STEP UP: NCMA Chapter Leadership Opportunities

By Daniel Forbes

President, NCMA North Texas Chapter

Just like the seasons change in a repetitive pattern, so too does the life of your local NCMA Chapter.  This time of year, your local NCMA chapters are on the downhill slide to their final scheduled meetings for the year in the next few months.  All the planning, details, scheduling will have been completed for this program year. A key aspect of this time of year is that your local NCMA chapter leadership should be now soliciting candidates for NCMA chapter board elections for the next program year.  If you’ve been active your local chapter, you will no doubt have heard pitches, seen emails, received flyers, and even a personal call from a board member, encouraging you to consider board membership on your local NCMA chapter for the next year. Now is the time and you should consider board membership for a number of reasons:

Development of Leadership skills

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. - John F. Kennedy -

I firmly believe the best way to learn leadership is to do leadership by taking on challenges and responsibilities when the opportunity rises.  Like riding a bike, or developing any other skill, leadership requires not just study, but doing. Getting into the thick of things, dealing with challenges and opportunities, and setting a course all requires the exercise of leadership skills. Your local NCMA chapter provides a safe environment to begin developing these skills. And these leadership skills you hone on your local NCMA chapter helps to set the stage for future opportunities, both professionally and personally.  Good people are capable of impressive results when they are provided a leader with a clear vision of where the want to take an organization. You can be that leader. 

Broaden Professional Network

Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for.”- Christine Comaford-Lynch-

Career guidance professionals generally encourage employees to develop professional networks both to foster career growth and enhance career satisfaction. Internal networks, such as Raytheon’s Employee Resource Groups, help to develop and grow your internal professional network.  It is just as important to develop professional contacts outside your company.  Serving on a local NCMA chapter board helps to grow that aspect of your external professional network.  Serving on a NCMA chapter board monthly with other motivated individuals, outside the company, gives you perspective, builds camaraderie, and rapport.  And you never know where such contacts might lead. Therefore, serving on your local NCMA Chapter board should be looked at as part of your ongoing career development program.

Learn New Skills

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”
- Anthony J. D'Angelo -

The Contracts / Supply Chain environments are dynamic and constantly evolving, particularly in the federal domain space.  Keeping aware of current trends, staying abreast of new changes in Government procurement, and learning best practices are the hallmark of a professional.  Your local NCMA chapter offers the opportunity not only to learn from thought leaders, but as a board member, to engage with them in a way that is more meaningful than simply listening to them at a dinner meeting.  As an NCMA chapter board member, you have the unique opportunity to influence the nature of the learning opportunities, meet offline with the potential speakers and deeply explore the topics they will present, help to shape the message being given, and be more engaged in the learning process.  And you get all this learning opportunity for the low cost of a few hours of your time each month serving your your local NCMA chapter board.

These are just a few benefits to serving on your local NCMA chapter board.  Certainly there are headwinds that might push against your serving on a local NCMA Chapter board:  lack of time, newness to the field, awkwardness in stepping into a leadership role, etc.  But the rewards, of which I can personally speak, are worth much more than the trivial costs. A year from now, if you don’t do anything different, what changes can you expect in your career? You may well be astonished after one year serving on a local NCMA chapter board the leadership skills you may have gained, the new professional network you may have established, and the new skills you may have learned! So, when you see the requests by your local NCMA chapter board for volunteers, set up, be counted, and serve!