Who are you bringing along?
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the AWTC Advance, an in-person event sponsored by AWTC, the Association Women Technology Champions. As their website states, AWTC "is a networking and educational group, providing knowledge and support to advance women in association technology." (Click here to learn more.)
I was really impressed by the program, which used an "unconference" design that uses a "loose" structure that is more focused on attendees sharing information, as opposed to someone at the front of the room talking to the attendees (i.e., traditional classroom style learning). I confess, I'm not a huge fan of unconferences, but this one was very well-executed and I suspect was well-received by all the attendees.
The leadership of the AWTC and those who organized the event are all professionals with decades of professional experience. They are all also volunteers (AWTC has no paid staff). They are offering up their time and expertise to help others (which, of course, is the stated goal of the group).
More than 25 years ago, as a fairly new membership director, I wrote an article for one of ASAE's newsletters (now long gone). Someone on my staff asked me why I volunteered to write the article and I replied "When I took this job, I spent many hours reading all kinds of articles written by other association executives. Those articles helped me do a job that I had practically no idea how to do when I took it. I felt I needed to pay that back." (Now commonly called "paying it forward.")
The AWTC conference reminded me that those of us who have been fortunate enough to have learned from others before us have an obligation to share our wisdom with others. In this season of giving, ask yourself "Who am I bringing along?"
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