"Networking is not about just connecting people. It's about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities." - Michele Jennae.
The quote mentioned above resonates with my journey as a graduate intern at PPS, which I sometimes liken to a rollercoaster ride. Just like a rollercoaster, the ride has its highs and lows, curves and bends, but once the ride is over and you’ve gotten off, you feel brave, relieved and proud that you stuck through it. This Graduate Internship Development Programme has taught me so much about life as a professional, and so much more about my character, strengths and weaknesses. I truly believe that I’ve been challenged, and throughout the teachings derived from engaging with others, I have also sharpened my mind and broadened my knowledge.
Being an intern has been an experience that has granted me the opportunity to meet and surround myself with prolific professionals. These are individuals who have not only imparted great knowledge to me, but have also supported my goals, aspirations, and ultimately led me to understand that nothing happens overnight. It’s about consistency, diligence and determination.
From the moment I stepped into this role, there was an important process that was taking place – whether it was when interacting with my peers who are part of the programme or being introduced to colleagues across the business. This is when - even though I did not realise it at that point - I was networking! My understanding thereof was that it’s a process where one gets to connect with people with the intent of actively and deliberately building relationships of trust and transparency so that goals and aspirations can be achieved. From the premise, I can attest that networking has helped me establish new and fruitful relationships with like-minded individuals who have collaborated with me during the process of exchanging valuable information and applied knowledge.
Over the past couple of months, I have had several interactions that have influenced me to come out of my shell and understand the value of letting others know the kind of asset I am. As a result, this has come to be one of the most important lessons I’m grateful for, because for someone who had started working as an intern, I can confidently say that networking is an empowerment tool.
As I reflect on the events that have led me to become confident within the workplace, I am grateful for honing my networking skills because the benefits thereof are endless. Simply put, as a parting shot to those who are to follow - engage and immerse yourself in dialogue, create sustainable relationships and always remain teachable.
- Kimlynn Kelly