On occasion, I am asked, "How do practitioners get elected to the Professional Certification Board?" or "How can I become a member of the Board of Directors?" My advice: Get involved, do everything to the best of your ability, and before you know it, you will have established a professional reputation and network that will serve you well throughout your career. I have found that once you get involved, whether at the local, national, or international level, people in the association will get to know who you are and what you do—and will be willing to refer you to both professional opportunities and leadership roles within ASIS.
In the 1990s, I was an active member of the Los Angeles Chapter, serving as secretary and treasurer and helping arrange guest speakers. My first opportunity to serve at the national level was with the Professional Certification Board (PCB). Rich Michau, CPP, who went on to president of the PCB, became aware of a security survey I had conducted, was impressed, and invited me to interview for the PCB. Six years of service there was followed by two years as chair of the Commercial Real Estate Council, and ultimately led to an opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors.
Maximizing your membership involvement is integral to building your network. It is also necessary for developing business relationships that extend beyond the exchange of business cards. As you attend chapter periodic meetings, become active on a committee, or take on a leadership role, you’ll forge lasting ties with others who have common professional interests and similar business concerns. Your professional network will be a rich, ongoing source of inspiration and ideas. After all, by definition, when you have a network, it involves relationships with mutual benefits. For example, if you need to ask about employment opportunities in your line of work and you've established a relationship with an executive recruiter, your answer is only one person away. If the recruiter has a question about business practices in your current position, he/she can contact you.
Getting started is easy. Each year, ASIS holds an array of events – from chapter meetings to classroom programs to local and regional conferences, to our flagship event, the annual Seminar and Exhibits. Participating in such programs provides ways to grow your personal network and expand your professional competency. Whether it’s sharing ideas, seeking advice, volunteering as a speaker, or serving on a program or steering committee, opportunities do exist. And along the way, you will keep updated about breaking news in our profession, learn "best practices" or new ideas, hear from key achievers in our field, and meet and brainstorm with others looking to share and learn new information.
Have you considered joining our LinkedIn forums? These are useful vehicles to build your professional reputation. Our group, as well as the diverse range of subgroups (including women in security, young professionals, and CPP, PCI, and PSP certification study groups), provides a sounding board of peers and an opportunity to make friends with people of similar interests. Additional opportunities include writing for Security Management, joining one of our 29 niche industry councils, or serving on a standards and guidelines committee.
ASIS is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers willing to dedicate their time and expertise. Whether it’s serving as a presenter for your local chapter or at an ASIS classroom program or conference, there are many pathways to share interests and skills that will benefit the profession. In addition, the skills you acquire and relationships you develop along the way will be valuable assets in all your dealings, both professional and personal.