Since my “semi retirement” from Molson Coors in December of 2104 I have stepped up my “networking” activity substantially. When you are in the day to day stream of every day business there are natural limitations to the time that one can actually invest in networking. One advantage of setting up one’s own shop is that the time command is somewhat more in my control.

One of the commitments that I made to myself was that I was going to get out and network more. In my 30 years at Molson Coors I always believed in an open door approach and willingness to meet with prospective candidates for jobs, on an informational basis. I can remember early days in my career pursuits where people extended that opportunity to me. While in the corporate world,  I felt that it was important to assist those in the career pursuits who may or may not have understood a job posting – or who may needed to ask more questions about their “fit” for a particular position. Networking introduced me to people interested in our business and connected us with our broader community.

I found great resources for networking through the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) and the CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society). From a professional communications perspective, these two “associations” are a great place to start for people interested in widening their network in public affairs.

In recent months I have had the opportunity to meet with a wide range of leaders, entrepreneurs, recent grads and current college, university and high school students. I have been truly intrigued by the entrepreneurial mind set that many of these “go getters” have demonstrated to me in our conversations. This networking has also helped me expand from my natural base.

I have found that many of these networking opportunities have flowed through introductions on linkedIN. LinkedIN has proved to be a great resource for getting back in touch with people and connecting with people across a range of businesses. My Twitter feed and Facebook networks have also provided for some introductions and introductions.

I have also been intrigued and inspired by the work that is being done by the folks @10KcoffeesTen Thousand Coffees. When you search them you will see “Ten Thousand Cofffees – Unlock Opportunity”. They call it “democratizing the coffee experience”. It puts current business leaders face to face with future leaders and youth in pursuit of their dreams, or perhaps an answer about their interests and career pursuits. It brings two groups together that may not have necessarily found a natural networking moment. Take a look and join up, whether you are in pursuit or have some knowledge to share.

This past week I joined up with my associates at NATIONAL Public Relations in Toronto to host a “meet up” for #10kcoffees14 where we had a conversation over lunch (thanks David, Emily and Anne) about all things communications. We had people in the room interested in government relations, public relations, marketing and community engagement. It was a wonderful meet up to share ideas on these fronts, and most importantly, answer questions that these young aspiring leaders had on their minds. This networking forum, thanks to @10Kcoffees, has started some new conversations about opportunities for those in attendance. It has also broadened the network for those of us attending.

So…my musing here is simply to plant a networking seed with you in your continued or more active pursuit of networking in your community. Whether it is in pursuit of career opportunity, connecting with your community, getting involved in a political campaign or just pursuing an interest that has always been on your mind; I am sure that you will find it a rewarding experience. What is your favourite networking experience or forum ? @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork