This week, I attended an energy conference at the MIT media lab as a poster presenter (how I got to be there has to do with Anon’s post on applying applying applying here). At first, I was vaguely annoyed that i was going to lose valuable working time to stand around talking to people. But in actuality it was an exciting opportunity, and afforded me the opportunity to spend some time talking to people outside of my usual network- AKA, not architects, planners, or my cat.
Normally, I think of networking as obnoxious buzzword, and people that are interested in networking as vaguely obnoxious. But the conference, a forum on women in clean energy (my poster was on climate adaptation planning) provided a venue for what networking has the potential to be- dynamic conversations with people from different backgrounds, who might have new perspective on things I’m interested in.
For example, I connected with a Massachusetts state employee interested in passing along my research to a co-worker working on the state’s climate adaptation document. I met a developer who had built a condo with a firm I am interested in (Utile). And I met a MIT material science PhD who told me that their department had a METAL 3D PRINTER. Oh, and someone in her department had invented it, NBD.
These super interesting, and ambitious people set my mind spinning with all the exciting potential collaborations and work we could produce with our combined perspectives and skill sets.
The whole event really shifted my perception on what networking (the expansion of one’s personal/professional network) can be. And, I learned something important- I really need to get some business cards printed!