The Chosen: Who Is in Your Professional Network?
Recently, my wife suggested to me that I watch the TV series, “The Chosen,” which studies Jesus Christ’s life. I was in wonder with facets of this show. One fact that stood out for me was the fact he chose 12 disciples. That alone made me think that every professional in the nonprofit arena needs to have a strong professional network to help them achieve greater success over time.
Networking is establishing, building and nurturing long-term relationships with a variety of individuals from different professional backgrounds to improve your skill set, keep track of the latest industry trends, meet prospective mentors, follow the job market and access career development resources. Experts agree that networking can take your career to a higher level.
“The most empowered and rewarding career is an intentional one,” millennial career coach Ashley Stahl told Time.
She and branding strategist Hannah Morgan suggested having four types of people in your networking system to ensure there is a broad array of individuals that you need to succeed over time.
- The nerve center, who knows everything about everyone
- The mentor, who can offer emotional- or information-based support
- The sponsor, who helps launch you to a higher career level
- The sounding board, who is a listener, helping you think strategically through your problems.
As a nonprofit practitioner, you will have an entrepreneur spirit inside you to various degrees. Chris Schembra, founder of 747 Club, indicates that for your career success, you must have six types of people in your network — boosters, jurors, advisers, partners, collaborators and incentivizers.
To fill these roles, he suggested taking appropriate action to find people in various circles that have the required traits and abilities to provide guidance to you. You need to realize that networking takes time and will evolve. Your career is a journey, and you need to also help individuals that seek to help you. Constantly stay in touch with those in your network. If you feel you have gaps in your network, strive to fill them.
When evaluating individuals that should be part of your network, ProSchool suggested six types of people you must add to your network, beginning today, in this new age of networking. The six kinds of people you must soon have in your network list include the industry expert, the industry insider, the mentor, the mentee, the partner and the connector.
These types of people will fall into three diverse types of groups — those that are close to you on a regular basis, those that you were once close to but no longer and those not in your group but you need them for their special experience or aspired expertise.
Create a well-thought-out approach to the networking process. Rank your contacts in order of importance to your professional goals based upon current relevancy to your goal attainment. Allocate time toward the networking process and take it very seriously.
When considering additional members of your career evolution network, the Muse promoted identifying people that can truly help your professional life and focus on them, including three types of people that you must include in your network today
The visionary that will give you energy and fresh ideas. The realist, who is also experiencing the desire for an improved professional life, will keep you grounded and give you helpful tips. The connector, who keeps the process of networking and networks alive, help you create and maintain a network with a long-term purpose.
Lastly, Forbes emphasized the importance of 10 people that you need to have in your professional network, if success in your career is important to you.
These 10 individuals include the following types with unique expertise:
- Market expert. One who knows a range of industries and trends.
- HR. A person who can give you information on how to secure employment.
- Guardian angel. An individual who looks out for you inside and outside of the organization.
- Board of directors. Understands what you need and its members can provide key support answers.
- Shepherd. A guide within your organization, who knows how to succeed within the organization.
- Change agent. An individual with diverse attitudes and ability to adapt to change.
- Cheerleader. Someone who can encourage you and motivate you.
- Truth teller. Someone who is a devil’s advocate, showing both sides of a situation.
- Connector. Someone who can connect you to people you need at various times, for distinct reasons.
- Recruiters. Someone that knows the job-hunting system and how to survive and thrive.
If you want to have a long and successful professional career in the nonprofit sector, begin developing, or improving, your professional network now. I suggest you begin with a connector.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.