Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT) is a national community network designed to boost women’s participation and advancement in the technology sectors through networking, professional development, mentoring, and advocacy. Its mission is to be the voice of women in technology.
This week, I had the pleasure of attending yet another informative and inspiring CanWIT BC breakfast, which was held in conjunction with Tech•Days Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre (November 15 & 16).
The guest speaker, Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie, is currently CEO of Inventure Solutions and Facilities and Senior VP of Information Technology at Vancity. Among her many accolades, Dr. Boivie has been named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women (2009), Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network, and received an award in the “Trailblazers and Trendsetters” category, which recognizes women who have made a great contribution to Canadian society, by either being first in their field or having made a major impact in their field.
Dr. Boivie spoke on the importance of networking and shared the following:
1. Your mother was wrong. It is okay to talk to strangers.
2. Before arriving at an event, do a quick check: are you carrying at least 10 business cards with you?
3. Have your elevator pitch ready. You should be able to tell someone you’ve just met three things that will matter to them and that will make you memorable.
4. Network with a purpose. Besides meeting people and enjoying a few drinks or appies, go out on a limb (e.g. if your business in need of a tax advisor, put it out there).
5. Be confident; sell your accomplishments.
6. Know what you want and then ask for it.
7. Know what matters to you. Establish goals, live by them, embody them. People will notice.
8. When speaking with others, find some common ground.
9. In any networking relationship, remember to give as much as you take.
10. Keep track of who you’ve met (make brief notes on the back of business cards) and follow up.
Additional golden nuggets worth mentioning:
1. Women have a hard time talking to people and asking for feedback. Yet we are always asking people for recommendations on movies, restaurants, travel…why are we so afraid to ask for feedback?
2. Consider hiring a coach. A good coach will ask you whether you’ve thought things through or whether the issue on hand is really that important to you.
3. If you screw up (and you eventually will), give yourself three minutes to beat yourself up and then let it go…for good.
Final thoughts…networking is invigorating. You may not think at seven o’clock in the morning or at the end of a long day, but I always find that meeting other motivated individuals reminds me of my goals and helps me focus on what matters to me…with that, happy networking!
CanWIT is growing its membership and you’re encouraged to join this group of passionate, highly engaged, and motivated women. CanWIT BC’s next event, “Working with influencers in the age of social media” takes place November 23 at the SFU Beedie School of Business’ Segal Campus, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver.
More information can be found on CanWIT’s website http://www.catawit.ca/home/.