Allow me to share with you a recent reflection of mine. The year is 2030, my 5-year-old grandson asked what was that ASIS Singapore Chapter Letter of Appreciation hanging in my study all about. I looked at him with glassy eyes and told him that it had something to do with being part of a fraternity of security professionals and practitioners. He then asked if I could bring him to one of the meetings. My answer was simple, the local chapter is no longer around and guessing his next question, I told him that it was all grandpa’s fault, because he did nothing to keep it alive. Will that be a situation that many of us will find ourselves in 20 – 30 years from today? I sincerely hope not.
Empires, organizations and associations come and go. Those that remain through time have done so because of the determination of their people to sustain the existence of their collective order. Paradigm shifts and the many strategies of sustainability means nothing if there are no people to work towards perpetuating the purpose of the collective body. We can have many members but for the local chapter to remain valid it need members to come forward to create value for the chapter and its members.
I have been a local chapter member since 2006 and in the course of these 10 years, I have had the opportunity to serve with some of the best and dedicated Management and Working Sub Committee members at our chapter. I believe what drove these people was integrity, they left their ego and personal interests aside to work and grow the chapter. In many ways they had shown the true spirit of volunteerism and I am proud to be associated with them.
While the regional leadership has been actively engaging ASIS International head office on the need for a paradigm shift to grow membership in the region, individual chapters and their management committees could also do their part to develop growth. Looking back in the last 10 years, I observe that when the chapter organizes more activities for members, membership numbers will grow. If this is true than perhaps future chapter managements could work towards organizing more activities. These could be more casual gatherings for round-table discussions or recorded webinars. Such events need not see a large attendance but increasing the frequency of gatherings will sent the message that the chapter is vibrant. Members should also engage the Management Committee to share their areas of interests and seek opportunities to peer share at chapter events.
I suppose in the true spirit of volunteerism we need to dig the well today so that others may drink from it tomorrow and in so doing the scenario above will not materialise.