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Balancing Innovation with “Voice of Reality” at Professional Associations   

Insights from Janet McCall, president of Rocky Mountain Association for Financial Professionals
September 20, 2018

Professional associations are as diverse and varied as the sectors they represent. But all associations share the same goal to provide value to their members. Janet McCall, president of the Rocky Mountain Association for Financial Professionals (RMAFP), has learned that the next generation of her membership prospects have new opportunities for professional development and want different ways to network. Read on to find out how RMAFP is adapting to serve a changing population of financial professionals.

Engage the right members – and more members (and sponsors) will follow  

“We’ve learned that we need to be able to serve financial service providers as a whole — including banks as well as FinTechs (newer companies that are leveraging technology and innovating around the delivery of financial services). Both of these groups value membership to RMAFP because of the corporate practitioners we draw to our events and continuing education programs. These corporate leaders make the financial decisions on behalf of their organizations and are the exact people that banks and FinTechs want to get in front of to build business. For our events, when the membership is robust with that element, that brings the sponsors. Conversely, if we don’t have the corporate practitioners attending and actively engaged, then the sponsors are going to drop off. Our biggest opportunity is to engage those corporate financial leaders and speak precisely to their needs.”

Develop new options for networking to address recruitment challenges

“Beyond professional development, the most important benefit we provide is networking opportunities. As with many professional/trade associations, it’s challenging to get younger professionals to events. We’re experiencing it. We should have been growing right along with the overall growth of the Denver Metro area, but we’re just not. Our membership is older, late 40s and up. So, we are considering how to better engage Millennials, including building in more flexibility and assessing their interest relative to when and where our events are held.  We are also collaborating with other groups to strengthen our partnerships, create interest, and bring in relevant topics for our members who may be earlier in their careers.”  

 Primary value to members remains continuing education

 “Like many associations, we help our members continue their professional education. In the industry there are several certificates and accreditations: Accredited ACH Professional, Certified Treasury Professional, Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Professional. For those who went through the enormous task of passing these exams to get the credential, they are highly motivated to keep their education current, so they can maintain the credits to keep those certifications. There are alternatives to us – we do have some competition in the continuing education space – but it’s still the primary reason our membership becomes a member and attends our events.”

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