Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Company Conferences and Your Career

Companies hold annual conferences for their managers and/or clients and people either love them or hate them. If you are fortunate enough to work for an organization that puts on a conference that includes meaningful sessions that one can actually learn from mixed with fun, enjoyable activities than you most likely look forward to these annual meetings. But what good does it do for your career to attend these conferences other than maybe your boss telling you have to be present and therefore you do even if grudgingly?

Regardless of whether a company event is educational or fun, it's a chance to network with your peers, other clients and vendors that you may not otherwise have the chance to do. Expanding your contacts of people and getting to know them and how you might one day be able to help open doors for their career, they too may be able to do the same for you.

Now you may be thinking that this whole idea of 'networking' and talking to strangers or people you rarely see is not your cup of tea but I'm here to tell you that it can be if you are open to learning the skills for networking and step outside your comfort zone. I used to define 'networking' as the events that everyone just simply hands out cards and says hi for a few minutes. Those do exist but they are not for me and may not be for you either.

Networking in a setting that allows you to have a conversation and get to know one another can be a lot of fun. Show interest in the person you are talking to and don't make it all about you. If you do that and do it genuinely chances are they will be a friend or at least a contact for life. So, if you hate going to company conferences and view it as disrupting your daily routine or it's simply outside your comfort zone - take it from another angle by changing your attitude and outlook and seek opportunities to meet people and mingle. At the end of the conference, you'll be able to say what a great time you had and probably look forward to the next one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Amazing Women Doing Their Part

A couple of weeks ago Middle Tennessee experienced flooding in a way no one has seen it. Sure, we get a lot of rain in Tennessee and sometimes we need to watch the rivers to make sure they don't get too high to cause any damage. But this time, the rain came down hard and fast and steady with very little breaks in between.

People away from their homes were stranded in buildings because they simply could not drive their cars in the dangerous waters while others watched carefully as the water rose closer and closer to their front porch, hoping and praying it would stop soon. For some it did but for many others, it did not. So many families in Middle Tennessee have lost their homes or are displaced temporarily as they await the news from insurance companies as to what, if any, of the damage to their homes will be covered so they can start rebuilding their lives.

Many of the homeowners were not in a flood zone and therefore not required to carry flood insurance. They will need to rebuild their homes through the help of volunteers and monetary donations from various sources. Seeing the devastation first hand in my own community, I know just how much it has impacted their lives. It's been quite an amazing sight to see the volunteers both men and women, coming together to help people remove debris from their homes, bring food and water to volunteers and victims alike and clothing to replace what was lost to water and mud. So much work has already been done but so much more is needed.

Women of Middle Tennessee continue to lend a helping hand to the flood victims by raising money to give to charitable organizations. If you or your organization would like to get involved - I encourage you to attend or donate to one of these two fundraisers for flood victims - both led by women of Nashville. There are many other wonderful organizations that are accepting donations and are in need of volunteers so I encourage you to choose one and get involved today. The flood victims need your help and appreciate all you can do for them.

Flood Relief Cut-A-Thon 

Flood of Fashion