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5 Things I Learned My First Year Working for an Association Management Company (That Are Making Me a Rockstar in My Career)

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Since the beginning of my working life, I’ve been on a path to better myself. Whether it be bettering my skills, bettering my abilities, or bettering my hireability. There have been a lot of jobs on my career journey, and they’ve all taught me different things. Nothing could have prepared me for what working for an Association Management Company was going to teach me.

After only a year working for an Association Management Company, not only have I learned more skills than what I’d had in my entire working career so far, I’ve also been able to refine and hone the ones I already had. From just a few months working at an Association Management Company, not only am I better as an employee and team member, I’ve developed myself into the type of professional that I’d once thought was beyond my capabilities. With an entirely new skillset under my belt, this position has empowered me to move out of my comfort zone. I’ve been able to tackle projects I never would have thought myself capable of. I have also developed the ability to step out into the professional world with the kind of confidence that I hadn’t been able to accomplish on my own before now.

Time Management

I thought I knew what time management looked like before. Now, I look at this skill with an entirely new set of eyes. I have an appreciation that I could never have had without this job. When you need to plan projects out weeks and months in advance, while still juggling your everyday tasks across multiple clients, time management moves from being a buzzword into a crucial ability in order to do your job properly.

Whether your time management skills come in the form of multiple synced calendars, alarms on your phone, or meticulously colour-coded handwritten lists (guilty), the ability to take control of your way, and your to-do list, is something that I learned extremely quickly as soon as I took up this position. It wasn’t until I’d been at Redstone a few months that I realized exactly how much of that was bleeding into my everyday life. I became more present, more prepared, and more confident in my decision-making skills. I knew exactly what needed to happen, and when. This new ability to properly manage my time in an effective manner has improved me as a person.

Website Management and Digital Presence

We all think that because we spend so much time online we’re all masters at having a digital presence. I assumed I knew what it meant to be on the internet. Who better to do it than a millennial who’s grown up online?

Within a few months of working for Redstone, I was proven so very wrong. I quickly learned that there’s a big difference between how you present yourself online, and how you represent a client. To represent someone else, you need to become a chameleon. You need to get into the headspace of who you’re speaking for, what they would want, and how they want to be seen. All the while, you’re adding your professional eye, your attention to detail, and your knowledge of the overarching industry, to provide your client something that’s above and beyond simply making a simple social media post.

After that, the knowledge becomes transferable in ways that might be surprising. From several types of databases, website back ends, and complex administrative permissions, you suddenly become a digital nomad that would never have been possible simply from clicking away on the internet on your own. Working within so many industries, you’re exposed to worlds that you may not have even known existed. And each one is a new skill that you can use to benefit the next.

Graphic Design

Graphic design was always a skill I assumed was out of my reach. “I can barely draw stick figures,” I thought to myself, “how am I going to design something that doesn’t look like a kindergartener made it?”

While this is a skill that I’ll always be developing, I still can’t believe how quickly I picked it up. Me, someone who always assumed that this ability was locked behind years of schooling, practice, or technical photo editing ability. Turns out, Redstone was willing to teach me that you can make incredible, professional graphics. With a few free programs, some patience, and incredible mentors, I was able to grasp this skill. My colleagues showed me that there is no skill that is inaccessible in this industry, so long as you have the courage to reach out and take a stab at it.

Public Speaking

Speaking in front of others is one of those hot-button topics that always seems to come up across the board; LinkedIn articles, TED talks, you name it. Everyone wants to learn how to become a better public speaker.

What if I told you I learned it effortlessly, just by working for an AMC?

From something as simple as sitting in on meetings, or as large scale as helping staff multi-layered conferences, working for Redstone has been a crash course in becoming an amazing public speaker. I’ve learned how to explain ideas and concepts in clear and concise language. More importantly, I’ve can tailor that language that is understood by my audience; whether that be a committee, a client, or simply a phone call.

It all ties into the final thing that I learned: That if you know people, really know them, then you are going to be able to communicate in effective ways that you never would have dreamed of.

Global Connections & Relationship Management

“Relationship management” is a phrase that gets tossed around a lot, and it’s one that’s hard to describe. If you’d asked me a year ago what it was, I probably wouldn’t have even been able to take a stab at defining it.

Now? Now it’s what I’ve started to live, every day. And it’s made me into the sort of professional that I never thought I could be.

There are more associations in the world than I ever realized, and now I can’t stop seeing them everywhere. Suddenly I’ve stepped into an entire world that I never knew existed. I can also navigate them with an ease I would have never predicted. I have a professional eye that has been honed and refined over the past year, with an attention to detail – and an attention to people – that I never possessed before.

Knowing these people, and knowing how they tick, has been a skill that is completely invaluable to me. These are professionals who are deeply passionate about their associations, and the work that they’re doing. They’re educated, they’re highly skilled, and most importantly: They’re people! They have interests, goals and dreams. Getting to know them has been the highlight of my year in this job and is something I cherish. Knowing who they are as people has allowed me to predict what they need professionally. I can’t wait to pursue further to see what else we can achieve together.

Wrapping It Up…

In less than a year of working for an Association Management Company I’ve grown more professionally than I was able to manage on my own in my entire career thus far. My skills are sharpening beyond anything I’ve been able to manage without the support and opportunities I’ve been provided. Everything I’m learning is new, and exciting, and most importantly, these skills are molding me into the type of professional that I never thought I could be. Where I’d once thought there were roadblocks to my goals, I now see that there’s nothing I can’t do. My marketability – and more importantly, my clients – are benefitting in a big way from it.

Looking for more information on working for an AMC, and what it’s like working for a company like Redstone? Check out some of our previous articles, highlighting exactly what it means to be a part of this world!

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