I just returned from a luncheon meeting of the IIA Baton Rouge chapter. The speaker and presentation were on point, and the meal was pretty good, as well. However, one thing that could have been improved was the table set up. Most of the tables were only able to seat four people, which limited the number people those attendees could interact with.
When I arrived, about half of the seats in the room were taken. As I scanned the room, I noticed that the people sitting at many of the tables that were fully occupied worked at the same organization. While it is great that people enjoy their co-workers, one of the most rewarding benefits of being involved in IIA activities is the networking aspect. Talking with peers at different organizations can provide new and different perspectives, which ultimately makes all of us better auditors.
While it can be comfortable and easy to surround yourself with people you already know, next time you are at an IIA or any other relevant event, branch out, network, and meet someone new. You never know what you might learn from them.