Monday, November 24, 2008

A Perfect Networking Opportunity

On Friday November 21st the Tutor/Mentor Connection hosted the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference at the Chicago Field Museum. This conference provided an abundant amount of opportunities for each and every person who attended the conference. There were numerous workshops, panels, and two very good keynote speakers at this conference. Attendees of the conference had the opportunity to attend these workshops and panels and not only obtain very beneficial information, but attendees had the opportunity to share information about their personal lives and about the various programs that they are apart of as well.
Another key feature of the conference was the ability to take part in workshops that were relevant to a person's own interests. If a person was looking to get more information about how to evaluate their own program, how to recruit and retain volunteers and students, and/or how to raise money during the holiday season, that person had the opportunity to get all of that information in just one day at the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference!

This conference had something in it for any and everybody who is or wants to be apart of this field; from a person who is looking to start their own tutor/mentor program to a person who has been in this field for more than 20 years, the conference provided information and opportunities that can and will be beneficial. Besides the workshops, panels, and the keynote speakers one of the biggest advantages of attending the conference came in the form of just being able to network!
As the Administrative Coordinator of a tutor/mentor program I know that I do not have all of the answers to build a 'perfect' program, have all of the knowledge it takes to obtain 100% attendance rates for all mentors and mentees, nor do I have all of the skills to get a million dollar donation, but at the conference I was able to surround myself with people who could assist me and the Cabrini Connections' staff in those areas and more!

As the title states, "A Perfect Networking Opportunity," the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference was just that! In my experience alone I was able to get a resume from a former Social Worker who is looking for work and hopefully get her an interview at a Social Service agency in the Chicago area, I was able to connect two people/programs to an NU alum and former football player who is a writer, I was able to get more information on how to successfully recruit and retain volunteers and students, I was able to get information on how to successfully evaluate students on more than just academics but on the 'soft skills' as well, and as a result of this conference I was able to meet, interact, and build what I hope is a lot of future partnerships with what I call professional colleagues.
True, there are many arenas and ways in which people can network in this field, but I have to say, and I'm sure others that attended will say, that the two conferences that the Tutor/Mentor Connection hosts each year is one of the best ways in which to not only get information and meet other dedicated professionals in this field, but also one of the best ways to build upon those relationships to provide more and even better tutor/mentor programs throughout the world!
So I hope that all of the people who attended this conference will use this as a way to do more for tutor/mentor programs with the use of collaborative efforts and will find a way to attend the next conference in May. And when that conference does take place, be able to share all of the success stories that took place as a result of this November conference.

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