COM0015 – Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Although this program is related to social media, my professional network going forward will be primarily focused on the career change that I am currently undergoing. I recently obtained my Human Resources certificate and want to start studying to be a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) in August. 

Currently, my professional in person network is limited to the people I interact with through work or roller derby. My online network is LinkedIn which although updated, I have no problem admitting, I don’t use often as I should. I’m aware that I will need to use it more going forward in order to achieve my networking goals. The strategy I will use to develop my professional network online and in person is getting more involved in the HR community. When possible, I work closely with the Human Resources Coordinator at my work. This allows me to apply the knowledge I’ve learned before transitioning into the field. I currently work for a tourism agency which falls under the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport. My position allows me to interact with employees who work at a much higher level than myself. Getting my name out there and making a good impression is extremely important as I continue my career as an Ontario Public Servant (OPS).


In the next 6-12 months, I want to job shadow a CHRP within the OPS. I have spoken to my employer and she supports this initiative. I’m excited to interact with another Human Resources Professional in a different Ministry. I have been with my current employer for 7 years and I would like to learn about how HR functions are done in a different environment. Once designated, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) holds professional development events. ​​​​​​​​HRPA’s Professional Development programs “provide members and others with high-performance learning experiences designed to help members meet the demands of an ever-changing and increasingly global work environment”.  Events touch upon topics such as hours of work and overtime, principles & practices, onboarding, employee notice period, etc. The type of events ranges from in-person seminars, certificates, and webcasts.

From a social media standpoint, I should and want to get more involved on LinkedIn. I would like to get more connections and interact with others in the field of HR. This includes commenting on related articles and the posts people are sharing.


COMM0015: Assignment 5: Professional Development: “Creating Better Brand Content… All Year Long” Webinar

In today’s day and age, it is critical to be consistently educating yourself on the latest trends in technology and marketing.

I attended a webinar December 13th called “Create Better Brand Content… All year Long” put on by Annemaria Nicholson of Cision and Kerry O’Shea Gorgone of MarketingProfs.

The webinar was approximately about one hour, discussing how to plan content better in 2017, including being aware of possible legal pitfalls when posting social media content.

For social media success, it’s critical to have a plan in place. Kerry O’Shea Gorgone highlighted some key components of a good plan. This includes:

  1. Committing to establishing a timeline for promoting on all social channels.
  2. Catalog proposed projects.
  3. Examine Data & determine the bandwidth. For example, key performance indicators may include past overall performance, landing page views, downloads.
  4. Execute your vision. Plan sequenced content across channels while factoring in other calendar considerations (i.e. holidays, personal days, etc.).

Gargone argues it’s critical to have original rich content which should link back to the original website.

While it’s good to plan out content, one thing I was very appreciative about this webinar, was addressing possible legal issues.


webinar photo 1.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Adam Johnston 


These issues include:

  1. Copyright, including posting pictures to a social media site. One example is photos in the Creative Commons. Although some photos maybe “ok” to use from the Creative Commons, the panelists argued that some of these photos may be stolen, and face copyright concerns. They recommend creating your images and video to prevent potential copyright concerns.
  2. Streaming Video: with the rise of live video platforms including Periscope and Facebook Live, it’s easy for many to create their live video show. However, there are some possible quagmires, as noted by both Gorgone and Nicholson, including, filming in a very public area, accidentally filming company documents scattered all over the table, or marking board. Both panelists suggest filming in an area where there is no company documents or company information which could be breached by live streaming video.

Unfortunately, the webinar did not allow an opportunity to connect with others but was just limited to question and answers. If there is one major concern I have with many webinars is the lack of interaction between other participants.

Nonetheless, I thought this was a good professional development exercise, which I will take to heart heading into 2017.

COMM0015: Blog Post 3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

In today’s connected world, professional networking is the go to action when looking for work. Back in the old days, one could send in a resume, and get a job with just their skills. Now, professional networking is almost a necessary evil to get a job.

Today with social media, it’s easy to get into the professional networking craze. The most successful is LinkedIn, which boasts around 467 million users as of late October 2016, and attracts two new members per second.


LinkedIn Photo Post.png

Image Courtesy of Adam Johnston 


Other professional networking sites currently available to boost their career and business contacts, include Viadeo, and Xing, which gives many options for those who want to get into professional networking without just using LinkedIn, the most popular professional networking site.

Currently, for professional networking, I use LinkedIn, has been minimal at best. There has been lots of debate on the usefulness of professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Many recommend professional networking to move careers forward. Others have been critical to suggest sites like LinkedIn, do not create the interaction like Facebook, or Twitter.

However, professional networking sites do have an advantage because they are just that: professional networking sites. They are not there to discuss your kid’s tooth or that ugly Christmas sweater. These sites are for building careers, and businesses. Which is good.

Over the next twelve months, I plan to diversify my professional networking strategy. I am finding LinkedIn and online is limited. I look to use other professional networking sites, including Viadeo, to expand professional contacts, along with LinkedIn, outside of Winnipeg.

I will look to develop more local contacts, by using more. allows users to set up groups related to their interests, and plan events around the groups. With many groups focused on technology and entrepreneurship in Winnipeg, there is potential to grow my network locally, rather than just using LinkedIn.

What role does professional networking on social media have for you? Is it over-rated like some critics suggest? Do the benefits exceed the costs?


Post 3 – COM0015 – Professional Networking

Networking helps to put the pieces together.
Putting the Pieces Together

‘The more things change the more they stay the same’. This is a phrase that was coined in 1849 (source) and remains very true today. In spite of the technological world that we live in that reduces the virtual distance that exists between us – It does not change the fact that humans are social creatures. These technologies help to facilitate connections and community growth but people still need that face to face contact. In such a cluttered business and non profit environment – that personal interactive networking can mean everything.

My community is the Military Family Community. My role in this community is as a ‘seasoned’ spouse that has been through multiple deployments and long absences, many many moves, and even a three year posting separated from my husband for the sake of the kids. I feel that young people need an advocate and if I can assist in any way I would like to do that.

When we first moved to Ottawa I felt very isolated. We had always lived on Army bases where networking was built into daily life. Mess functions and Family days were frequent, and because the communities were so small, chances were that you were able to make an instant connection with your neighbour. The military community in Ottawa is spread across many communities without a vector for connection.

I stated a group. Military Families live on Facebook. The connection was easy. The group started small and has grown immensely, but what has made us different is the frequent meet ups that our group has. I organize monthly speaker breakfasts that are very well attended, welcome nights and games nights. All these events help people to find their way in their new community, assisting them to make connections of their own.

I started a blog. was born out of the group, designed to provide information to help families that was painfully lacking. Services and programs have been put in place to help but there hasn’t been a comprehensive way of getting this information to young families. This was the purpose of the blog.

Networking. in 2014 I was able to go to a True Patriot Love Conference on the Military Family. This was an exceptional two day forum that is still continuing to assist me moving forward with my group to this day. I was able to make many personal connections that have not only helped me with finding speakers for my group, but also to increase my credibility within my community. Once you have one federal director come to speak then it becomes easier to convince others that your group is worthwhile and that they should come to speak as well.  I would not have been able to get the Ombudsman’s office to come if I wasn’t able to say that we have already had Military Family Services, and Dependent Education Management.

Plan for the next 6 – 12 months. The group has become its own networking opportunity for the people that come to these events. I host speaker events once per month, and have social evenings 4 times per year. We also run coffee mornings and games evenings. These are already scheduled for the following year.

Personal growth. While networking within my existing community is wonderful, I feel that I need to continue to embrace new learning situations as they arise. I recently took a two day Mental Health First Aid course. This allowed me to meet people from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. I also attended the Military Mental Health Research Symposium, allowing me to meet people from the Personal Support Program as well as some defense research scientists. I would really like to attend the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) conference in July 2017 in Washington DC. Education for military families is sadly lacking as children are perpetually playing catch up as they move from one provincial curriculum to another. The MCEC conference will be a fantastic opportunity to learn how the United States has tackled this same problem.

I do not get paid for any of this so I am not sure it can be called ‘Professional’ Networking, but I have found that I seem to be fulfilling a niche within my community, and hopefully helping younger families navigate the rocky waters of a Military Life.

COM0015 – Blog #3: Professional Networking now and in the future

Professional networking is very important in the development of a career. I don’t think it matters what field you are in, with a little bit of networking your resources and networks can grow and open up opportunities for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are the CEO of a company or someone lower on the totem pole, networking is important.

I think as communications professionals, networking is super important because the bigger the network, the more contacts you have to discuss strategies and projects, and also can possibly get a heads up from if they know a big story is coming down the pipeline.

Networking is important to me and it is one of the reasons I have continued my membership with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).  The local chapters hold great networking events to get local communicators in the same room, networking and discussing important topics. I used to attend these events regularly but as my career has expanded I found it difficult to continue them. I do plan and try to get out to more events in the next year, as I made a lot of connections in those early events, some that have helped me with job positions in their company and some have shared important advice.

While searching for some good external resources to source in this blog, I came across the following video that discusses the importance of networking and belonging to professional associations/organizations. It is a bit dated but I think the message is still important and valid.


On top of attending IABC events in person, I also plan on taking part in a few more of their online networking events. One event that I enjoy participating in is their weekly Twitter chats #CommChat.


I plan to continue to participate in these events as it allows me to interact with people across North America and also gives me great resources and tools for which I can expand my skills set.

On top of the IABC networking I plan to also take part in more of the networking opportunities that my place of employment offers. These are a great way to meet new contacts within my organization, but also increase my knowledge on a topic that relates to my job.

COM0015 Blog #3 Professional Networking




As someone ongoing a career transition, I have spent a great deal of time over the past few months refining my networking approach both in person and online.

IN PERSON: Taking the advice of a career coach I was working with, I prepared a list of professional contacts who might be able to help me in my job search.  I then met with those on my list and asked not only for their advice but also for suggestions for other individuals I should meet with.  Through these referrals/ introductions I have broadened my professional network. I am aware of the importance of in person networking and have attended several networking events in search of new contacts.

ONLINE: My Twitter was heavily oriented towards my former career, over the past few months I have broadened the range of accounts I follow on social media. I have also joined several online communities such as Kids in the Capital and Yummy Mummy to broaden my online network. I have also found several online communities oriented to those looking for new employment opportunities, Peter’s New Jobs, Powertofly, Upwork and CharityVillage are all excellent resources, which not only provide job postings but also assist with professional development through online and in person networking opportunities and webinars.



COM0015: Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking


Hello…My Name is…

Prior to a couple of years ago, I’d never really considered the professional opportunities that can surround blogging and health advocacy. I don’t run a business and I had been completely oblivious to the networking opportunities that could lead to paid writing, guest posts and reciprocal sharing of resources. This has been widely regarded as a big mistake.

Sure, I had set up a personal account on LinkedIn. However, I’ve not yet made a “business” page for Lupus Interrupted. Sure, I had some cards made up that I could hand out…but it was mostly willy-nilly and, frankly, thrust upon my family and friends in the dire hope that *maybe* THEY would hand them out if they happened to meet someone who might be interested in health, advocacy, or just for kicks’n’giggles.

Then came the opportunity for me to attend the Social Capital Conference in 2013. I had had my first opportunity to professionally network not just online…but in the REAL. This is where my nemesis resides…in the social anxiety that finds me ordering pizza online, and texting or emailing friends. Go, Go SocialAnxiety Girl! *cape flailing behind* Not only did I survive my first trial by fire of meeting people I had connected with regularly online, I was able to meet handfuls more who were genuinely interested in the concept of health advocacy and blogging. I had started to understand that blogging, itself, was taken seriously, not in the ad-hoc manner in which I’d previously thought.

Having attended the conference also expanded my perspective about networking. Whereas I had previously been connecting with, obviously, people in the health industry, advocacy, or even parenting, I was negating the opportunities to network with social media specialists, digital marketing professionals and even niches like Ottawa event coordinators or local business owners.

Unfortunately, the conference is not running, and more unfortunate is that the one I would *love* to attend, BlogHer, is held out-of-city and to coordinate attending within the chaos of my reality is mind numbing. So, I’ve been looking at even smaller gatherings hosted locally and have even found workshops held at the local libraries.

My future really needs to see more of the nurturing of my online networking. I verily believe that this will increase the opportunities available for more exposure and awareness. I need to broaden my perspective to include new audiences to network with that I may have previously disregarded.

Strategy? This is a very new concept, to actually put goals into words and words into actions. I will regularly be checking sites like EventBrite for local social networking events and better plan around the chaos to ensure my ability to attend. Online, I have included a broader target audience to include more local connections, and to use the #Ottawa on my posts and in my searches/filters in order to add valuable connections across all platforms where Lupus Interrupted can be found.

What has been an unexpected obstacle that you’ve encountered in your professional networking endeavours?

Assignment #5 – Event Participation Blog – Building a Website and Online Presence

Building a Website and an Online Presence – September 8, 2015 – 12:30 – 2:30 pminvest

 While looking for a professional development event online I found a fantastic organization Invest Ottawa. Invest Ottawa’s mission is “to make Ottawa the best place in Canada to start and grow a business.” They offer business seminars and workshops on a variety of topics ranging from business planning, web design, marketing, human resources, legal issues, importing/exporting and financing. They are targeted to entrepreneurs and small business owners and are run by experienced professionals wanting to share their knowledge. The best part is a lot of these workshops are free!

silkI attended a workshop, “Building a Website and an Online Presence,” which was hosted by Invest Ottawa and SiLK Web Solutions. I chose this event because I am very interested in learning more about website design. I have recently started my own blog and I wanted to learn more about building a user friendly website. I also figured the building an online presence portion would tie nicely into what we have learned in our courses in the Social Media program. It was also going to be touching on SEO best practices which I find very interesting in creating my own website. Our teacher, Sarah Green, from SiLK Web Solutions was fantastic! She was so knowledgeable and very patient with all of our questions! Her presentation was very well thought out, easy to understand and very informative.

picsWe learned a lot and had many ideas that we could take away.  We learned the importance of having a dynamic website instead of a static website. Sarah taught us the importance of PLAN when planning our website. P stands for prepare – who is your audience? L stands for landscape – what kind of site do you want? A stands for Aesthetics – what colours and images do you want? N stands for Navigation – what pages do you need for a good visitor experience – site map. Sarah said that when planning a website we should have the majority of our information above the fold (the area before you have to scroll). I found this very interesting, as I had not considered it before, but even from personal experience it makes sense. Sarah did a fantastic job walking us through the whole process from creating a site, launching a site and finally marketing a site. She also stressed the importance of social media and keeping fresh content throughout our online presence. While at the event I heard two quotes that stood out. One about our websites and online presence, “Rethink, Refresh and Revise.” Sarah explained we should always be changing and re-evaluating our online presence. The other quote I really liked was at the end of the workshop.  Sarah reminded us, “Always be giving back to your community – you cannot always be taking!” She offers this course monthly for free to give back to the community that has brought her so much success! I thought this was a great reminder and something important to keep in mind.

Attending this event allowed me to build my professional network by meeting some local entrepreneurs. I had a chance to learn about their businesses and ideas. I also had a chance to share about my business idea and my blog. One of the ladies I spoke with even offered to take a look at my site and help me build my use of keywords for SEO. I also was able to tap into their experiences so far in becoming entrepreneurs. I suggested we exchange contact information for a meet up in a months’ time to talk about our experiences implementing the strategies we learned at the workshop. I look forward to being able to tap into these new connections and learn from their experiences and expertise!

picI also had a chance to speak with some of the other instructors about classes they would be teaching that would be coming up in November. One of the classes is about building great content that is optimized for SEO but also content that people want to read. I also head about another course being offered in November for Google Analytics, taught by David Bird. I am very excited to take these courses when the time comes.

I will definitely attend a similar event in the future and I already have a few on my radar. I think these events are so fantastic and they are free which is awesome! I love that they are run by industry leaders in our own community! I also love that they are attended by like-minded people who are interested in learning more about the industry. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and build a professional network. It is also a great opportunity to learn more from these knowledgeable people. I highly recommend you check out Invest Ottawa for courses that may interest you!



Blog no 2. – LinkedIn for business – COM0011

Blog number 2 – COM0011
LinkedIn – Social Networking for Business

Many of you are familiar with LinkedIn (LI), a professional networking site. Last week, Algonquin College hosted a speaker from LI, who delivered a presentation about it. The presenter, Donna Alexander, works for the company and so naturally has a favourable bias toward it. Still, points from her presentation entitled “The Power of LinkedIn” about building your profile, developing your network, and marketing yourself resonated with me. I’ve summarized key ones below.

The speaker cited a number of statistics: some 48% of traffic on LI is on mobile. 13 per cent of LI members are students and recent grads, and 49 per cent of LI users are in North and South America.

According to Ms. Anderson, some 10 million of members out of 19 million professionals in Canada are on LI, as are over 200,000 students and recent graduates in Canada, and more than 200 post-secondary institutions in Canada.

First of all, she noted it is important to get your profile right. This starts with having a good, professional photograph. According to Ms. Alexander recruiters are much more receptive to hiring those who have an appropriate, business-like photo of themselves.

Next, choose an appropriate, engaging headline as part of your profile. This is a key part of marketing yourself in a professional light. Don’t forget, she says, to play up your education and experience in your profile, including volunteer work which can be used to help flesh out a resume that may be short of actual paid work experience. Try for a 100% completion of your profile, she says, to maximize the effectiveness of your brand.

Other ideas for enhancing your presence on LI include using your inbox (messages you receive from other LI members) to comment. This will help bolster your credentials as an influencer or thought leader on LI. You can also join various professional online groups – there may be one related to your educational program – that will help boost your networking and personal marketing potential.

Through LI you can provide and accept “endorsements”. These are essentially testimonials from others about your skills and expertise. Receiving these testimonials from others — and offering to return the favour to others as appropriate – is a good way of strengthening your network.

Ms. Alexander did sound a few cautionary notes. LI is not the place, she advises, to get into “TMI” – too much information. Whether it’s politics or religion, or other controversial topics (including your last blowout party in residence), LI is not the place.  Save them for your “latest and greatest” post on a personal social media site.

How do you see LI as a recruiting tool in your job search?


COM0015 – Post 3 – Professional Networking: Now and in the Future

I must say I am very excited to be able to actually make a strategy to develop my professional network. With my 2014 accelerated pursuit of 26 online courses, my network (and my life) was on hold for the last year. Now that I am down to my final course, I can finally lift my head and see what is happening around me. The biggest question is where to start…

QuestionPeopleOne priority is to refresh my image on various social media platforms, as well as my website to bring them up to date and align them with my current outlook. The past year has offered me personal success and improvements which need to be incorporated into my online profile. My company needs a fresh face for reintroduction.

An important step is to reconnect with my pre-existing contacts and forums to let them all know that I have completed my studies, what I am up to now, what has changed and where I am headed. I also want to know what has been happening with them, what I have missed, and bring myself up to date on their current circumstance.

Thankfully, I will finally have time to listen to people and respond instead of a rushed apology for not having time. Offline, I will talk at the gym, riding the trails, waiting in lineups, and walking through my neighbourhood. Online will see me connect via LinkedIn, at webinars (I have so many to catch up on), in forums and online with colleagues. Reading and writing blogs by choice has been absent from my life for over a year.

Also, I will start reaching out to make new connections. This I will accomplish through my current network both on and offline. With my new found “time freedom”, I have already started looking for events, seminars and meetings to attend. I serve on two boards of directors for non-profit organizations and I want to immerse myself into the fundraising programs for this year that I missed out on in 2014. These type of events are perfect for expanding networks both for the organizations as well as myself.

Especially, I will once again enjoy the camaraderie of my coworkers and mentors to expand my network through theirs and participate in company events. I really missed the interaction with clients who had to be reassigned during my studies. I look forward to reconnecting with them and enhancing their businesses by implementing my new knowledge and fresh perspective.

Over the past year, I have forged many new connections with classmates and facilitators and while it was very enjoyable to bond with like-minded people it was done briefly and only touched the surface. I don’t want that network to become fleeting and hope to spend some time acquainting myself with those connections and expand my network to include them permanently. Are you ready to join me?

COM0015Please add me to your network if you like: @thornleybay @carveyourmarket