In recent years, I have seen the Alliance of Women in Workers' Compensation programs at various conferences. Their programs include the motivational, but also substantive topics of interest to managers and company principals. The Alliance was only formed in 2016, a product of a recent merger of two professional women's groups.
The Alliance mission "is to effect positive change in the workers’ compensation industry through networking, support, mentoring and collaboration." That is broad and inclusive. In pursuit of that, the Alliance seeks to "engage, enrich, explore, encounter, examine, and empower." There is further explanation of each of these on the website.
In 2018, the Alliance produced a half-day educational program within the Workers' Compensation Institute program in Orlando. This was a substantive program focused on "understanding and ownership of business financials." The Alliance noted that "possessing financial acumen is an area of need for both women and men for career advancement." It therefore brought an "award-winning personal finance journalist and author" to the largest workers' compensation conference in the nation to discuss these key topics. I am told that the Alliance will return to WCI360 in 2019 with another compelling program.
The point is apparent, but too often missed or forgotten. We are each responsible for our personal professional growth. Through our education and experience, we bring value to those who consume our services. This is true whether we are a state employee, private industry employee, or a business owner. Whether we provide services as a consultant, doctor, lawyer, marketer, accountant, or otherwise, we must each deliver value; that is the foundation of our business relationships with others. And, to deliver value, we must persistently and consistently improve and expand our personal experiences and education.
As I contemplate the mission of the Alliance, I am reminded of a couple of quotes. For whatever reason, quotes and lyrics seem to resonate with me and they stick in my brain. Often, I remember them in bits and parts, but my old ally the Internet quickly helps me recall them. One of my favorites is Carol Burnett, an incredible American actor and comedian. She once noted: "only I can change my life, no one can do it for me." Similarly, but more focused on others, Mahatma Ghandi said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
From Carol Burnett, we get that our future and our lives are in our own hands. We decide that we can and will do things that afford us growth. In that regard the Alliance events are positive. They afford the opportunity for substantive personal growth. The chance to hear a dynamic, national speaker provide advice on our understanding of financial management is a prime example. The Alliance provides these opportunities in a manner that relates to workers' compensation, but which is frankly broader. The growth and education in this setting, such as financial acumen, might as easily be used by professionals in almost any industry.
From Mahatma Ghandi, we get that we and our community can change our surroundings. It is through our individual, personal, and perhaps perceived inconsequential behavior that we can change and benefit our industry, our work environment, and our professional world in its broadest sense. Through our personal behavior, we benefit the whole through service and through encouraging others to likewise serve. Thus, through our effort to improve ourselves, as Carol Burnett suggests, we change the world around us as Ghandi advocated.
There is a limit to how many seminars one can attend. Every day I am not at my desk, the inbox continues to fill. Our professional lives are busy, complicated, and too often congested. But, the majority of our professional lives is spent in the delivery of our particular service or value. We owe it to our employers to consistently deliver the services for which we were hired. However, we owe it to ourselves individually, we owe it to our community or industry, to stop periodically and either hone our existing tools or acquire new tools. Through these brief pauses, we improve ourselves and our ability to deliver for others.
In that regard, the Alliance of Women is a positive force. Certainly, it is not the only such force, but it is my focus today. Through its efforts, the efforts of organizations like the Workers' Compensation Institute, and your participation, you can build your repertoire of knowledge, skills, and value. Through such experiences, you can grow. For as William S. Burroughs noted, “when you stop growing you start dying.” We should all take these sentiments to heart, continue to grow and expand our horizons. It is worthwhile for each of us, and it benefits our entire industry, our world. That may come from travelling to seminars or programs, reading books and articles, or even attending webinars. (Shameless plug here, The Hot Seat is addressing benefit sufficiency in workers' compensation in March).
What are you doing to hone and develop your skills? Are you striving to surround yourself with people that will lift you up?Engage with organizations and events that deliver value to you. Expand your knowledge, experience, and engagement. This is how you grow, and growing is really the whole point. It benefits you personally, your current employer or clients, increases your value in your next professional undertaking, and helps improve our industry and world.
Remember, no one can do it for you. It is something you have to decide to do yourself. If you have the opportunity to attend a Women's Alliance program, or to otherwise engage with this incredible group of leaders, I recommend it. If you read something that provides you benefit, send it to others in your professional circle. If certain programming inspires or benefits you, seek more like it. As we engage, we grow. That benefits us all.