Adam Cole (Toronto, Director of Specialty Technology Solutions for McKesson Canada)
Recently I talked about the value of networking. Personally I do a lot of professional networking through CIPS (the association of the Canadian IT professional). For CIPS upcoming 50th anniversary I wrote some bullet points on what I have got out of networking within CIPS...
CIPS is amazing. For every measure of energy I have put in to the society CIPS has paid far greater dividends in to my life and career.
For two years I was a stealth member – contributing nothing and getting nothing in return. (Yet always asking where my dollars were going!) Three years ago Dan Eng, the Toronto President at the time petitioned Toronto members to get involved and I answered the call. Following are the benefits I have personally gained in the intervening three years:
- Many new friends
- A rich professional network – the value of which cannot be overestimated
- I have employed the services of Nexient, Robert Half, Idea Technosoft, and others through CIPS relationships
- I have been introduced to a number of companies and career growth opportunities through CIPS relationships
- Access to many conferences
- Published articles in ITWorld and other respectable forums
- Someone I know and can call on in almost every major and many minor cities across Canada
- An MBA (in progress) with a $7500 bursary
- I have sought expert advice from CIPS friends and colleagues that would have cost me thousands had I paid for consultants. (Thank you Stephen [career], Len [security], Igor [HR], Dan [career], Jeff [methodology], John [development], and so many others!)
- Speaking engagements (Ignite Your Career, IDC,…)
- Knowledge gained through SIGs, dinners, and other events
- Called on for expert opinion by the media
- Established relationships with industry leaders. (Relationships I never would have been able to establish if not for my role in CIPS.)
- And the list of benefits goes on…..
My life is so much richer for these experiences and there is no question that these experiences have contributed to a recent significant promotion at work. Now when I am asked about the value proposition by a non-member I tell them the value proposition is defined by what you are willing to give.
Networking and being active outside of your place of work is an excellent mechanisms to experience professional growth - often more so than formal training. Whether you join CIPS (across Canada) or VANTUG (Vancouver) or another group be sure to be active. I promise you will find it a rewarding experience.