CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Associations can enhance the professional identity

By Susan Poizner
Special to The Toronto Sun

The new office professionals are information workers. They are the people who constantly work with new information technologies, the people who bring the information economy to life, the people who experience the impact of the information revolution every day.

The significance of the administrative profession has created several associations that serve to enhance the network and professional development of its members.

Three prominent associations in the Canadian community are profiled below.

International Association of Administrative Professionals

Founded in 1942, the International Association of Administrative

Professionals (IAAP) is the world's largest association for administrative support staff, with more than 600 chapters and 40,000 members and affiliates worldwide.

IAAP is a non-profit association that provides industry-recognized research and educational activities through its Research and Educational Foundation.

IAAP also sets professional standards through its Institute for Certification and supports business education programs through its Institute for Education.

IAAP's purpose is to provide information, education and training, and to set standards of excellence recognized by the business community on a global level.

"Belonging to IAAP has provided continuous professional development, leadership training I do not get on the job and opportunities to network internationally," says Marcia O'Hearn CPS/CAP International Secretary, IAAP.

"My 20+ years of membership has increased my value as an administrative professional."

Association of Administrative Assistants

The Association of Administrative Assistants (AAA) is a chartered, non-profit Canadian organization founded in 1951.

AAA's mission is to assist members in the continuing development of administrative skill, underlying knowledge and professional growth, thus enhancing employment opportunities and contributions to both the work place and the community.

"The AAA's motto is 'Professionalism through Education' -- personal education or work related," says Pat I. Dobson Sr., president of the Association of Administrative Assistants, Toronto Charter Branch (1951).

"Being a member of a Branch is important because they plan events that improve your mind and body.

Sometimes just getting away from everyday events (family and business) relieves the stress we are all under in today's 'rush rush' environment," Dobson says.

"You gain a multitude of experience and knowledge by being a member of an Association. Through networking you gain friends through the years; go to the meetings together; go on trips together."

The Association of Administrative Assistants also offers a certificate through universities across Canada, the Qualified Administrative Assistant (QAA).

Canadian Virtual Assistant Network

The Canadian Virtual Assistant Network (CVAN) consists of virtual assistants across Canada and is dedicated to bringing further awareness to the profession of virtual assisting.

Virtual Assistants (VAs) are independent contractors who perform a wide range of administrative and business services.

By utilizing today's technology they are able to provide administrative support to businesses all over the world.

Look for further information regarding VAs in the April 6 publication of Career Connection.

Office Workers Career Centre

In addition to professional associations, nonprofit career centres, such as Office Workers Career Centre (OWCC), provide labour market information and pre-employment services for unemployed and underemployed administrative workers.

Located in downtown Toronto, services offered include skills and career assessment workshops, an employment resource centre, computer lab and job board.

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