Chapter Corner

The Real IEC

Posted in: July 2014

In early June, I had the privilege to speak to one of IEC's Forum Groups in San Antonio, Texas. The IEC Forum Groups are essentially peer groups of members who meet a few times each year to collaborate on ideas and advice each other on ways to improve their business. The groups include high-level employees, often owners, who share company information with one another for the others to review and critique.

The specific group I spoke to was Forum Group #11. The core of this group dates all the way back to 1999, making it one of the oldest IEC Forum Groups. Some of the companies are on their second generation of participants, which illustrates the sustaining impact of the peer interaction.

At a dinner on the first night of the meeting, the family atmosphere was immediately apparent. The discussions of personal and professional life intertwined seamlessly - I felt like I was back at my parent's house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thanksgiving.

At one point during the three-hour session, the group and I discussed the topic of identifying leaders within a company. The conversation was fast paced with so much good information being tossed around that I regretted not recording it. 

I sat back in my chair and thought to myself, "This is IEC." Meetings like this are exactly what IEC was founded on. The sharing of information was phenomenal, and the members listened intently to the new ideas. There was never a time when a person was defensive or unreceptive. All participants reflected on the ideas presented by their peers and thought of ways to apply them to their business.

There are many benefits of being a member of IEC - the top-notch Apprentice Training Program, the many classes the chapters offer, the national advocacy efforts, and much more. There are many places you can see IEC at work; I was fortunate to have a front-row seat of IEC in action. For more information about IEC Forums, please contact my colleague Tim Welsh, Senior Vice President of Meetings & Member Services, at twelsh@ieci.org. 

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