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Learn what people really do at work

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Vice President – Non-Profit Trade Association

I’m the Vice President of a non-profit trade association. Because it’s a small office, I do a bit of everything – whatever needs doing, and you pitch in where you can. But my primary work falls into six categories:


1. Research (online and on the phone, in books, by attending relevant events, etc.). I spend an hour or two a day keeping tabs on what’s happening in the foreign country that my trade association covers. That induces reading news, keeping up with new government regulations affecting businesses, compiling trade statistics, keeping an eye on the government agencies we deal with both at home and in the foreign country, etc. Also includes research on companies for our member development efforts.


2. Writing/Editing. We publish a number of information products for our members, so I spend a good part of the day writing on a variety of topics. I’m also the editor/brand manager, so I have final say before something get released. This includes soliciting and receiving/incorporating analysis feedback from our members, working with designers and printers, and monitoring how reports/papers are received both in the media and broadly. Lately, this has also included planning/executing social media outreach. Occasionally, I do Public Relations work too – writing/distributing press releases, answering questions from the press, etc.


3. Communication. That means spending several hours each day answering emails and taking phone calls from members and non-members alike. It generally entails following up on information requests, answering random questions, writing and editing letters, etc. Includes a lot of mail-merging, helping with database updates, and creating lists and list and list of groups of people we are communicating with – including vendors.


4. Event Planning/Promotion. We do a large conference and several small events each year. This part of my job includes both “macro” tasks (such as identifying/working with venues, drafting agendas, and inviting speakers) and “micro” tasks (like writing/sending out the event announcements, creating table-tents, printing name tags, welcoming attendees at the check-in table, etc).


5. Financial. A small part of my job includes daily oversight over the organization’s finances, working with our accountant and auditor, tracking bills/invoices, making financial decisions, etc.


6. IT and Web management. I’m the closest to an IT person we have, just by the virtue of having some interest and experience with it, so I spend at least a few hours a week doing our in-house IT management – troubleshooting computers, phones, copiers, mail machines, door chimes…


Yea, it’s a bit more eclectic than the work than I thought my MBA would get me. But because it holds so many different components, I get to walk into work every day with a variety of things to work on – it never gets boring!

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