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Thank you, AMWA Rocky Mountain Chapter!

Last month, I officially announced my intention to step down as Programming Director for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

I made this decision because I will be relocating to Portugal at the end of this year. And while I plan to continue to be an AMWA member, being based in Europe will prevent me from organizing events due to the distance. Even online events could become a challenge due to the 7-hour difference between the US Mountain Time Zone and Western European Time.

The AMWA Rocky Mountain Chapter is the regional division for members who live in the states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, even though we have also welcomed members from Idaho and Montana!

I started in this volunteer role over a year ago, and my first two attempts at organizing in-person events were a complete failure:

  • In October last year, I organized a hike for the chapter members in the Salt Lake City area, but nobody showed up.

  • Later, I tried to get people together for a coffee hour but ended up canceling due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.

Fortunately, in January of this year, I made that networking event happen via Zoom thanks to Tiffany Yesavage, PhD, who also served as Programming Director for the Denver area.

Before Tiffany moved on to the secretary role, she helped me find a speaker (Namrata Sengupta, Ph.D.) for a webinar about what it means to be a science communicator.

Since that educational event in late March worked, I organized another one in early June. This time, Vicky Sherwood, PhD, spoke about the different types of medical writers.

Finally, in early November, the chapter had its first in-person event since last fall in Denver, coinciding with the 2022 AMWA Annual Conference. It was a dinner that I helped organize, and it was a wonderful experience because I met the other board members and the chapter members who attended.

“Toni, you always advise newbies not to work for free. Isn’t volunteering free work? Why did you take on this role if it didn’t pay?”

I could write another post about why volunteering is beneficial, but since I do not want to make this post longer, I want to conclude by saying that I support volunteering because it helps:

  • Build interpersonal skills

  • Establish new contacts

  • Grow professionally

  • Stay up-to-date

Many professional associations, including AMWA, rely on volunteers to help not just members but also the industry they are a part of.

We all win when we give back, and I am grateful to have been given a chance to serve one of the professional associations I am a member of.

Do you volunteer for a professional association? If so, in which capacity? Have you considered volunteering?


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