A twenty-something girl's take on the world.

Too old to know better & too young to give a damn.

Never Stop Learning.

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Learning is a part of living

One thing I have come to appreciate over the last few years is gaining fun and fresh knowledge through the experiences of others. Learning through others is a priceless and beneficial resource. I love to learn. “If you’re not learning, you’re not living. Learning new, interesting things is part of education, and guest speakers are often overlooked as one of the better sources. If the guest speaker happens to be a thought leader and influential figure in the field of your study, that’s even more valuable!

unnamed-1Guest speakers

Last week, in my digital portfolio class, we had a guest speaker – Cameron Brenchley. Cameron is the Vice President at Collabortative Communications Group. Cameron previously worked for the U.S. Department of Education as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Communications and also as the Director of Digital Strategy. In between his positions at the U.S. Department of Education, he worked as the Senior Digital Strategist for The White House. Prior to this, he worked for the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the United States Air Force. Cameron’s impressive work history had me very intrigued to hear his story! One of the topics of discussion was what it was like to work at the White House, including the daily highs and lows, the stresses, restrictions and benefits.

Something I found interesting was that Cameron studied at Valdosta State University for History. Cameron explained that his intentions were to become a lawyer, but then life happened, opportunities came along and just like that, his path in life changed. From there, Cameron received his masters in Legislative Affairs from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. Immediately after our Skype session with Cameron was over, I tweeted him a thank you and connected with him on LinkedIn, in hopes of building a relationship with him.

Network, network, network

NetworksandSystems_1435913398.jpgAside from educational purposes, guest speakers also serve as a great means of networking. It’s important to connect with your guest speakers and keep in touch, because a lot of times, those connections can lead to future opportunities! Building and maintaining beneficial relationships is the key to successful networking. President of the New York Stock Exchange, Tom Farley, wrote an article for Fortune.com to shed some light on the importance of networking. Farley said, “Sometimes it’s individuals outside your immediate network that end up offering the advice you need to propel your career forward.” Farley also noted that every job he’s ever had, including his current position with New York Stock Exchange, he owes to networking. After walking out of a business meeting in Atlanta with the current Chairman of the NYSE, Jeff Sprecher, in 2001, Farley made it a point to find reasons and ways to stay in touch with Jeff. At the time, Jeff wasn’t a beneficial source for Farley, but networking is all about collecting relationships with interesting or influential people irrespective of the immediate benefit of these relationships. Five years down the road, Jeff’s business acquired the New York Board of Trade and he asked Farley to serve as President of this newly acquired business. Two years after that, Farley was asked to lead the New York Stock Exchange.

The point is, had Farley not spent five years staying in touch with Jeff via email and phone calls, do you think he would be where he’s at today? Always make it a point to connect and keep in contact with influential professionals within your industry or field of study!

4 thoughts on “Never Stop Learning.

  1. Having guests speakers I feel is the best way to make these connections while we’re in college. Not being out in the field yet (for most of us) means that it’s really hard to make connections outside of conferences (if we attend them). It’s great that you’re tweeting to those who are guest speakers as well as connecting with them on LinkedIn afterward. Like Cameron, you never know what path your life might take and having connections in every which way might be helpful later in life! That’s a great step you’re taking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your constant creativity with your blog as well as other projects you do inspires me! I think it’s awesome that you immediately make an effort to connect with everyone you meet on LinkedIn. LinkedIn alone has helped me get my first internship over the summer, and has assisted with other employers reaching out to me for internships as well. I feel as if Networking is one of the best things we can do today. We’re also fortunate as students to have the chance of hearing so many credible guest speakers!

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  3. Hi Paula! Great job with your blog! I absolutely agree that many people do overlook guest speakers as being influential thought leaders that help college students learn something new. Ever since taking Dr. Ai’s PR Ethics, I have learned that guest speakers are so beneficial to teach students that through the power of networking and diligent work, we can achieve success as long as we strive hard to make connections and make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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