A Publication of WTVP

The world’s largest not-for-profit association for administrative professionals offers professional development, leadership training and networking opportunities for its members.

My name is Savanna Bohm, and I am 25 years old, born and raised in Creve Coeur, Illinois. After I graduated from East Peoria High School in 2003, my father recommended that I work at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center because there are so many growth opportunities with the organization. So I applied for a housekeeping position and waited for a call. I was able to get right in for an interview with the manager of the department and was hired. I worked as a housekeeper for three years until I heard of another opening as a data entry clerk for the Maintenance Department.

That was about the time I began to hear about the International Association for Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Tri-County Chapter, a not-for-profit association for administrative professionals in the Tri-County Area. Its mission is to be the acknowledged, recognized leader of administrative professionals and to enhance their individual and collective value, image, competence and influence. I was asked multiple times to join the organization, but I am a quiet person and don’t usually like to get out of my comfort zone. I thought that being a part of this group would intimidate me. The members were very persistent in asking me to join, but I didn’t want to take the time to go to the meetings and be around people I did not know.

In 2007, I was able to get another promotion as a secretary for the Family Birthing Center. At this time, I was ready to take the step and join the IAAP. I went to one of their meetings and really enjoyed the presentation, and so I became a member in April of 2008. At first, I was very nervous and just kept to myself. That was when everyone began to approach me and ask me questions, which was very nerve-wracking because I did not know any of them. But I still pushed myself to go to the meetings.

The IAAP offers many great presentations that I would recommend to everyone. After one of these presentations, the chair of the IAAP’s Professional Development Committee approached me and asked if I would like to be a part of her committee, which involved scheduling speakers, finding locations and planning dinners for each of our meetings. I thought that this would be a great opportunity for me to meet new people and grow out of my comfort zone, so I said yes.

After joining the committee, the co-chair had difficulties attending the meetings, so I was asked to step up as co-chair. I gladly accepted the position and took on a larger workload in planning the meetings. While on this committee, I was able to meet all of the members who attended the meetings and learned their names in the process. I was also able to help with fundraising and obtaining promotional items for giveaways at our Administrative Professional Celebration. Being able to solicit our association has given me the opportunity to meet people in all different cities throughout Illinois.

Being a part of this association has helped me grow out of my comfort zone and given me the ability to walk up to a person I don’t know and talk with them. This was helpful when I was given the opportunity to apply for an administrative assistant position for the vice president of the Illinois Neurological Institute at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. Before joining the IAAP, I was very intimidated by interviews, to the point that I would make myself sick. Now that I have become more comfortable talking with people, I felt more comfortable during the interview as well.

Then it was time for me to really step up and become the chair of the Professional Development Committee for the next year. I had so many ideas and decided to try different things to help the IAAP grow and acquire additional members. I have been able to get a variety of speakers to present at our meetings, on topics such as “Visionary Leadership and Influencing,” “Business Ethics,” “New Technologies,” “21st Century—How to Lead Others in the Midst of Change” and “Next Steps into Management.”

As committee chair, I am now leading meetings, planning the events, partnering with other companies and soliciting the IAAP Tri-County Chapter. I’m no longer afraid and can go in front of the room and speak to everyone. I am growing out of that comfort zone that I had been in for so long.

From previous speakers, I have learned about so many things, from computer programs like Microsoft Excel, Access and Project, to Robert’s Rules of Order and how to put together a meeting to how to present myself during an interview. There are many different presentations that relate to everyone in some way. The IAAP also takes the time to celebrate Administrative Professionals’ Day and invites everyone to celebrate with us, which is a time to meet new people and have a great time.

I recommend joining the IAAP Tri-County Chapter because it gives everyone a chance to grow out of their comfort zones, gain further educational opportunities, and gain business and personal relationships with many different people. Being a part of the IAAP Tri-County Chapter benefits employers as well. Professional team members dedicated to producing a quality product or service, positive public relations representatives who take pride in professionalism and excellence, office personnel who are up-to-date with the latest technology trends and employees with opportunities for quality leadership training, self-improvement and employee education are able to bring those skills back to the workplace. As you can see, there are many different benefits from joining the IAAP Tri-County Chapter—we would like to see you there! iBi