ASQ members receive many membership benefits and a multitude of services, much of which are provided by its over 2,000 member leaders (aka volunteers). The entirety of ASQ’s board of directors, operating committees and councils, journal and publication boards, standards committees, 27 technical divisions, and approximately 230 sections (local chapters) are solely composed of and operated by member leaders. These dedicated and selfless members are the primarily reason why the society is able to fulfill its mission of: empowering individuals and communities of the world to achieve excellence through quality.

ASQ helps quality professionals and practitioners advance their knowledge and careers through publications, conferences, education courses, and certifications on a global scale. The dedicated member leaders, who are located throughout the world, make much of this happen by contributing countless hours planning member meetings, organizing conferences, managing web sites and social media, writing magazine articles, and communicating directly via newsletters, email, and postcards.

But why do these member leaders dedicate their precious personal time to serve? There are many reasons; these include giving back to the profession, the ability to share their knowledge, the opportunity to get published, earning recertification units, comradery, networking, the chance to develop and hone leadership skills, and for some, simply for fun and enjoyment.

Many member leaders find the true value of their membership dues is obtained through the ability to serve. The payback is ten-fold. ASQ provides them a safe space to develop their public speaking, presentation, writing and leadership skills. Member leaders have the opportunity to work with six-figure budgets, practice how to efficiently run meetings, develop marketing skills, learn how to manage people, become proficient in developing and deploying strategic plans and much more.

At the macro level, ASQ member leaders are responsible for primarily providing these five things: networking opportunities, improving operations, communication, educational opportunities, and recognition. This is simply known as NICER.

Member leaders have the opportunity to work with six-figure budgets, practice how to efficiently run meetings, develop marketing skills, learn how to manage people, become proficient in developing and deploying strategic plans and much more.

Networking abounds within ASQ. ASQ conferences, especially the World Conference on Quality and Improvement, are formatted so that attendees are provided ample opportunities to meet and mingle with like-minded professionals. ASQ’s educational offerings and local ASQ dinner meetings also provide networking opportunities. However, the best way to expand one’s professional network is via volunteer service because it provides the chance to work on both short and long-term committees, project teams, etc.

Improvement is synonymous to quality. Continual improvement is embedded in the DNA of quality professionals so member leaders inherently improve the offerings they are charged to provide. Sections and divisions enhance the ASQ membership experience by continually expanding upon the services delivered. And member leaders are able to improve themselves via the skills they develop through their service.

Communication is the primary deliverable member leaders need to provide. Not much is worse than belonging to an organization that does not communicate with its members. ASQ members who are not contacted regularly won’t be enticed to renew their membership, therefore member leaders utilize email, newsletters, magazines and direct mail to actively communicate. They also passively communicate via websites and social media. Most importantly, in order not to inundate people with information, ASQ members are able to select for themselves the amount of communication they wish to receive.

Education is typically why most people join ASQ. Often people join the society to attend a conference, prepare for a certification exam, attend a training course or simply take advantage of member discounts for books, publications and exam fees. Member leaders develop much of the curriculum for courses provided by ASQ, as well as conducting the actual course instruction. Many ASQ technical divisions and some sections host conferences and provide training courses and webinars. Sections provide local dinner meetings that include presentations on relevant quality related topics and some coordinate tours of nearby businesses.

Recognition is often overlooked but extremely important to the quality profession. ASQ offers 15 awards and medals focused on different areas of quality. Some are given for meritorious service, other for distinguished career or specialty contributions, and some for written works relating to quality subject matter. Some ASQ technical divisions provide recognition opportunities for its members, such as the Inspection Division’s International Inspector of the Year. Some sections and many divisions have established awards to recognize the service of their member leaders. In addition, ASQ has 34 Honorary members and offers Fellow membership to those representing the highest level of the quality profession.

If you have any interest in being NICER, reach out to any of the member leaders in your local section or technical divisions; they surely can use your help. And you in turn will be able to leverage your newly developed skills and expanded network to improve yourself and enhance your career.