How to Make the Most of Your Membership
As the membership marketing specialist at AIHA, I have learned a lot about our members, and the more I’ve heard from you, the clearer it’s become to me that the members who actively engage, connect, and strive for growth are the ones who make the most of membership. Unfortunately, members who don’t network, get involved, or take advantage of professional development opportunities usually don’t find membership valuable and choose not to renew.
AIHA Past President John Henshaw, CIH, FAIHA, a member since 1974, says about membership that the “comradery, experience, and relationships we've built over the years are important to me, and I feel comfortable in this community." Seasoned professionals like John value the relationships they’ve developed along with the experiences and perspectives they gain from those interactions.
But it can be difficult for students and early-career professionals to make good use of the networking opportunities available to them through AIHA. That’s why, if you’re introverted and need a push to network, AIHA’s online community Catalyst is the perfect place to start. Find the communities and discussions that interest you and begin the dialogue. Over time, you will naturally develop relationships and contacts.
If you’re ready for face-to-face networking, Christine Hoehn, CIH, an AIHA member since 2004, recommends joining one or more of AIHA’s many local sections, student local sections, and volunteer groups. “There are a lot of opportunities out there,” Hoehn says. “You just have to show up, introduce yourself, ask questions, and just be friendly."
Our student members also value the importance of engagement. Jacob Shedd, a member since 2017 and a PhD candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, offers the following advice for making the most of membership: “Getting involved with AIHA as early as possible is the way you can maximize your benefits of membership. I've been involved pretty much since my first year as an IH student."
Chris Laszcz-Davis, MS, CIH, COH, FAIHA, AIC Fellow and a member since 1975, is a great example of the value of engagement. Her career has involved many leadership positions within AIHA, including a local section presidency, a term as chair of the Local Sections Council, and service on the AIHA Board of Directors and as president of the Academy of Industrial Hygiene. “I ultimately became a Board Director for every single IH organization that we have,” Laszcz-Davis said. “And the reason I did that is its powerful networking, its friendship, its collegiality. And it opens up a lot of doors that you just wouldn't have otherwise. IH is a wonderful launchpad."
With membership renewals about to begin in the next few weeks, I’d like to thank you for being a part of AIHA, being involved in volunteer groups and local sections, attending AIHce EXP 2019 in Minneapolis, writing for The Synergist and JOEH, registering to be a mentor, and having discussions on Catalyst. Through your involvement, AIHA has been able to accomplish so much over this past year. More exciting networking possibilities are on the horizon with the planned introduction of a new AIHA mobile app next year. By accessing Catalyst through the app, networking and engagement will literally be at your fingertips.
Continue to make strides with us by renewing your membership early. New this year is the option to set up your membership renewal on auto-payment by visiting your member dashboard in the Member Center, clicking on “Add/Edit Your Payment Options,” and then clicking on “Add Payment.” You’ll have one less thing to worry about as the end of the year approaches.
For more information on how to engage with AIHA, visit our Get Involved page.
Gouhar Nayeem is AIHA’s membership marketing specialist.