May 5, 2016

I’ve been heavily involved in supply chain and logistics associations for over a decade, giving away several hours of my precious time every month to help organize events for our members.

It is often a thankless task – many of our members don’t realize that, as volunteers, we receive no monetary rewards for the work we put into these events.

But I have discovered that the rewards of becoming involved in industry associations far outweigh the costs. When it comes to industry associations and volunteering, you really do get what you give. Here are just a few of the rewards you will gain by getting involved in industry associations at the executive level, helping to plan and organize events for the logistics community.

1 – Networking Opportunities
This is the most obvious reason for people to get involved in associations, and is usually why people attend their first few events. I frequently meet people at events who are either unemployed or looking for a change, and getting involved as part of the organizing committee is a great way to make connections that could lead to future career development.

2 – Learning Opportunities
This is the second most obvious and common reason for members to attend the events we organize. As part of the organizing team, you will get a more in-depth, behind-the-scenes view, learning more about the speakers and tour hosts than our members can expect to learn.

3 – Project Management
Developing project management experience and knowledge is a great way to advance your career in supply chain and logistics. I frequently meet fellow logistics professionals who lack the experience and sometimes simply lack the confidence to take on project management responsibilities at their workplace. Every event we organize needs a project management approach, and by taking on project management responsibilities with a volunteer-run association you will gain experience and confidence that will translate to greater success at work.

4 – Leadership Experience
Leading a team of volunteers is hard. Much harder than leading employees, so the experience you gain by leading volunteers will help tremendously with your leadership abilities in the workplace. If you work for a company with limited opportunities to assume management and supervisory responsibilities, but it’s a skillset you want to develop, take a lead role with an industry association!

All of these will lead to career advancement and a sense of personal satisfaction, knowing that you’re giving something of value to a community that you’re an important part of. I have repeatedly seen members of the organizing committee and the executive team offered promotions within their companies, or accepting bigger and better roles elsewhere. I’ve seen others start their own successful businesses, largely due to the experience gained through involvement in industry associations. I have personally experienced both of these, plus I’ve gained incredible lasting friendships that I greatly treasure.

How to get involved is another subject on its own that I’ll tackle in a separate post, but to get started, simply attend as many industry events as you can, get to know some of the organizers, and let us know you’d like to help. We’re always looking for volunteers, and any help is appreciated!

Tom Pauls is a CITT Certified Logistics Professional, and is the founder and Managing Director of SCL Search Consultants Ltd., a search firm specializing in selection and placement of Supply Chain and Logistics professionals. Tom served on the Board of Directors for the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Canada from 2010-2013 and has played an active role with the CITT Toronto Area Council since 2005. Tom is currently the Chair of the CITT Toronto Area Council.

For information on SCL Search please visit or contact Tom directly at or 905-230-7454.

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