Throughout the travels in my AITP career, hundreds of times I've heard the words "I'm just a member, how can I do more in AITP"? Each time I remind the person that each of the hundreds of leaders in AITP is "Just a Member". The opportunities are truly endless, and I'll outline the various methods here.
The first entry point is usually a leadership role in a local chapter. Chapters are sub-units of the Association, and are locally operated, organized, and managed by the members that attend in a local area. Chapter members either volunteer, or are voluntold for a leadership position. Volunteers are usually warmly welcomed into the fold and are encouraged to pick an area of interest and work with the chapter leaders in areas of program development, membership, student chapter liaisons, community involvement, public relations, mentoring, or Region liaisons. Members that are more shy or are having trouble volunteering, are recruited by leaders to fill positions in the chapter that need some work. Leaders receive a number of benefits for stepping up to these positions including additional training, Individual Performance Award points, local recognition, and hands-on experience in working with a team of people to run an organization. If you're looking to contact your chapter leaders, visit your chapter page on the AITP.org website. Chapter leaders have a monthly opportunity to meet via teleconference to share experiences and ask questions of each other, and the Association leadership.
There are a number of national committees that are always looking for some additional members. These committees appeal to a wide variety of talents, and include efforts involving newsletters, leader recruitment, websites, ethics, legislations, awards, students, leadership, marketing, public relations, and more. Members at all levels are welcome in these committees, and this is a great place to learn more about a particular topic, or where you can share your talents with others in the organization. More information regarding the committees can be found at the AITP Governance Page. National committee members receive points towards their Individual Performance Awards, and receive national recognition and exposure. Committees meet via teleconference, or through e-mail conversations.
Once a chapter leader has walked through a number of leadership roles in a chapter, the lure of a Region office is the next step on the AITP ladder. The regions of AITP are generally defined by geographical areas . Each chapter can select the region they would like to belong to. Regions are a sanctioned sub-unit of AITP whose main purpose is to assist chapters in growing their organizations. Region leaders put on training events for their chapters at annual region conferences. These conferences vary by area, and usually include training for chapter leaders or programing contests for the student members. If you're looking to contact your region leaders, visit your region page on the AITP.org website. Region leaders meet annually at one of the Association Board meeting sites, and talk among themselves in monthly phone conferences.
AITP also has a special interest group for educators, who works tirelessly to advance the science of teaching the future generation of IT workers. This group is known as EDSIG. In addition to running a very successful annual conference, ISECON, this group publishes a number of journals in both the physical and virtual genre. Members can join this group as they renew each year, and more information can be found at the EDSIG group page.
The Association is governed at the national level by 8 directors that are chosen from the four geographical districts of AITP, North, South, East and West, and by a President, Executive Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Immediate Past President. This group meet twice a year, once in the spring, and once in the fall. Monthly this group meets via teleconference to handle the business of the organization. The main goal of this group is to create a vision and work plan that sets the budget goals for the entire national organization. Any member of the organization can be elected to a position of director. You can contact the members of this group by visiting the Board of Directors page at the AITP Board of Directors page.
The Executive committee consists of the President, Executive Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Immediate Past President. The members of this group are the actual officers of the corporation, and are responsible for managing the daily operation of the organization. members who have been either Region leaders, or Association District Directors are eligible to run for these offices. You can contact the members of this group by visiting the Board of Directors page.
The bottom line is that no matter what your skill level, or your ambition, there's a place for you in the AITP leadership chain. Since the organization is run by volunteer leaders, the pay (or lack thereof) is the same for each level. Chapter leaders are usually elected at the end of each year, and early fall is a good time to start asking to be involved at the chapter level. Typically chapter leaders can step up at any time and a chapter should be able to find a spot for a willing volunteer. National committee members are accepted at any time throughout the year, and are encouraged to step forward as time allows. Regions typically elect their leaders each fall, for a calendar term. Let your region leaders know if you're interested in helping at that level. National Association offices are elected for calendar year terms, and District Recruitment committees work to provide a slate of candidates by the first of June, each year. Let your Region leaders know if you are interested in one of the National positions.