Embracing Volunteer Opportunities Can Lead to Growth and Development

April 4, 2024 | By Margaret Scheiner

Two hands reaching for one another.

TAGS: best practices, career development, member voices, personal devlopment, volunteer,

Volunteering can provide an opportunity to actively benefit both yourself and your community. It is also a powerful avenue where you can step into scenarios you may not otherwise experience, pushing you at times out of your comfort zone and providing a space to learn, develop, and demonstrate your abilities. The experience gained through volunteering can translate into more effective initiatives, stronger partnerships, career progression, and more. It’s a unique blend of altruism and self-improvement, making it a deeply fulfilling pursuit.

NACE provides unique volunteering opportunities because it brings together professionals at the intersection of college education and the workforce. Volunteering within NACE connects you with members who have a shared focus on the development, support, and employment of the college-educated workforce. The exposure to a wide network of professionals dedicated to the education and employment sector provides insights and knowledge that can enhance your understanding of the broader industry landscape outside your usual focus. Volunteering with NACE offers the opportunity to contribute to this significant area, while also growing personally and professionally.

Additionally, volunteering can foster deep connections in your communities. By engaging with NACE, volunteers link arms with their national and professional communities, knowing they have shared interests with other volunteers. These relationships can open doors to new opportunities, provide invaluable mentorship, and offer perspectives that enrich your professional and personal life. Networking in such a purposeful way lays the groundwork for meaningful and enduring connections. These connections can lead to mentorship opportunities, collaborative projects, and even career advancements.

Volunteering within NACE or elsewhere can also propel you on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. As you navigate new challenges and explore diverse roles within NACE, you'll engage in deep reflection on your values, strengths, and areas for growth. This introspection can boost confidence, foster resilience, and enhance well-being.

NACE offers many ways to get involved. If you think you may be interested in volunteering, start with a moment of reflection. Consider what you're passionate about, what skills you can offer, and what you'd like to learn. Explore NACE’s current initiatives and see where your interests align. Would you be interested in a one-on-one connection through the NACE Mentor Program, or perhaps you’d like to connect more broadly with NACE and our members by leading a NACE Affinity Group. Consider sharing your expertise through an article or presentation. If you have specific tasks in mind, apply to join one of the focused committees and task forces. As you stand on the brink of this rewarding journey, remember that the path of volunteering is one of continuous learning, growth, and connection. Embrace it with optimism and enthusiasm, and let it guide you to new horizons and possibilities.

Personally, I joined the 2024 Conference Planning Committee last year to connect with the NACE community while actively supporting the development of our community. Through the Conference Planning Committee, I work with the other members and NACE staff to design the conference to engage all members, and I found a lot of value in being a part of creating such a wonderful event, knowing how important the hours I contributed reviewing submissions and forming the agenda were to representing employer members and their interests.

Although volunteering with NACE or any other organization can be a significant commitment, the rewards can be immense. It's an opportunity to enrich your life and the lives of others, all while contributing to meaningful change. Let the act of volunteering inspire you, transform you, and lead you to become the best version of yourself. Reflect on what has brought you satisfaction and fulfillment in past volunteer efforts and consider how volunteering with NACE could add value to your world.

I hope you find opportunities that speak to you as well.

Headshot of Margaret Scheiner Margaret Scheiner, Ph.D. is a functional analyst with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. She has served on the NACE 2024 Conference Planning Committee and with several NACE affinity groups. She is also involved in the National Postdoctoral Association, the Society of Women Engineers, and Tau Beta Pi.

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