Membership Is Only the Start of Your Professional Development

If you don’t know me personally, you won’t know that I’m a big reader. While I enjoy the escapism of fiction, reading has created a compulsion to be a lifelong learner. Whether this means adding new words to my vocabulary, different perspectives, and experiences, or concepts of creating good connections with the people around me, it all comes back to wanting to learn. In a professional context, learning has come in the form of professional development opportunities and the ability to network with what seems like an unlimited number of people with their own ideas and experiences. My hope for our Members is that they find the same inspiration in our Chamber community and prioritize their learning and professional development as much as they should. 

As you wrap up your January to-dos of budgeting and business goal setting, I invite you to ask yourself how you’re investing in your own learning and professional development this year. I’ve included a few prompts below for you to marinate on, write about, and look back on or save for later.

What does professional development mean to me?

I will provide you with the definition of professional development and then give you my interpretation of the concept to guide what it may mean to you.

Professional development is gaining new skills through continuing education and career training after entering the workforce. It can include taking classes or workshops, attending professional or industry conferences, or earning a certificate to expand your knowledge in your chosen field.

While all of this is true and beneficial to your learning, my belief is that professional development goes beyond this and should include making mistakes, making genuine connections with colleagues, and establishing yourself as the unique individual you are. After all, nobody makes a difference by sticking to the status quo.

How am I engaging with like-minded individuals and what can I learn from them?

As a Member of the NACC, you gain access to all of our Members. One conversation with someone you don’t know can lead to learning something new, a new person to bounce ideas off or a sense of belonging when you find something in common. My advice is to show up for these conversations to happen. You never know who you’re going to meet! 

How can I tap into the Chamber to create meaningful connections that contribute to my professional development?

Thankfully, the Chamber has several opportunities to choose from throughout the year. I encourage you to stay updated on our Programs and Events Calendar and make it a point to participate in things you may have otherwise overlooked. In February, we have Small Business Owners Roundtable, Ribbon Cuttings, Business Power Hour, and Business After Hours that are included in your Membership and provide you with a great opportunity to make those connections.

If you’re looking to make an investment, Leadership Institute is a great resource for learning new skills and propelling your professional development forward this year.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your Membership as your renewal comes around, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Maddie Smith. See you around!

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