Women in Trucking Column

The Value in Networking

Never eat alone and don’t sit with your friends or co-workers. Attend conferences and educational seminars.

By Ellen Voie

Jacquelene Brotherton is a Transport Manager in Australia. She has worked in the trucking industry for over thirty years, and serves on the Transport Women Australia Limited Association. This August she will be visiting Canada and the United States and has planned to meet some of her peers during her stay. She joined Women In Trucking to learn more about our operations and to make contact with trucking industry professionals.
Jacquelene Brotherton understands the value in networking.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines networking as “an extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.” Networking is different from many other relationships as the purpose of the interaction is “mutual assistance or support.”  In other words, networking has a purpose.
We can all use a little help these days. Whether we’re looking for advice, a career move or just someone who understands our perspective, it’s nice to have someone who is willing to offer that encouragement or guidance. That’s the value in networking.
That’s also the value in belonging to an association. Jacqelene joined Women In Trucking so that she can travel outside of Australia to learn about transportation from her counterparts in the US and Canada. Associations offer networking opportunities for people who share similar career or personal aspirations.
For some women in the transportation industry, networking often meant looking for another female face in a crowd of trucking company executives. For female drivers spending their day in the cab of a truck, networking was even more difficult. With a ratio of 20 to one, whether in the truck or the corporate office, women were almost assured of being in the minority at industry events.
So, how can you become more connected?
In his book, “Never Eat Alone,” Keith Ferrazzi offers his tips on how to utilize the power of relationships to further your career.  As you can probably guess by the title, it’s not something that you do on one occasion; it’s a way of life you adopt to make connections for a lifetime. How can you find value in networking?
In addition to being part of an association, a good way to find people who can help you in your career is by attending trade events and conferences, such as the Logistics Quarterly’s Symposium. Find out how others in your industry are coping with the economic challenges. Listen and learn from your peers, from both sides of the border.
You must first determine what you want from your interactions. What is your mission? Are you thinking about expanding your fleet, or are your sights set on climbing the corporate ladder? Write down your goal and identify who can help you reach that ambition and then start networking. Be aware of industry leaders and others who can help you become more successful in your career aspiration.
Ferrazzi suggests that we reach out to our peers, even when we are not in need of their advice or assistance. You never know when someone’s perspective will change the way you look at a problem too. That’s the value in learning from others, and especially from those who have exhibited leadership in your chosen career.
Make sure that you provide value to others so that you have something to offer in the networking relationship.  Be willing to share your knowledge, time and resources and people will be more than happy to reciprocate. An exchange of ideas means that both people are offering advice or viewpoints, and that each one gains something from the interaction. Take advantage of the social events at conferences, as this is the place to develop relationships.
Never eat alone and don’t sit with your friends or co-workers. Attend conferences and educational seminars. Networking means finding fresh faces and exchanging new ideas. Explore opportunities for learning by embracing diversity and opposing viewpoints.
Jacquelene Brotherton understands that one of the benefits of being a member of an association such as Women In Trucking, is the opportunity to network. Finding value in networking will help you become more successful in your career. Consider Ferrazzi’s advice to always look for people and opportunities to network, and remember, never eat alone


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