The True Value of ASID Membership
In an era where many organizations are seeing a decline in membership I thought I would address the value I have gained through my membership in ASID. We are all different – which is what makes life more interesting – but I happen to thoroughly enjoy networking and interacting with people so when I join a group I get involved. Joining a professional organization can offer benefits such as group discounts, including your membership on marketing materials, etc. but is that really worth the monetary investment? There are so many additional benefits if you are willing to become more involved.
When I first completed design school my mentor strongly encouraged me to join ASID and to get involved in our local chapter – so I did. Within a few years I definitely appreciated the value of that involvement. I learned from other designers in our chapter, I expanded my external team as I met fabric reps, window treatment workrooms, architects, painters, etc. I also had a built-in referral group when I needed a recommendation for a particular type of vendor, workroom, etc. I started to get more involved, first through committees and then as a board member.
It was also through that involvement that, with two other ASID designers, we formed a design group – separate businesses but connecting offices sharing resources, a library, conference room, and often collaborating on jobs.
Then I was given the opportunity to get involved nationally, and the networking and leadership training continued to expand. At the time I got involved ASID was the leader in the area of education for designers. They had just started a business leadership program which, though designed to educate and encourage leadership within ASID, actually provided great leadership and business skills to apply in our design businesses.
My involvement nationally led to wonderful friendships with those in the design industry all over the county – friendships that have continued over the years. Those friendships led to establishing an interior design seminar business that included other designers across the country as well as speaking engagements at conferences and events countrywide, which is how I first met Gail Doby! Those friendships also have been invaluable when I had design jobs in other parts of the country and needed local connections for workrooms, etc. Those friends have been roommates at conferences and other events as well as people with whom I gather and reconnect at those same conferences and events. They can offer a source when looking for additions to your team – whether virtual or local and can provide a wonderful “sounding board” during business challenges.
Finally, when I moved across the country about 18 months ago I already had friends within a few hours in every direction. It was through one of those friends that I found my real estate agent here. Then while I was considering this move, I found out a design friend had just moved here and lives around the corner!
If you are willing to get involved, you may be pleasantly surprised at the “return on your investment”.