By Cindy Anderson, Director of Preconstruction, and Jackie Pascale, Marketing Manager
Cindy Anderson and Jackie Pascale are both heavily involved in professional organizations within our industry. Together, they’ve teamed up to share their own personal experiences and value they’ve gained out of their affiliation with their groups.
If you’ve ever considered, but ultimately decided not to, join a professional organization or association, what exactly stopped you? Maybe it was the additional time commitment. Or the financial responsibility of membership dues. Whatever your reason not to join a professional organization, the benefits of these groups can far outweigh any perceived negatives. Here are 3 ways participating in a professional association can help you grow not only in your career, but in your personal life as well.
Instant Support System
Earlier in my career, I moved to Orlando to work with our Florida division. I didn’t know anybody down there except for my new colleagues. It was actually a vendor who told me about NAWIC — the National Association of Women in Construction. I wasn’t familiar with the organization at that time, but it turned out Orlando had the second largest chapter in the country. By joining that group, I really did find a family outside of Hoar. Whether you’re new to a city or just looking for comradery in your industry, it’s so nice to be surrounded by people who understand what you go through every day at work and can share their experiences, lessons learned, and just be a support group. – Cindy Anderson
It can be intimidating to be a woman in this male-dominated industry. That’s why I think it’s so important to build your own support system of female colleagues who are in a similar position as you and understand what it’s like to work in this field. I joined SMPS, the Society for Marketing Professional Services, five years ago. The organization is specifically for marketing and business professionals working in the A/E/C industry. There are a lot of women in the group who work in male dominated fields but are also are marketers like me — so it’s a great opportunity to build community and share experiences. – Jackie Pascale
Exposure to New Experiences and Skills
My favorite thing about being in SMPS is the opportunity for learning and development. I attend multiple conferences, seminars, and learning sessions a year where I listen to experts in our field teach new skills or speak on changes happening in our industry. I’m able to take that new knowledge and apply it to my own work and also share it with my colleagues. – Jackie Pascale
Here in Nashville, I’m a member of the AEC Power Women group. Several times a year, we meet as a group to hold panel discussions, learning sessions, or jobsite tours. In fact, Hoar hosted the group when our Capitol View project was under construction. Our owner spoke to the group, and our superintendents guided us through the project, answering questions and explaining our progress along the way. I’ve had the opportunity to tour many exciting projects around town that our members, whether from different general contractors, engineering companies, or architecture firms, are working on — jobs I would never have had the opportunity to tour if I wasn’t involved in this group. – Cindy Anderson
Impact on the Community
Our company is already committed to stewardship and community service, so I’m fortunate to have opportunities to volunteer several times a month across different organizations in our industry. But being involved in a professional agency is an opportunity to serve our community and our industry. Our organization sponsors and puts on events that benefit groups that inspire and support people to pursue a career in construction, engineering, or design. – Jackie Pascale
What Jackie said actually reminds me of a competition that each NAWIC chapter sponsors throughout the country — Block Kids competition. I have been fortunate to serve on the Block Kids committee as well as serve as a judge for the competition. It’s a LEGO® building competition for children in grades K-6 that aims to introduce children to the construction industry and help promote the many opportunities and careers in our industry. It’s so rewarding to not only work with children, but to actually help inspire the next generation of builders. Every professional organization I’ve been involved with has been great about finding causes that help improve our communities and our industry. – Cindy Anderson
There are so many professional organizations you can join that can add value to your career, offer personal development, and the opportunity to serve your community and industry. This site is a good resource and a great first step towards finding the group that’s right for you.