Last June 10th, I participated in an eye-opening networking workshop, Next Generation Networking Workshop. Like the title, it provided numerous insights on practical ways for next-generation leaders to effectively build and expand the network. This two-hour workshop was hosted by Atlas Corps and invited Dr. Maria Gallo as the main speaker. She is one of the world’s leading experts on alumni potential and the author of The Alumni Way: Building Lifelong Value from Your University Investment.
Through this workshop, Dr. Gallo emphasized four key traits that could help us leverage our network while leaving an impact and marks on anyone in our circle. This workshop is mainly focused on how we can manage future partnerships and networks as Atlas fellows. Still, it is relevant for alumni or network engagement in other institutions. My two cents on those four key traits and how it has nudged me to develop different strategies for networking are:
Reflecting on our persona means we understand how we want to be perceived and known, and first, we should welcome our identity. Through various social media platforms, we should advertise our identity or persona as a Fellow Scholar or an alumnus of any institution, update our contact details, and follow Atlas or our organization’s social media. By then, we can put the network we aim to expand under our radar and keep ourselves updated with new opportunities.
“The future belongs to those who are curious.”
- Curiosity could open up access. Curiosity could lead us to explore – careers with impact, social change initiatives that we want to contribute to, and any critical issues and ideas that we could explore by volunteering and attending various workshops or conferences.
- Curiosity could help you to keep being on other people’s radar. It’s not about “whom you know” in getting an exciting career, but “who knows you.” Those people think about you when there’s anything that needs to be helped or supported. This also allows one to listen, understand others’ needs, and offer help.
- On a practical note, keep asking yourself a) What issues are you curious to learn more about (that alumni might be able to help!); b) Who else should I meet?; c) How can I help? to continuously reflect and review the network that you have already built.
What’s your passion & focus as a social change maker/leader?
- Say yes to networking, but we have to be slow and intentional. Think thoroughly about with people whom you want to connect with
- Leverage your network, where you can bring care and kindness to enjoy the networking experience
- Make networking activities your regular habit (e.g., conferences, external workshops).
- Infinite horizon – build diversity in your network. The more diverse your network is, the more you will find opportunities you don’t know. Have one dedicated day where you intentionally reconnect or outreach to people with whom you want to connect. One hour per week is enough!
- Keep asking yourself, who did you previously network with? What are other things I am curious about that I can get through people?
Networking is bigger than ourselves.
- Remember that we should give or offer more help than asking or receiving. 5:1 offer/ask ratio
- Share your learning; wherever you meet somebody new, always think, “who’s on my radar? Who will be helped if I tell them about this issue? Who will feel beneficial if I connect them with (who).”
- Transformational; when you get involved, stay reconnected with the organization that you’ve shared experience with
- Perceive networking as a lifetime activity, NOT only a career activity
This workshop succeeds in reminding me that being more proactive in networking is bigger than how we want to explore new opportunities for our career or any personal development plans. It also makes me realize that networking is an active giving activity instead of focusing on getting something. I left the workshop with all the thoughts and reflections on how I could move forward to update my persona and extend my radar; build a habit of intentionally reaching out to Atlas alumni, and always be humble to listen and learn from the existing and future network and offer more help.