obvious that when you join a professional organization, you are giving yourself the opportunity to deepen existing business relationships and forge new contacts on a regular basis. Such networking goes beyond the exchange of business cards. As you attend periodic meetings, become active on a committee or take a prominent leadership role, you’ll forge lasting ties with others who have common professional interests and similar business concerns. These relationships will be a rich, ongoing source of inspiration and ideas.
  • Education — Our industry associations offer their members the chance to update their professional knowledge through seminars, workshops, break-out sessions at conferences, and online courses. Typical subject matter can run the gamut from changes in bankruptcy laws to trends in technology, in which members are asked to present on topics sharing their experience and expertise.
  • Support system — When you’re facing a challenging situation in your business, it can be enormously helpful and reassuring to know that you have relationships with people to whom you can turn for answers, suggestions and support in the face of difficult circumstances.
  • Political clout — The credit and collection industry, with its tens of thousands of professionals in a wide variety of organizations, can and should muster its political presence to influence legislation and regulations that will support the healthy growth and prosperity of our industry.
  • Civic leadership — When our professional associations are active in civic and philanthropic ventures, each of us can become involved in many worthwhile projects. Giving back to our communities not only reflects very positively on our industry (which can often be viewed negatively), but it actually brings about significant benefits to those who are greatly in need.
So if you are only a member in name, or not a member at all, joining any one of the more well known professional associations below will no doubt be very beneficial for your own professional development and the future of your business.

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