Section Leader Highlight: Evan Zabawski on The Value of Networking
How did you first get involved with the section? I was taken to my first meeting by my boss, who was one of the directors. Since I was present for so many of these meetings over the course of the year, it just seemed natural to become officially involved the following year.
What was your progression like from your first involvement up to Chair (and now Past Chair)? I started helping organize the yearly education seminar for a few seasons, then I become Vice-Chair for one season before becoming Chair.
What do you think is most valuable about belonging to a section? The networking.
Why is that? I think that networking is very valuable in today's world, from finding a new career to establishing new business relationships. We are very social creatures and always feel better dealing with someone we know directly or through another colleague.
What impact has it had on your career? I can fully credit networking at a local section meeting for my progression into a rewarding career. I met my future boss as a part of the local section executive, and established a rapport that opened a door for me.
What impact has it had on your path within STLE? I am positive my role as Editor of TLT would not have been offered to me had I not networked with other members of the editorial staff, including the outgoing Editor Dr. Maureen Hunter. I usually find the STLE AM the most rewarding work-related activity all year because I look forward to connecting with so many colleagues.
How would you quantify this benefit for those who haven't been to a meeting? That's a hard question. Sometimes a new member arrives at a meeting and they only meet their competitor's customers and they see great value. Other times they only meet their own customers and it is certainly less rewarding on the surface. Once they see the value in being a speaker and being able to have everyone's attention for 30-45 minutes, they start to appreciate the audience even more. As they attend other presentations and expand their knowledge, the value becomes much higher.
How do you encourage networking at your section? We introduce new members to as many other attendees as possible. We work to emphasize new relationships based on matched interests, but do not limit interactions based on these interests.
How do you encourage someone to get involved with their local section (either as a member or volunteer)? I invite them to a monthly meeting with a very applicable topic, so they can see the educational value, and I introduce them to as many folks as I can to show them the networking value.
What are some of your best practices or tips for sections...
Favorite resource that helps you as a section leader/volunteer: the guidance of the past chairs.
You can contact Evan Zabawski via the membership database. For more information, or to suggest an interviewee, contact Kara Sniegowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (847) 825-5536.