Membership Development is such a vague yet important topic. As the Vice President of Membership Development for the University Program Board, my job is to make this topic less vague and more understanding for all the 180 members in our organization. In my opinion, membership development is the idea that everyone in an organization gets an opportunity to learn and do more in order to further develop his or her skills, not only for the organization but also outside the organization as well. I differentiate the terms membership development and professional development. Membership development is the idea of giving members the opportunity to learn and grow, which will help them advance within the organization. Professional development is something that members can take from their experience and apply to different aspects and events in life to help them further learn and develop.
In order to successfully develop the members in the organization, I have to help provide as many opportunities for the members as possible. These could range from workshops to presenting about our organization at different conferences. The more exposure you provide your members with, the more they learn and grow. The Vice President of Membership Development is a relatively new position. It is only 3 years old, so the position is still evolving and our coordinator and graduate assistant are still trying to create guidelines of what needs to be accomplished and most importantly, how I go about achieving them. In order to create guidelines for professional development, my graduate assistant and I decided to brainstorm and jot down different ideas, theories, and events in order to provide exposure to our members. Some of our ideas include presenting and conducting different workshops. Some of the topics we brainstormed were: learning the basics of Photoshop and getting a speaker from the Finance Department at JMU to provide some relevant financial information that would help the students not only now, but also in the future. We are also planning on an all members’ retreat, which is focused on providing members with different opportunities to advance and further develop. Regardless of how much gets done this year, this position will continue to evolve and continue to do more in order make this organization even better than it already is.
-Marc Fernandes, Vice President of Professional Development