Over the last several months, I’ve spent my share of time trying new services and using the ones I have (Anyone with new movie recommendations?). I enjoy the benefits of belonging. It’s the reason why people are members of fitness clubs, discount warehouse stores, streaming video services or learning sites.

Over the years I’ve been asked why I belong to IABC. I’d say without hesitation it’s the knowledge and experiences I gain that help make me a better communication professional. However, it’s not one thing; it’s several things.

I feel like I have a better skillset and am more prepared to be a valued member of any organization that I work with.

For instance, I benefit from both the giving and receiving end of the mentoring program. Professional development events give me new things to think about and fresh approaches to try. I’ve learned how to be a nimble communicator through our Independent Communicators’ Roundtable. I enjoy the lively conversation in the CuppaCOMMS group that meets together over coffee and pastries on Saturdays. Networking 9 is a fascinating evening of dinner conversation with insightful discussion topics about the profession.

On top of all the benefits from our San Francisco chapter, the international network of communication professionals is always available for advice.

We have such a talented group of people! I have met external, internal, executive and independent communication professionals and love learning more about what they do and how they do it. Their stories and experience are inspiring. Last, I feel like I have a better skillset and am more prepared to be a valued member of any organization that I work with.

To me, that’s the best benefit of belonging and #WhyILoveIABC.

Jeff Rader is president of the San Francisco chapter of IABC and an Internal Communications Consultant specializing in strategic employee communication.