By Patrick Atagi, NIHC Board Chair

As I have stated in past newsletters, membership with the NIHC yields tangible rewards. Associations in general, like the NIHC work to ensure that there is a level playing field for all participants by helping to create a system where products and services can move through consistently the stream of commerce.

Yet, association membership isn’t all about business. And rewards are not always tangible. In fact, the most enjoyable part of being a part of the NIHC for me, personally, is the people.

Surrounding myself with smarter people than I has taught me more than you can imagine, as well as provided the ability to get to end results faster and with greater success. We have achieved so much already in our short time as an organized association because of the expert board members, volunteers, consultants, staff, and members who have joined the effort to establish sustainable opportunity in hemp-driven markets.

Therefore, the last piece of NIHC membership to consider is Personal and Professional Development.

Professional associations provide many collaborative opportunities for both personal and professional development that enrich you, teach you, and lead you to a higher level of understanding than you could achieve on your own.

Opportunities for valuable participation include:

  • Leadership Opportunities: Many associations have chapters, and almost all have boards of directors. Both are generally staffed by volunteers who believe in the mission of the association and are willing to spend the time to push it forward. NIHC is working toward a vibrant national network of like-minded organizations, and we need your expertise to guide the efforts at the state, national or international levels!


  • Training: Associations offer formal training on topics related to their focus and mission. Training is also much more than getting a dozen or so people in a conference room for a few days. Training can be attending an annual conference, listening to an association webinar, or reading an eBook. And it can be speaking, delivering, or writing the above as well.

    The best training happens in environments like we are developing for our 2021 NIHC Hemp Business Summit. You will want to be in the room with your peers on November 14-16 in Washington, D.C. to hear the stellar line-up of speakers, to visit with the best companies exhibiting in our Networking Concourse, and to develop deeper relationships with other movers and shakers in hemp industry.


  • Opportunities for Thought Leadership: Associations, and especially the NIHC, are always in need of valuable content. We want to share your story and your experiences in a blog post, on a webinar, or at a conference breakout session. After all, it’s one thing to blog on a personal or business blog with perhaps a narrow scope. It’s another thing to blog on the association’s platform, which might be read by thousands of readers, many of whom are thought leaders in their own right.

    In fact, right now we have opportunities to write or be interviewed for our newsletter or upcoming publications. Each week, we strive to provide an “NIHC Member Spotlight.” If you are a member and want to share your story, contact us today! If you have something to contribute on a topic, please reach out to Caryn Smith, NIHC Communications, with your ideas to be considered.


  • Subject Matter Expertise: Last yet not least, associations are always in need of subject matter experts to serve on committees and task forces responsible for developing training, standards, bodies of knowledge, etc. This offers a very unique opportunity for personal and professional development, as well as recognition and high-level networking opportunities. If you look at the top tier of any industry, you will find leaders who serve and help develop the industries they hope to thrive within. If you see areas you can contribute to the industry, we invite you to serve on a committee.

If you are looking for personal satisfaction and professional advancement, look no further than membership in the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC).