#GHC15 Network your heart out.

I’ve recently returned from Chicago for a work event that was also dubbed “the in-person networking event”. Most people saw it as just that work. Thing is…networking shouldn’t be “work”.

If you think about it, networking is how you can find your first, second or n-th opportunity, job or friend.

There are plenty of places to network while at Grace Hopper and a lot of times, the best kinds of networking happen when you least expect it. I’ve met, networked and bonded with others while waiting for snack time, waiting for sessions to start, waiting in line to have my caricature drawn,  while collecting ribbons, waiting in line for the ladies room, or while I’ve been at a charging station.

One of the neatest ways that I was able to network last year was to volunteer! I became a community blogger-volunteer and I blogged about sessions I planned on attending anyways. You don’t have to be a blogger though. There are plenty of volunteer activites you can be apart of. The greatest thing is you meet other volunteers and network doing something you’d enjoy doing anyways. Interested? Read all about what you can do here.

If you are looking for more formal sessions to network try coming out to one of the following events:

  • Latina Women in Computing Reception
  • Arab Women in Computing Reception
  • Black Women in Computing Reception
  • Speed Mentoring
  • UWiCSpeed Mentoring
  • Lunchtime Table Topics
  • Women of Color Lunch
  • LGBT Lunch
  • Research Labs Lunch
  • Black Women in Technical Roles Lunch
  • Latinas Lunch
  • Systers Lunch

This of course isn’t an exhaustive list but I wanted to show there are countless opportunities to network while at G.H.C. Interested in any of the more formal networking activities? Check out the official schedule here for times and dates.

um. How do I network…

I mulled over the best way to answer this question on my way home from work and after eating half a bowl of hummus while catching up on Project Runway. I’m unsure if there is some magic formula on how to and there are articles online that might have better ideas. What I can say is to be yourself, try to really get to know someone, connect with them over social media, Linkedin, or via email and most importantly make every effort to keep in touch with them. Even if it’s a quick email or tweet every few months just to check in. This conference brings together women of all ages, paths and career levels. A simple ‘Hi, my name is ____, what brings you to Grace Hopper’ can spark a conversation that may lead you to gain a new friend, put you on a new adventure or help land that next gig.

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