Boomers benefit from joining pro-fessional associations. Experienced workers are finding opportunities to network, mentor and advance their own careers. David Miller, R.N., M.S.Ed., B.S.N., C.D.E., is Diabetes Care Coordinator at Com-munity Health Network. He credits membership in the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) for personal development opportunities. “I have had media training through AADE that has helped me at work talking with physicians and patients,” says Miller, who served in local and national roles. He explained that because of membership in AADE, he can easily discuss innovation and best practices with diabetes educators across the country, thus benefiting patients.

As a procurement and supply chain professional, Jaye Gaddis values the corporate membership Rolls-Royce invested in with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). As a Strategic Buyer, Global Repair Services for the jet engine manufacturer, Gaddis appreciates the development opportunities.

“It is important for me to bring knowledge from ISM back to the organization,” says Gaddis. In ad-dition to webinars and programs at the annual conference, Gaddis also attends professional development meetings locally.

Many professional organizations offer a certification indicating mastery of a body of knowledge important to the field and continuing education to maintain the credential. According to a survey of human resource professionals, certifications are highly valued and make the difference between job applicants. As long-time members of their professional associations, Miller and Gaddis have seen the changes in certification to stay relevant with professional changes. “Over the years, I have found ISM providing more global focus which is important in my role,” says Gaddis. According to Miller, AADE has embraced technology as it transforms the lives of people with diabetes.

Professional societies have dif-ferent types of memberships to reflect changing work situations. AHIMA, the association for health information professionals, includes memberships for students, new graduates, active members, corporate memberships and emeritus for AHIMA members 65 and over. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) offers two programs for members who need assistance to pay their chapter and national dues. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a one-time opportu-nity for unemployed active members to extend their membership an additional year for free. Many professional associations have affiliates in Central Indiana.

Miller and Gaddis are focused on furthering their respective fields and mentoring the next generation of professionals. Gaddis uses
leadership skills she’s learned volunteering as a board member with ISM-Central Indiana. She co-founded an employee resource group for mid-to-late career professionals at Rolls-Royce. “In a technology business like aerospace, it is important to prepare for the future,” explained Gaddis. Similarly, after Miller served as president of AADE Indiana he continues roles as co-editor, auditor and faculty member for the national organization.

Boomers juggle many responsibilities. However, joining a professional organization is worth the investment and time. It is an opportunity to make valuable professional contacts and participate in lifelong learning.

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