Jennifer Waller’s keynote presentation, “How To Get Your SAS On” was more than just a catchy title. The attendees at WUSS 2015 in San Diego got to learn about the benefits of giving back in their professional careers. It’s a fitting place to talk about volunteering, since user events like WUSS depend on volunteers to succeed.
If you’re part of the SAS community, you've probably heard the name Jennifer Waller. She’s presented at Southeast SAS Users Group (SESUG) events and SAS Global Forum for a number of years. But the pinnacle of her professional volunteering success is coming up with the job of conference chair at SAS Global Forum 2016.
Volunteering was something that was instilled in Waller at a very young age. “My parents have been the example for me since day one,” said Waller. “Serving was just something we did.”
Waller continued to volunteer through her career years by getting involved in the SAS Users Group community. She felt it was her mission to educate users about SAS and all it could do.
In 2000, she started her work with SESUG by stuffing conference bags, labeling envelopes and helping with the registration desk. “No task is too small,” said Waller. “You do what’s needed.”
Volunteering = Career Development
The biggest benefit of volunteering is that it allows you to learn something new. “You get to have fun, network, and meet new people,” said Waller.
Here are some other benefits of volunteering in SAS Users Groups:
- Developing new skills and competencies
- Apply your existing skills in new ways and in new environments
- Explore new career paths
- Expand your personal and professional networks
- Get on the radar of hiring professionals, giving them the opportunity to see you in action
- Give back while assessing or actively pursuing your next role
How you can get involved in SAS Users Groups
- Be available
- Be willing
- Say, “I can help”
- Start small and increase your involvement
- Session coordinator – count heads, introduce the speaker
- Be a presenter
- Section chair – help decide the conference content
In the end, you’ll get more out of volunteering than you give.
Waller concluded her presentation by saying, “You never know where volunteering will take you, who you will meet, or how it will enrich your life unless you do it!”