My first encounter with SIM was a huge disappointment. It came back in 1980’s (yes, I’m that old). Looking for a professional, industry-specific group through which I could expand my IT knowledge and learn from others, I attended a chapter meeting in Minneapolis. I was immediately disappointed. What I witnessed was a bunch of Good Old Boys (yes, they were all men back then) sitting around with cocktails sharing war stories. Enjoyable for them but I chose to not join and found other avenues to grow my IT knowledge.
Fast-forward 25 years and two of my acquaintances were SIM members. They asked if I could work with their Board to refresh the Chapter’s Purpose and Vision. This started a series of discoveries that have completely changed my perception of SIM.
It turns out, my trial of dropping in on one meeting years ago was not a sufficient sample size to understand the organization – nor all the deeply committed professionals that have sustained it over the years. It turns out, SIM Mn is all about “Advancing the practice of IT Leadership”, and everything that entails. It does this in a myriad of ways, one of which is creating a community for practitioners to stay in touch and socialize on occasion. SIM; however, is so much more than that. It is an organization run by professional practitioners who volunteer their talents to strengthen and give back to the IT community through organizing, hosting and facilitating professional networks, curating thought leading speakers to share evolving trends in technologies & IT Leadership techniques, as well as sponsoring multiple programs for developing future IT Leaders in the form of STEM training, scholarships, and mentoring.
In addition to providing all of this locally, members of the Mn Chapter of SIM also have access to the many benefits of the SIM National organization. These include things like access to Regional Leadership Forums, National IT Trends research, an Advanced Practices Council, and virtual access to events sponsored by other SIM Chapters from around the region and the nation. These sessions are an ideal mix of technical (eg. Kubernetes and RPA), Cyber Security (eg. Dismantling the Solar Winds attack), and Career Advancement topics (eg. Surviving Job Transition and CIO Round Table discussions).
It’s unfortunate that at my initial exposure, I was probably too impatient to look beyond the meeting of old colleagues and they were probably too focused that particular day on reconnecting with one another and not enough on welcoming in new members. I know, now, that is usually not the case.
With my current familiarity of all the various offerings within a single SIM membership, I can honestly say it is one of the best values for membership dollars of IT Leaders – aspiring and experienced. It gives all members the opportunity for continuous learning within the broad scope of our industry and chosen careers as well as the opportunity to give back to the community that has served us all very well.
Take a good look at SIM, today and come and give us a try. We’ll be sure to welcome you, warmly.