For many of us, networking does not come easily. Some of us imagine a room full of strangers, business cards in hand, making idle chit chat and then moving on to the next stranger in a sea of anonymity. It’s no wonder, then, that many of us not only avoid opportunities to network, but run from them with a muffled shriek of horror and despair.
Turns out that networking–and especially effective networking–is not just for good little capitalists. Authentic networking is built on an exchange that is not transactional, and instead built upon engagements where we come into contact with one another with a desire to learn about, and share, expertise and interests. Current discussions of networking attest to the importance of thinking capaciously about our support networks, and understand the ways in which our personal and professional networks can contribute to our emotional, physical, and professional wellbeing overall. Networking is NOT about finding the person who will hook you up with some thing (be it a job, or some other tangible outcome, though opportunities are often best discovered through our networks).
We heard from graduate students who attended our Humanists@Work workshop in San Diego and Sacramento that they wanted more time to “network” at future events. We read this as asking for a number of things, all of which we look forward to including in our Los Angeles workshop:
- A pre-workshop dinner that allows for informal networking with fellow UC humanities graduate students. So for those who attend the networking dinner, please consider the student you’re seated next to as just as important as the invited “networker.” Our advice: don’t forget to share the space, and make room for everyone to participate in the conversations.
- A pre-workshop event that brings students into conversation with people from the outside–people we’re calling “networkers,” and who will participate in our networking dinner workshop. Our advice: be open to exploring new career pathways, and utilize this time to practice for future networking opportunities.
- Significant time built into the daylong workshop to talk with peers and invited speakers/guests as well as one another. Our advice: move around during the breaks and lunch, and try to meet a handful of new people. Or, join the Twitter conversation and start a relationship that way!
We understand many of the prejudices humanities graduate students have against networking, and offer this pre-event workshop and dinner as an opportunity to reevaluate our misconceptions and misgivings for the activity. And it’s a safe space to practice an activity that will benefit us regardless of whether we pursue jobs in academia or beyond.
UC Humanities PhD students who receive a travel grant to attend the Los Angeles Humanists@Work Workshop will be invited to attend this series of networking events (this includes a networking how-to session on Sunday evening, followed by a hosted reception and dinner at Mas Malo restaurant in downtown Los Angeles). At the networking dinner students will engage in structured networking with 2-3 networkers. The tentative plan is to create distinct meetings over the course of small meals, with time at the beginning and end to make your own connections.
Our networkers represent a variety of workplaces, fields, and educational backgrounds. As you consider who you might most like to speak with, be open to exploring new pathways. And remember: this is just practice. Confirmed networkers include:
Brian Blackwell (MA, Philosophy, USC), Senior Project Manager, Vista Entertainment Solutions Limited
Amanda Cornwall (PhD, Comparative Literature, U of Oregon), Manager, Graduate Career Services, UCLA
Keith Danner (PhD, English, UC Riverside), Lecturer, UC Irvine
Beth Greene (PhD, History, UC Los Angeles), Research Communications Manager, UCHRI
Melanie Ho (PhD, English, UC Los Angeles), Executive Director, EAB, The Advisory Board Company
Rebecca Peabody (PhD, Art History, Yale University), Head, Research Projects & Programs, Getty Research Institute
Stephanie Schrader (PhD, Art History, UC Santa Barbara), Curator, Drawings Department, J. Paul Getty Museum
Michael Ursell (PhD, Literature, UC Santa Cruz), ACLS Public Fellow at LA Review of Books
**Please note that only those students receiving travel grants from UCHRI will be invited to the networking workshop and dinner.
Sunday, May 8th
5:00 — 6:00 PM
The Exchange: Building authentic professional relationships
Annie Maxfield, Associate Director, Graduate Student Relations and Services, UC Los Angeles
Location: Walker/Eisen Room, Ace Hotel, DTLA
Networking is integral to success in any career, especially for graduate students. However, most are uncomfortable with face-to-face “networking” as it is often misconceived as intimidating and inauthentic. In this interactive workshop you will learn how to create conversation with people you don’t know, learn professional etiquette, norms and strategies, and identify effective ways to follow up to create and sustain mutually beneficial professional relationships.
6:00 — 7:00 PM
Reception for UC Humanities PhDs
Location: Mas Malo, DTLA
7:00 — 9:30 PM
Location: Mas Malo, DTLA