To everything, there is a season. As we enter the last two months of 2019, now is the season to think about new goals and opportunities for 2020. I hope you will set a goal to volunteer for MLA and take advantage of the opportunity to get involved in your professional organization.
Here are the top five reasons you should volunteer.
#5: Win friends!
- My MLA committee and jury service has expanded my network of “frolleagues” exponentially. You will meet new people while serving MLA—many of whom will become valued colleagues and treasured friends. I cannot count the number of times I have reached out to my MLA friends to get advice, get help with a tricky problem, or just to check in on how things are going.
#4: Influence people!
- As past-President Beverly Murphy, AHIP, FMLA, says: “WE are MLA!” Do not miss the opportunity to help guide your professional organization through your committee and jury service. Your voice counts! Plus, if you have ever wondered how people get onto the Board of Directors, we all started with committee and jury service and then kept going from there.
- Increase your influence at work! Your professional service can help show your value and expertise to your institution. I have often used my MLA service to help justify attending the annual meeting to my supervisors. Most committees do not require travel, but since many get together at the annual meeting, it is a great way to establish a reason to attend.
#3: Earn points toward membership in the Academy of Health Information Professionals points—and my eternal gratitude!
- If you plan to apply for academy membership, then MLA committee service is one of the ways to earn coveted academy membership points. In fact, one of the committees you can serve on after you earn your academy membership is the MLA Credentialing Committee.
- Plus, haven’t you always wanted an MLA president to owe you one?
#2: Learn about your professional organization.
- Volunteering for an MLA committee is one of the best ways to learn more about MLA, MLA’s organizational structure, and how things work. Every committee, jury, task force, and working group (as well as our communities and individual members) is an essential piece of MLA’s structure.
- If you are new, committee work can help you learn about the functions of MLA. I highly recommend you go to the MLA Committees, Awards and Honors, and Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships pages on MLANET to learn about the options that you have to volunteer.
#1: You are needed! Volunteers are the lifeblood of any professional organization.
- MLA needs volunteers each year for over 60 committees. This requires service from almost 600 volunteers! Last year, the call from current MLA President Julia Esparza, AHIP, for volunteers generated 237 applications. Every single person who applied was offered a volunteer spot.
Here’s how it works:
The application form is available on MLANET November 7 through December 16. We will also announce committee applications in MLAConnect and display a banner on the home page of MLANET. The application will ask you to indicate your areas of interest, your competencies and experience, and your preferred time commitment.
Once the application period ends, committee chairs and chair-designates will work with their MLA staff liaisons to review applications and make recommendations. As president-elect, I will review their recommendations and the applications to make a final determination. You will get a letter in March inviting you to serve. If you agree to serve (and I hope you will!), you will officially start that service in June.
Submit your application today! MLA needs you, and I am counting on your help. All of you are what make MLA great! Thank you for your service and engagement.