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Career Growth Through Volunteering

By Neil Bazley, IIBA Deputy Vice President, Chapters

If you are looking for a way to grow in your career as a business analyst and a professional, there are quite a few opportunities for you. From formal training, to being mentored by a senior co-worker, to the wealth of information available on the Internet, the choices would seem almost unlimited. From my personal experience though, there are few opportunities that provide both the growth and the potential to contribute to the BA community as there are in volunteering for your local IIBA® chapter.

As a local chapter President, I was infamous for identifying potential chapter volunteers by asking “What's your passion?” and finding opportunities for business analysts to contribute to their local community. The other question I often asked was “Is there any way that you want to grow in your career?” Often there was a BA who wanted to get involved in the chapter in some way, but felt that they weren't a senior resource and that they couldn't add anything of substance, or a BA who had a particular passion and wanted to lead in an effort that would help the chapter and the profession grow.  It was very satisfying as a chapter leader to watch as a BA who wanted to work on their facilitation skills, requirements gathering, process development or public speaking was growing their skills while adding to the value we were bringing to the local BA community through our initiatives and their effort.

Many people are hesitant to contact their local chapter about volunteering for numerous reasons: they might not know of, or see volunteering opportunities in the chapter, or feel they can't contribute at the level that might be needed, either because of time constraints or a perceived lack of skill. To them I would say that in my experience, I have never known a chapter to turn away a volunteer because there were too many for what needed to be done or because a person didn't have the perfect skill set. In all probability, once you let it be known that you have a desire to help, you're going to have many opportunities, both to grow your skills and to grow your professional network.

As a final note, your local chapter isn't the only place to volunteer. IIBA has many open opportunities.  On our Chapter Council alone, there are opportunities for chapter mentors, chapter kit contributors, assisting with our regional forums and many other ways to contribute. If you would like to volunteer for the Chapters portfolio, think of this as an open invitation to send me an email at neil.bazley@iiba.org

Just be prepared to hear at least one of these two questions; “What's your passion?” and “Is there any way you want to grow in your career?”