Networking Across Canada
People who work in learning and development help others grow, but many feel their own growth may have to depend on how big their own L&D department is. Not so for a consultant like Anita Gouveia; as the sole person of learning at Panalpina, she looked for others to get her support and resources from. “Who can I bounce ideas off of?” she asked herself.
She found The Institute for Performance and Learning and got plugged in. “By luck of the draw, they were recruiting at the time,” Gouveia says. She joined i4pl’s executive in Peel-Halton and several years later, became their chair. Across the country, Joanne Brown had a similar story. She joined the Vancouver & BC chapter in 2010 and a vacancy in the executive allowed her to take the lead as the chair the following year.
“The challenge is you’re always on your own. As a member, being able to connect with people who speak the same language as I do, understand the same challenges and offer suggestions…I was looking for that community.” And Brown found it when she joined i4pl in Vancouver.
“It’s really a family…unlike so many other industries, we support each other and offer a ‘leg up’ whenever possible,” she says. In the world of learning, people are more inclined to say “You know what works for me? Try this! I love that culture of sharing and helping each other out.”
Although that sharing in the network happen during local chapter gatherings, Gouveia doesn’t think you can get that level of networking just from attending events. “Being part of the executive has brought that network to me,” she says. As an attendee of conference or an event, you might go for the learning content and leave with 10 new contacts and friends. The connections are more far and wide as an chapter leader: they likely already know 50 people going in from their local events and leave knowing 100, including speakers and volunteers from across Canada. The role itself has “people coming to you,” Brown says.
That’s the unique opportunity for a chapter leader to build bridges and be a connector. Gouveia has brought in members to do Twitter or other types of training in her organization. Tisha Parker Kemp, a leader in Nova Scotia says one of the most gratifying aspects of her role is building a bridge between others – such as introducing a client with a potential training provider. “Like most people in L&D, it’s all about helping individuals, and fostering that growth happens in different ways.”
Not to mention that it “looks great on a resume and on LinkedIn,” Brown adds. “It shows your commitment and involvement in the industry and that you have your finger on the pulse of what’s cutting edge.” Chapter leaders also get discounts on PD events, conference and the workplace P&L designation (CTDP/CTP). They are responsible for promoting the profession across Canada as well as elevating the standards of practice through the designation.
If you’re looking to get more out of your chapter, or are interested in going behind the scenes and directing the content of your local chapter events, connecting others, or connecting with other well-connected, seasoned P&L professionals, consider getting involved in your local chapter’s executive team!
- Peel-Halton is looking for an energetic executive member to bring in ideas, shake things up, be innovative and show different perspectives.
- Nova Scotia is looking for an executive member who is good at outreach and committee member to help with professional development.
- Vancouver & BC Mainland is looking for an executive members to organize events, another for certification and another for member outreach.
- Regina is looking for directors of programming and membership.
- Toronto is looking for committees to assist with PD events, networking, member outreach, communications and certification.
- Montreal is looking for energetic and committed individuals to drive valuable and educational events.
- Newfoundland-Labrador is looking for an energetic individual to develop and grow the chapter and community.
- Manitoba is looking for someone to join the executive who can help with outreach, as well as members-at-large to help with various activities including events, networking and certification.
The Institute for Performance and Learning is a professional association connecting and developing workplace learning and development professionals. Become a member today and access dozens of professional development and networking opportunities, cutting-edge business research and a community of practice, right where you are.