Associations are a Win-Win Proposition

November 19, 2014

STLE is fortunate to have the support and involvement of more than 180 corporate members from around the world. That’s particularly evident at this time of year when companies encourage their people to attend our annual meeting and when they exhibit at the trade show or sponsor events.

While the specific benefits vary from company to company, there are several common threads when it comes to the value of participation in groups like STLE. Recently, Joe Clayton, president of STLE Corporate Member Sea-Land Chemical Co., did a magnificent job of citing the reasons why his company, and presumably many others, regards STLE as a valuable investment.

In Sea-Land’s monthly newsletter, Clayton acknowledges that while associations are a great place to make business contacts and prospect, there’s more to be gained by looking at the bigger picture.

“If you go there just to take, you’re going to walk away feeling empty and unfulfilled,” he says. “You can leverage your membership to prospect, but you can also serve your profession and fellow professionals by sharing your time and talents.”

Clayton goes on to cite three reasons why his company supports organizations and encourages employees to be involved.

Reason No. 1 relates to the collective power of associations. “These organizations gather us together so we can accomplish things that, alone, none of us could do. They provide a strong lobbying presence, provide members with regulatory information and educational programs and help elevate the professionalism and awareness of our industry,” according to Clayton.

The second point is equally compelling but from a professional development standpoint. “Every one of us has something to share with our peers,” Clayton writes. “As you serve the organization, you also benefit personally. You’ll gain new leadership skills, learn how to work with others and refine your problem-solving skills.” In other words, STLE is a place to grow as a professional, both in terms of technical knowledge and business savvy.

Finally, there’s the fact that people often say that coming to an STLE meeting is almost like attending a class reunion. “Personally, I’ve always looked at professional organizations as a chance to serve my profession and have some fun doing so. I’ve made some incredible friends throughout the years, and those friendships have enriched my personal and professional life,” he concludes.

The only thing left to say about these points is, “I could not have said it better myself!” And Joe takes his own advice—he serves as one of TLT’s technical editors, the team of people who think up the ideas that eventually are turned into magazine articles. You can read the full version of the Sea-Land newsletter column on the STLE Website (

Although there’s nothing to add to Joe’s remarks, I do want to emphasize that STLE is a welcoming place for all those who want to participate and contribute. This is an organization with a rich history of volunteerism and one that is willing and ready to allow people to make an immediate impact.

A great way to learn more about available opportunities at the local and national levels is by going to the Volunteer Opportunities portion of our Website at

If you’d like to explore the possibilities by speaking with an STLE staff member, please stop by the Membership Booth during this month’s STLE annual meeting in Detroit, May 5-9.