I am a member of RWA. I am also a member of RWA-affiliated Midwest Fiction Writers (based in Minneapolis), and From the Heart Romance Writers, an online group.
I am also a member of the Jackpine Writers, a local group that supports regional writers and poets by publishing The Talking Stick, an annual book of creative non-fiction, short stories, and poetry. I have served on the editorial board for two issues. This was where I was first published, discounting a self-published cookbook and innumerable essays in my CSA newsletters.
Have these associations benefited my career? I feel most everything I read about the craft of writing and the publishing industry helps in some way. Knowing others are going through the same ups and downs that I experience makes me believe I, too, can succeed.