Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Black, Corporate and Greek: Part 2 (Networking)

The Black Greek Letter Organization (BGLO) network is as much a professional network as it is a social network. First and foremost, the brothers or sisters of your organization are potential mentors, colleagues, recommenders and clients. Then there is the larger Black Greek community whose members may serve the same functions. In the corporate world, there are so few of "us" that we look out for each other, especially amongst fellows BGLO members.

**Those petty differences that we chant about on the yard do not matter in the office.**

So how do you get connected?

1. Join an alumni/ae chapter. "Join" means show up to chapter meetings, pay dues, and support a few programs. We're not in college anymore. Family and careers come first, but chapter involvement may be a good career move as well as fulfilling the pledge you made when joining.

2. Wear your sorority/fraternity pin to networking events. It's an easy conversation starter and much more subtle than wearing a line jacket. The pin should fit the occasion and pair well with the outfit you are wearing.

3. Bring your BGLO up in conversation. Let's be clear, this should only be done if it is on topic and highlights your leadership or service experience. Randomly dropping your BGLO out of context without anything to further the conversation will be unhelpful and awkward.

4. Go to Convention/Clave/Cave (whatever they're calling it). Go to the national and regional meetings of your organization and make an effort to meet new people while you are there. These trips are often expensive and time consuming, but they are also fertile ground for professional networking.

Lex Reflects:

Her name was Stacy. I met her at a networking event for Black women in my profession. Have you ever met someone and instantly connected? We talked, we introduced each other to people we knew in the room, and we even went around meeting new people together. I had come to this event straight from work and not really knowing what to expect, but Stacy and I had the networking piece on lock and we had just met.

The second half of the evening was a panel discussion and dinner. Of course, Stacy and I sat together. The moderator announced that one of the speakers was in my sorority. We made our "call" at the same time and looked at each other in shock. "You too?!"

Stacy was an amazing person I met who also happened to be my Soror and now she is a dear friend and professional contact. Keep your ears and minds open while networking.

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If you missed our first post, click here: Part 1 (The Resume)

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