Excitement, wonder and anticipation! That’s what I felt the first time I got a laptop as a classroom teacher. I was involved in a grant that offered teachers the opportunity to learn new skills in using technology in the classroom. I embraced the experience with an open mind a desire to make learning fun. I think that’s what made my experience successful. I learned to love teaching all over again. I learned to look for my student’s interests and help develop them. I also learned how to network and what an awesome skill that has been!
My early experience with networking was limited to the teachers I worked with in the building I taught. We were all very busy and sharing resources was limited. When I had time to discuss what I wanted to do and hear what others had done those who I looked up to didn’t have time. How frustrating! Then technology came into my life and the world opened up. I literally had the world at my fingertips. Very empowering! I could find resources online, I became a consumer of the world wide web. Then I discovered social networking. I was cautious at first, then I began to add friends of friends and soon developed a network of awesome women leaders throughout the world.
That’s where the Sisterhood of the Traveling Macs came into my life. We attended a conference called Podstock and instantly bonded. We have experienced many life changing events in the years since we met. We have celebrated successes, mourned losses, held each other up in tough times, laughed at ourselves and discussed deeply how we can change the world. We see each other once a year, maybe, if things work out. The distance, busy schedules and all the other things that can get in the way of bonding just don’t get in our way. Our friendship is maintained by our social network and we are richer for that.
Those experiences brought me to where I am today. I like to pay it forward. I was fortunate to have those wonderful women leaders as guides and mentors and I still look to them for inspiration, guidance, laughter and sometimes just to vent. I am always looking for ways to inspire the women in my life to be what they dream to be. The beauty of technology and social networking is that those I lead and those who lead me are always available.
The next series of blog posts are inspired from:
“What Works with Women at Work” by Williams & Dempsey
Lesson 3. Building and maintaining a network is an integral part of being a successful professional-particularly if you’re a woman. Remember two important rules; One: no random acts of lunch, if you take the time to reach out to somebody, take the time to follow up. Two; networking involves the reciprocal exchange of favors-although the favors (particularly for young women) can be as simple as giving someone else a sense of accomplishment in your success.