Thought Leadership: What Does it Mean to be a Member?

Kelly Allen

Humans are hard-wired to belong. We seek out others who share our hobbies, our faiths, and our struggles. Our professional lives are no different.  Everyone wants to work someplace where they feel like an important part of the company; a contributing member of the team.

At an industry level, belonging is also important. Professional groups need spaces to come together with other people who are creating and innovating and dealing with the same challenges. These collaborations forge a path forward in the baking industry.

That’s why membership in a trade association is essential to the health of your career and the health of the industry as a whole. We’re simply better together. Gathering with peers at conferences and other industry events to work together advances the industry at a quicker pace than any of us could individually.


Membership Benefits

Being a member of a trade organization like BEMA provides plenty of benefits including access to industry events and educational opportunities.

“The most forthright advantage you can get from membership (available to all) is to use the available resources they offer,” says Eric Cruse, BEMA member and VP of Commercial Operations for ProMach Packaging Systems. “BEMA Intel, BEMA-U, and scholarship opportunities are available to help grow your business, develop your personnel or extend your marketing reach.”

“These useful tools have allowed me to anticipate changes in an ever-evolving business landscape, allowing me to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry and thereby increasing sales. BEMA U provided the opportunity to train my customer facing team through a tailored educational program. I have also gained insight and strategic advantages by being at the right industry events for our markets such as IBIE, iba, NEUXS and others around the world.”


Active Membership

Active involvement is how members really experience what a trade association like BEMA can offer. Networking events organized by associations serve as platforms for members to connect with colleagues, exchange ideas, and explore potential collaborations. By just showing up, members can forge valuable relationships that may lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, or career advancements.

Furthermore, networking within the association creates a supportive environment where individuals can seek advice, share experiences, and offer mentorship to others, fostering a culture of mutual growth and development.

Being an active and engaged member of a trade association involves more than just paying dues; it requires commitment, participation, and contribution to the association’s activities and initiatives. By willingly networking, engaging in educational opportunities, and volunteering your time on committees, members not only benefit personally but also contribute to the advancement and prosperity of our industry.

Ultimately, meaningful engagement in a trade association fosters a sense of belonging, promotes professional growth, and drives positive change within the industry.

“Being an active member of BEMA is a smart choice to make as it is advantageous both professionally and personally,” continues Cruse. “What does it mean to be an active and engaged member? In its simplest form, it means showing up to the events, participating in discussions, and offering insight and feedback on your areas of expertise.”

When members intently engage with a trade association and the opportunities offered, it increases their sense of connection with their colleagues and with the broader purpose of the industry.

“The real advantage is achieved through participation and is delivered through participation,” Cruse says. “Participation in BEMA instantly provides connections. These connections allow you to explore your business from different viewpoints and to gain varying perspectives of your market. The sharing of perspectives and experiences starts to build business relationships among other active members, and those relationships develop into friendships and respected colleagues. BEMA is unique in that it offers its membership a variety of outreach opportunities in the industry to create relationships that will ultimately grow you and your business.”

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