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Just Say “Yes”

By Mary Sood

“I’m not a joiner.”

I’ve heard this comment from several individuals who routinely reject offers to join organizations. Unlike some of us, who weigh the pros and cons of membership before determining whether or not to say “yes,” non-joiners just say “no.” Unfortunately, though their perpetually wide open schedules may leave them with plenty of time for Netflix, they miss out on the many tangible benefits of membership.

As an active member of the American Advertising Federation Tuscaloosa, I know first-hand how invaluable a club membership can be. AAFT’s luncheon presentations, workshops and conferences provide me with countless opportunities to network, serve, lead and learn. Through AAFT, I have chaired committees that have made a difference in our community, and won regional and national awards. Highlights of my AAFT experience include dynamic conferences in Anaheim, California, and New Orleans, Louisiana; fun on the greens at the annual Joel A. Mask Golf Classic; annual scholarship presentations that impact future generations; and the always awesome American Advertising Awards Ceremony. Even the smaller perks of membership are noteworthy – discounts from many businesses; an e-news service that delivers the most essential advertising news of the day; and access to the AAF Job Bank.

Given the many ways that joining AAFT has benefited me, I wanted to know how other active members felt about their AAFT experience. So I asked former AAFT President Adam Miller and AAFT Treasurer Patricia Cade for their opinions.

Miller says he has found his AAFT membership to be extremely rewarding.  “I have made some amazing friends, both here in Tuscaloosa and across AAF’s District 7.  Our members genuinely care about each other and go out of their way to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and support each other during difficult times.  Professionally, AAF Tuscaloosa has given me the opportunity to give back to the advertising industry and to make connections with colleagues across a wide spectrum of industries and professions.  I’ve learned from our meetings, events, and conferences, and I’ve been given the chance to be a servant-leader on the board of directors.  What you get back from membership in AAF Tuscaloosa is invaluable in so many ways!”

Cade agrees, saying, “The relationships I have built while in AAFT are a great asset to me personally and professionally.  Working in healthcare requires a diverse skill set. The relationships I have built have provided me with a wealth of skills that can help to better fulfill my job functions and at the same time enhance my personal knowledge of the latest trends in marketing and advertising.”

As AAFT’s 2017-2018 Vice President of Membership, I am particularly excited about promoting the benefits of joining our club. I could share dozens of testimonials from other members who, like Miller and Cade, love AAFT. But I also encourage individuals in industries unrelated to advertising to consider joining organizations related to their professions.

While non-joiners might attempt to stay up to date on industry changes and trends by perusing newsletters or business books, reading is no substitute for the stimulating exchange of ideas that can take place when you are a part of a strong, dynamic organization. So if you are a “non-joiner,” consider shedding that label.

Just say “yes,” because the pros are so much greater than the cons.