With our ANI just around the corner, I started thinking about the sense of belonging. For many of our members and exhibitors, coming to the ANI is an annual event. They are comfortable seeing many old friends they’ve met over the years.
We laugh that often the first thing someone says when they see you at a conference is, “when did you get in?” Greeting people you haven’t seen in a while is a great feeling of connection. But there are many people who come to the ANI as newcomers both attendees and exhibitors. They may not be involved locally in their chapters and may not have these connections. We need to be aware of this at every meeting and be sure to be welcoming. We offer special ribbons and a special first timer/new member reception to help break the ice. I always look for people standing by themselves and introduce myself to them and to others nearby from their area, chapter or the board. People need to feel a sense of belonging in order to find meaning and satisfaction in joining an organization. It’s a two way relationship too. AAHAM is known for its value in the industry and our members truly make us what we are. There is great networking and camaraderie that takes place between members and the ANI is just one example of these opportunities.
Did you know studies indicate that 85% of business failures occur when firms are not members of their industry trade association? I think the same can be true of individuals. There are many benefits that are offered though belonging to associations such as AAHAM, continuing education and certification, educational webinars, the opportunities to meet with and learn from your peers, conferences, publications, and much more. But it takes showing up and getting involved with association activities that really makes the difference.
There are problems facing our industry today that illustrate the importance of AAHAM on a national level. These problems affect every member no matter how large or small. No one individual could possibly solve these problems alone and yet our industry’s association offers the collective wisdom, bargaining power and strength that help us make a case. Having a chance to influence legislation is a great benefit of belonging to AAHAM. There is a tremendous sense of pride held by AAHAM members and someone attending ANI quickly has a sense of this.
We all at our national headquarters look forward to seeing our old friends and making new one ones at the upcoming ANI. We hope you will say hello.