By Bill siNN
waNTeD: energetic, hard-working,
people-friendly individuals; willing to work
long hours with no pay; passionate about
what they do; ability to get called upon at
any time; asking for nothing in return.
Whether you are new to IASA
or have been a long-time member,
it is clear what makes up the “glue”
that keeps this organization running
smoothly and efficiently. It’s the
cadre of volunteers who participate
on committees, manage webinars
and educational programs, engage in
local chapter meetings, and just offer
welcome assistance and guidance to
IASA members and their companies.
We caught up with several volunteers to find out why they got involved
and what they gain from the experience.
Jason Nickles, director of corporate accounting at Western & Southern Financial Group, became active
at the local chapter level eight years
ago. During that time, he has served
as chapter president for the past six
years until he moved on to the role of
past president in December, 2015.
“Volunteering at the local chapter
level was a great way to get started with
IASA,” says Nickles. “It helped me get a
better sense of the organization, and un-
derstand its mission and purpose. More
importantly, it’s also a terrific opportunity
to meet with great people who come in
with open minds, wanting to participate,
Nickles points out his local chapter
is quite active and attracts between
120 and 150 members locally. “With
the industry getting more and more
complex, these meetings are an effec-
tive way to meet with my peers, reach
out with questions and generally share
information across the group,” he says.
He added the local meetings gave
him the chance to meet with national
IASA representatives. The result: He
is now directing the Accounting,
Risk and Financial (ARF) educational session at the conference this
week. “The IASA conference is a
great way to network with your peers
and solution providers all in one
place,” says Nickles.
Nickles is such a believer in
volunteerism that he will head up the
IASA Volunteer Development Com-
mittee next year. This group works
directly with volunteers, harnessing
their strengths and commitments,
Nikki Dugan’s story is a little differ-
ent. Dugan, who is manager of demand
generation at EIS Group, jumped right
in at the national level. “When I was at
the IASA annual conference in 2013, I
was amazed that the entire show was
put on by volunteers,” she says.
Dugan believes that while IASA
does have a small paid staff, a huge
part of the IASA programs—at both
the national and local chapter levels—
are made up of volunteers’ time and
energy. “It’s a wonderful, eclectic group
of people that are all willing to chip in
and help one another,” she says.
An admitted insomniac, Dugan
says her IASA responsibilities keep
her busy; to the tune of working on
three separate committees. She chairs
the vendor connect tour committee,
she co-chairs the social media committee, and she chairs the executive
education committee, which runs all
the senior-level roundtables.
She says that while her IASA duties keep her engaged and motivated,
they don’t interfere with her real job.
“It’s really just a balancing act,” says
Dugan. “It’s a beautiful thing when
your career and a passion for volunteering come together. Any good
company is willing to allow its employees to give back to the industry
and EIS Group lets me do that. It’s
really about good time management.”
“Even more,” she adds, “this experience allows me to educate myself
Association depends on membership to fill key roles
and grow as an individual, while
collaborating and socializing with
other insurance professionals.”
As a member of the vendor com-
munity, Dugan says her time with IASA
has enabled her to educate herself on
the industry, as well as to collaborate
and socialize with other insurance
professionals. And while she enjoys all
the committees she participates in, she
is especially excited about working with
the executive roundtables.
“As a constant learner, I appreciate
the opportunity to meet the CIOs and
the CFOS, recognize the trends impacting their roles, and truly understand
what keeps them up at night,” she says.
Scott Bowen, vice president and
controller of International Fidelity
Insurance Co., also appreciates the
fact that his company allows him
to volunteer with IASA—especially
since he has only been with the company for a little over a year.
“My company has never been a
corporate member of IASA. As part
of my joining International Fidelity, I
made my employment contingent on
my ability to continue to engage with
IASA in my new role,” he says. “To
their credit, they agreed to that.”
In fact, he said his participation has
opened the company’s eyes to the benefits
of IASA. Not surprisingly, the company is
now sending three IT and three financial
people to the national conference.
“It’s a win-win situation,” he says.
“The company gets brand recognition
and our participation helps to attract
qualified employees to the company
further down the road. And it’s an
opportunity for us to engage with
senior-level insurance executives and
top vendors at the conference.”
Bowen is involved in the
e-learning committee, the group
that produces the 12 educational
webinars annually for the organiza-
tion’s members. He says much of his
volunteer work is behind the scenes:
helping to pick the topics, working
with the software platform, creating
polling questions, and more.
He says volunteering gives him a
sense of doing something productive
outside his regular role. And nothing
quite “grabbed” him like IASA. He
has found the entire experience ful-
filling. He must be doing something
right: Bowen has been nominated
for “New Volunteer of the Year” for
2016. He’s excited but knows he is up
against some terrific competition.
Bowen is especially thrilled with
the theme of this year’s annual con-
ference: People, Passion, and Purpose.
“I’m a people person at heart and
this organization is all about the people.
The volunteers are committed to IASA
and IASA is committed to enriching the
insurance community,” he says.
Interested in volunteering for IASA?
The IASA is always looking for new
members to help out with the myriad
of activities the organization undertakes
on a regular basis. For more informa-
tion, contact Tricia Stillman at tstill-
shown from left to right are iasa volunteers Nikki Dugan, Jason Nickles, and scott Bowen.