The Information Technology Alliance (ITA), a membership based organization of owners and senior leaders in IT, has launched the GenNOW group—a new initiative focused on expanding participation by younger professionals in the CPA firms, consulting reseller firms and technology vendor members.

The announcement was made during the ITA’s 2013 Spring Collaborative in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The ITA GenNOW group will serve to grow the organization’s membership—specifically among the next generation – and promote greater community and collaboration.

The GenNOW initiative comes on the heels of last year’s announcement regarding the ITA Leadership Alliance (ILA) – formerly the Future Leaders effort—which is a year-long formal leadership development training initiative that kicked off at this week’s spring meeting. While ILA is a formal leadership initiative, ITA GenNOW is a more informal way for new and young members to connect, and will feature a mentorship component whereby seasoned ITA members can share their knowledge and experience with younger members and provide guidance in specific areas.

“The future success of ITA hinges significantly on the investment the current leadership is willing to make in growing the next generation of members today, and that’s why we’re so pleased to announce the launch of the new ITA GenNOW movement,” said Stan Mork, incoming president at ITA, and technology strategy advisor at McGladrey. “ITA exists to provide a collaborative environment where IT professionals share information and build relationships that significantly enhance the way they, and their clients, do business – and it’s essential that we continue to identify and involve younger professionals in this evolving professional opportunity.”

Some of GenNOW’s efforts will extend beyond the biannual ITA meetings, as many of the current and future members attend various accounting and technology-related industry events throughout the year. Specifically, GenNOW is looking to have a presence at these events to further promote ITA membership and their role in it.

GenNOW had its first in-person gathering of approximately 10 younger ITA members during lunch on the first full day of the 2013 Spring Collaborative.

“We found not everyone needs formal leadership training so (GenNOW) will be more informal things and still offering a way for younger ITA members to connect throughout the year,” said Kim Hogan, director of west coast operations at XCM Solutions. Hogan is also an ITA member and is helping to spearhead the GenNOW effort. “We need younger people getting plugged in to what ITA is all about. We have a core ITA GenNOW group going to other events as well as a way to put a face to ITA and it’s a better way to evangelize ITA for those who haven’t made it to meetings.”

Hogan also noted that there will be some messaging to existing ITA member firms to encourage them to bring younger members to meetings.

For those interested in getting leadership development training, the ILA kicked off its first official class during the Spring Collaborative. Called Basecamp, the first class hosted over a dozen members interested in leadership development. The ILA effort is part of a year-long course where attendees will have tasks to complete throughout the year, focusing mainly on personal development.

“I worked with leaders of organizations and focused on the strategies they set, I found it always led to their role as a leader and what makes a good leader; that all went into the content [for the ILA course],” said Bret Romney, an ITA member and founder of Ascend Strategies. “The course is very interactive as well. Then we speak to them every month through the year to keep them on track.”

Romney also works Kevin Cumley, a member of ITA’s board of directors who's leading the alliance’s new future leaders initiative, which did have to go through some rebranding before the Basecamp course was launched.

“We had a large initial response to our future leaders effort, but no one signed up, mostly because we found out that our member firms weren’t able to correctly define or identify what a future leader was at their firm,” said Cumley. “I think now with the rebranding and new messaging they’re getting the idea and we do have people signed up[for ILA courses].”

For further questions on the ILA, contact Kevin Cumley.