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It's all about getting involved.

What does it mean to be a professional, to be part of a network of people who, collectively, establish the protocols and standards that define a profession?

To me, it means more than just picking up a paycheque and sending in my annual membership dues. I have to be active, make a contribution, give back. And I can only do that by getting involved.

Even the smallest action can make a difference: join a committee; volunteer to help plan a workshop or conference; contribute something meaningful to the professional literature; share something distinctive you've done by giving a presentation; become a mentor; contact your legislators when an issue you care about is on the table; participate in discussion groups, both virtual and non-virtual - these are only a few of the ways you can participate in the profession.

You'll get more back than you give - professional and personal growth, recognition from your peers, a promotion, personal satisfaction, a network of colleagues you can call upon for help and advice - and you'll be setting a good example for all those who come after you.

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