Member participation and service to the Chapter. There, I said it. At the Chapter Board meetings we are always thinking about ways to get you more involved with the Chapter. And why not? It is our desire that you take advantage of every opportunity you have in the field of radio frequency engineering. These opportunities sometimes occur when you least expect it, or perhaps they are scheduled at inconvenient times. Usually, it takes a little extra effort on your part to bring yourself to the opportunity.
I’ll give you an example. Although not yet a member at the time, I first started attending SBE Chapter 16 meetings in 1999 at the Swedish Club in Seattle. I could not attend monthly like I wanted, my reasons were not having a car, or I was working odd hours. With every meeting that I was able to attend, I learned a little more about broadcasting and got to know more of my colleagues in this business. As I review the Chapter newsletters of the past (the yellow paper copy of the Waveguide), I see that there were also many good meetings that I unfortunately missed. I can only guess how much I could have advanced my knowledge if I had just tried a little harder to get to those meetings.
Is just coming to the meetings enough for Member participation? Only you can answer that question. For those just looking for a nice resume highlight, I think that prospective employers or business client would desire to ask how much you participated with the organization. Perhaps they will be more inquisitive, after they have read my article here. And why would you not want to demonstrate how you have benefited by being a member and how that sets you apart from others who have not? Additionally, not only does your presence at the meetings indicate your willingness to participate, but it lets the other members get to know you, and vice versa. Without this member network, future opportunities cannot be present themselves.
I encourage you to find a way to attend the monthly Chapter meetings to build your knowledge of broadcasting and to get to know other members. You may one day find yourself working alongside one of us at a station or transmitter, or like myself as the future Chairman of the Chapter. I guarantee that having this experience of who works in our field, learning from their expertise, and realizing how the Chapter helps its Members will benefit you greatly. If you need to ask for time away from work, then do it. Maybe your employer can pay you while you are educating yourself to become a more informed employee. I can tell you that this is not the norm, but I can also tell you that it doesn’t hurt to ask. Additionally, if you feel that a meeting in another location or at another time or having a program with a certain subject can benefit you and/or other Members, then let us (the Chapter Board) know and we will try to accommodate the need.
For increased participation, there are other ways to get more involved than just attending the monthly meetings. The Board is always looking for assistance to fulfill certain needs. At the last Board meeting, I asked if anyone wanted to join the Nominations & Elections Committee for the upcoming Chapter election in June. Allow me to now put this question to the membership at large. Volunteers are currently being sought. One member has agreed to assist, and two more are needed. Shoot me an email [firstname.lastname@example.org] and I’ll give you a job description for this committee that pops up every year and only lasts for three months. Also, the Board is considering reopening the Membership Committee to help establish better communications for our members. This position will last for the duration of the Board term (1 year). Both of these opportunities can provide an excellent idea of how the Society of Broadcast Engineers functions. Last but certainly not least, come to a Board meeting to find out if you would enjoy our company and participate in the Chapter even more.
Sometimes the skills or knowledge that you can gain are unknown at the time you a participating in the Chapter. Not knowing what the future brings can produce hesitation. That’s why I believe you have to force yourself to go into new territory with a willingness to learn. As the saying goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. It is not always immediately clear what you can discover. However one thing is certain: with the act of putting yourself into the mix, you can and will provide an increased satisfaction in your career as well in your life. This satisfaction can extend far beyond the present and into areas you thought that you’d never find yourself.
There is so much that we can learn from each other, so let’s not miss another opportunity to do so. In the end, all of us will be enriched by your participation. Finally, do you know of others who can benefit from being a Member of Chapter 16? Invite them to a Chapter meeting. We’ll take care of the rest to let them know how they can join.
Thanks for your help! See you at the next meeting.