Professional Consultant’s Association Of Central New York
Before I get too far, since it’s my blog, I’d like to mention that I made a top leadership blogs list for Mitch’s Blog; I’m feeling kind of good about that. 🙂
I can’t believe I’ve had this blog this long and haven’t ever talked about this consultant’s organization I belong to. It’s called The Professional Consultant’s Association Of Central New York. It’s geared towards mainly individual businesses for whom services accounts for at least 51% of their business. In other words, if you make jewelry or pizza you’re not really considered a consultant, even if you’re self employed. You’re considered a consultant if the biggest part of how you make a living is in working with others by offering services of all types, which can be consulting (like me), accounting, training, financial services, etc. The organization even accepts companies that have multiple employees as members and will be charged a corporate rate, where they can send as many members as they wish.
I’ve been a member since 2002. At the present time I’m on the board of directors and I manage both the website and the blog (I write most of the posts but I also post articles other members send me). I found the group when I was still pretty new to consulting and tried calling a bunch of consultants to ask them for general advice. Only one of them talked to me and he invited me to this group… and the rest is history.
It’s not a tip club; heck, there’s too many of those around already. Instead, it’s an educational and networking organization where topics are selected with the intention of imparting both knowledge and wisdom that independent contractors could use. Occasionally we’ll have guest speakers that involve those who have achieved great success, those who can offer advice on things like social media, finances and general legal advice, as well as those who are involved in events and organizations within the community which many of our members might want to know about.
One of the special things our organization does that very few others do is what we call our roundtable events. That’s where we’ll take a topic that we believe will be of interest to our group, then have one of the members moderate it, which often includes an introduction to the topic, and then everyone gets to share their thoughts on it. I’ve gotten some of the best information and education from these sessions because, as you might expect, the average age on the consultants in the room is around 50 or so.
A couple of the roundtable discussions we’ve had this season include: Public Professionalism & Social Media (I led that one) and Networking 101. Two of the programs we’ve had were: Cyber/Internet Security for Small Business and Syracuse CoWorks/One Million Cups.
We also have member spotlights, where each of our members gets to do a 3-5 minute presentation about their business or their skills, then entertains questions and suggestions for the next 5 minutes. Members find that valuable on both ends because one gets to learn how to refine how they define themselves while the membership gets to know each other better. Once again, there are no other organizations that do such a thing.
Finally, the main thing that explains what are group is about is our code of ethics, which is the organization’s most visited page. Members must be in high standing and be approved to join, and if they breach the ethics policy they’re kindly asked to remove themselves.