INTA’s members are the Association’s lifeblood, and there are opportunities for everyone to get involved, as Peg Reardon, INTA’s Director, Membership, tells Peter Scott.
A decade ago, approximately 60 percent of INTA members were based in the United States. Today, the reverse is true, and members hail from around the world, testament not only to an increase in membership in general, but also to a strategic effort on the part of the Association to widen its reach and impact.
For Peg Reardon, INTA’s Director, Membership, the numbers reflect positively on the Association’s efforts to demonstrate to organizations and individuals worldwide the benefits of being part of an association.
Of course, those benefits include “business relationships, advocacy efforts, content, and education,” Ms. Reardon says, but there’s more to it than that. “The most valuable thing members receive is access to all of our resources, in terms of both people and tools,” she declares. This includes a network of subject matter experts and knowledgeable staff, as well as guides, databases, and information that can save members time and money.
As a 13-year veteran of the Association, Ms. Reardon knows better than most what drives members not just to join but to make the most of their membership. Last year, INTA launched its “Belonging to INTA Means …” campaign, as an interactive way for members to articulate what membership means to them.
While the Annual Meeting provides a valuable opportunity for members to engage with each other and with the Association itself, there are countless other opportunities throughout the year.
The campaign allows the Association to gain additional insights into what drives them to join or renew their membership annually, and helps INTA determine what is important to membership.
“The initiative evokes the sense of community our members so often talk about,” she says. “The thing I hear most often from members is the lifelong friends they’ve made at INTA—friends who have helped them when needed—professionally and even personally.”
Fostering Member Engagement
While the Annual Meeting provides a valuable opportunity for members to engage with each other and with the Association itself, there are countless other opportunities throughout the year, whether at regional conferences or events, or through participation in INTA committees.
Ms. Reardon says that INTA’s “success is directly related to the efforts of our member volunteers,” and that committee participation is something all members should consider.
This year, the application process to join committees opens on June 10, and runs through July 12, with the new two-year terms starting on January 1, 2020. Ms. Reardon advises prospective committee members to complete their online application and provide their first and second committee choices, but also to select the “any committee” box on the application in order to give themselves the best chance of being placed.
In practice, a committee might collaborate on papers, reports, and surveys; contribute to online databases, searchable guides, and newsletters; or even initiate program topics and deliver sessions at INTA’s meetings and conferences.
Ms. Reardon advises all members to read the mission statements for the different committees they are applying for “to appreciate the deliverables, commitment, and scope of work.”
While INTA certainly benefits from the work of its member committees, joining one also provides volunteers with opportunities for professional development.
“Being on a committee allows you to develop your public speaking, writing, and leadership skills, as well as broaden your regional or global perspectives,” Ms. Reardon says. It can also mean learning how to lead or manage a team for the first time for those members who may not have these opportunities at their workplace.
INTA is fortunate in that it often has more applicants for committees than spots available, so placement on a committee is not guaranteed. The size structure not only allows the Association to ensure the efficient operation of committees, but also to provide overall satisfaction to members during their tenure on them.
In addition to serving on a committee, other important engagement activities include hosting a roundtable or reception, speaking at a meeting, writing an article for the INTA Bulletin or The Trademark Reporter, or participating in a delegation or idea exchange.
With INTA continuing to expand its global presence, the 2020 Annual Meeting in Singapore will provide another opportunity for widening membership.
“We focus on corporate member growth specifically on new unique members who have never interacted with us or attended a meeting,” she says.
INTA’s representative offices and HQ staff play a large role in the recruitment process, in identifying potential organizations, setting up meetings, and showcasing the Association through regional events, roundtables, and delegations as well as demonstrating how impactful INTA is with policy makers in each of the regions.
More immediately, the focus is on this year’s Annual Meeting. For Ms. Reardon, it really is all about member engagement. “I love when we open Annual Meeting registration the first day,” she says. “It’s so lovely to see so many of our members face to face and to catch up with them when they arrive for their badges.”
Belonging to INTA Means …
What does belonging to INTA mean to you? Be sure to stop by and share your impressions on the message board in the Annual Meeting registration area. Also, feel free to post your thoughts—using the hashtag #INTA2019—on INTA’s social media channels!
Membership, business relationships, advocacy efforts, conferences, committees, report, policy makers, global presence, social media, hashtag