ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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What Does it Mean to be an ISA Volunteer?

In my last article, I talked about my journey at ISA, why I joined ISA, and how I became a volunteer. One of the key benefits in ISA is the opportunity to “practice” leadership through volunteering. Our volunteers have been the backbone of ISA for more than 75 years. Do you know what it means to be a volunteer and the benefits of volunteering at ISA?

From my conversations with our members, I can say that the answer for this question is most oftentimes, “no.” So, I will try to answer this important question providing some definitions and examples. First, let’s clarify the difference of being a member and being a volunteer:


• If your goal is to have access to ISA member benefits and develop your career, you should join ISA as a Member.

• You’ll receive our regular communications and take part in our awesome community of professionals.


There are many definitions for a volunteer, but no universal agreement: 


• A Volunteer is someone who gives time, effort, and talent to help us achieve our Mission without profiting monetarily.

• Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service.

• Volunteering is leveraging the specialized skills and talents of individuals to strengthen the infrastructure of non-profits, helping them build and sustain their capacity to successfully achieve their mission.


If your goal is to be involved in a community to help others, offer your talents, and share your expertise, then volunteering is your path! You will bring new ideas, meet other volunteers, and work with us so that our organization can achieve our Vision and Mission.

Professional associations like ISA function through active membership. While joining such an association may be voluntary, when a member engages in more intentional participation, accepts a leadership role, runs for office, or chairs/serves on a committee or task force, it becomes volunteering.

Volunteering is a way to have a sense of “belonging” to an organization or industry, and that’s powerful and important. But people are looking after their own interests, too. Successful volunteering matches the kind of work the association does with the volunteer’s professional needs. We need to provide a win-win situation, fostering a mutually-beneficial relationship.

What’s in it for Me?

ISA invites you to give back to the automation community in ways that optimize your skills. In return, you can build leadership skills, enhance your resume, expand your network, and much more!

It’s important to give volunteers a meaningful issue to focus on. Members who volunteer are more likely to achieve their membership goals, such as connecting with others, finding their community, and learning new skills.

These are some of the benefits of volunteering:

  • Broaden your network of global professionals
  • Share and gain knowledge
  • Give back to the profession
  • Enhance your influence and recognition as an expert and leader
  • Achieve professional growth and personal satisfaction

How Do I Volunteer?

A very common statement I hear from our members is, “No one has ever asked me!” This shows how important it is to identify and invite other members to step in and become volunteers. When talking with our members and asking them to volunteer, a very common questions is, “How do I volunteer?” or, “What volunteer opportunities are available?” We can’t assume that our members know what volunteering opportunities are available. The best place to find out what volunteer opportunities are available is at ISAConnect.

The full list of global volunteer roles is available through ISAConnect’s Volunteer Opportunities List. Apply for the roles that interest you. Applications will be reviewed, and appointments will be made based on the criteria outlined in the role description. New opportunities are added regularly as projects come up that fulfil ISA's mission and vision.

I Don’t Have Time to Volunteer!

ISA provides different opportunities for volunteering at most of its areas, such as Sections, Divisions, Standards, Committees, Task Forces, and micro-opportunities, with different time commitments. See below for some examples:

CM March 1When talking about members and volunteering opportunities, it’s always important to remember our Values and our Code of Conduct that help creating a good and healthy environment to develop our activities.

ISA Values

We need to live our values in all that we do as members or volunteers:

CM March 2ISA Member and Leader Code of Conduct

ISA members are to exhibit the highest standards of competency, honesty, integrity, and impartiality; be fair and equitable; and accept a personal responsibility for adhering to applicable laws and safeguarding the public welfare in their professional actions and behavior. All members commit to upholding the principles and behaviors by joining and retaining membership in ISA.

It’s important that all members and volunteers are aware of the ISA Code of Conduct, the Staff and Volunteer Relationships and Roles, the Anti-Harassment Policy, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy. Violation of the code may result in complaint. Complaints must be submitted in writing to and should be accompanied with as much evidence as necessary.

I love to connect with our members and listen to their opinions about automation, about what ISA is doing now, and about what ISA should be doing to answer needs. Please connect with me on ISAConnect, LinkedIn, or send an email to


The Latest at ISA

  • We have recently finished the process to communicate the 2022 ISA Strategy to all Districts. The ISA Officers and members of the Board and Staff will meet with all the new eight Districts to present our Strategy. It was a great experience to talk with all our Districts around the globe and listen to the opinions and perspectives of our members and volunteers. We will expand this initiative to our Divisions and other areas.
  • ISA has published our 2022 Events Calendar and we’re really going international with our events. The first one will be the Digital Transformation Virtual Conference in Brazil. Registration information is below, and remember that it is FREE for our members:
  • Did you know that members have access to all standards developed by ISA here?
  • There are a lot of great articles on our two blogs: The ISA Interchange blog and the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA) blog. Make sure you are subscribed to receive notifications whenever new posts are published.
  • Are you using ISA Connect? There are a lot of great technical discussions happening in the ISA Connect Discussion Forum.
  • Have you invited anyone to join ISA? If you need some resources to convince your friends or colleagues to join ISA, please refer to this brochure.
Carlos Mandolesi
Carlos Mandolesi

Carlos Mandolesi is an electrical engineer, graduating from the Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI) in 1992 and post-graduated in Business Management from the University São Francisco in 2006. He has a career of over 25 years in the field of industrial automation and industrial networks, having worked in companies like General Electric (GE) and Sigma Automation. Carlos currently serves as Project Portfolio Manager at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. Carlos is the President-elect for the 2021-2022 term of the International Society of Automation (ISA). See Carlos on ISA Connect.

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