Written by Vanessa Ramirez

Vanessa Ramirez

Early in your career, your professional network will not look the same compared to those who have either a few years or decades of experience. At first that can feel intimidating and overwhelming because we feel that we need to work on that. For some, this task will be tangible and for others like me, it’s more of a pushing and tugging reaction. I knew toward the beginning of my service that this was a goal of mine — to work on my networking skills and of course connect with more professionals.

The month of March allowed me to do just that thanks to opportunities that allowed me to push myself and others with encouragement. The end result was that it’s not as scary as I thought it would be and I learned that networking is a skill that develops over time and with continuous practice can come naturally. While sitting in partner meetings I have been able to see how many of the staff speak so eloquently and casually go into the conversation of networking and seeking support for their work or projects. Being able to sit in these meetings has allowed me to not be afraid to ask questions to partners about their work and learning about how we are connected by other professionals and organizations. I have been able to practice networking with staff at the Alliance by asking them questions and holding conversations to help navigate topics such as learning more about someone’s scope of work or by practicing how to ask for support and being connected to someone who may be able to help.

Not only has this allowed me to learn more about these professionals, but it has also allowed them to learn about me as we continue to collaborate. Although I still may be a young professional, being able to connect someone to and individual I had met earlier this month was a great feeling. You never truly know who you’ll cross paths with and when they will appear again. I’m very excited to keep developing these skills as well as wonder who I will have the pleasure of meeting next.