By Shawn Davis, APR
For the last 26 years, I have been a member of CPRS Calgary. I have sat on the Board of Directors in a multitude of roles for more years than I can count (math is hard lol) and have contributed to the management, maintenance and growth of the Society. But this last year has shown me the importance of CPRS Calgary like no other year before. As we all do our best to support our respective organizations and clients while working from home and dealing with the numerous distractions we’ve faced, my CPRS colleagues have been a constant source of friendship. Whether checking in on each other socially via Facebook, reading and commenting on each other’s posts on LinkedIn or catching up with each other via email and text, I have come to understand the social value of our network.
For decades, I myself have talked to many of you about the importance of a business network – to our personal and professional development – but I think we often forget about the importance of the social kinship that is formed through our Society. When times are hard, we have a network we can connect with; we shouldn’t forget that our network is about more than job searches or learning about what’s new in the communications world. By belonging to a group of individuals with similar opportunities, challenges and experiences, we form bonds. Bonds that allow us to challenge each other respectfully, enable us to grow as human beings, and help us come to terms with our own views of the world around us. I often find myself seeking out opinions that are different than my own – and throughout the last year, in particular, I have sought those opinions from my CPRS colleagues because of the admiration and respect I have for each of them.
As you all know, CPRS Calgary has had to come up with creative ways to engage its members through COVID. To stay relevant, the current Board had to identify opportunities that would allow members to come together to continue to foster its inherent network. Whether identifying interesting topics for PD sessions (I myself was really looking forward to learning about the wine industry over a glass of chardonnay) to creating fun online games that would help generate registration (and ultimately quorum) for our AGM. And while they were finding unique ways to help us connect, they were also knowingly or inadvertently encouraging us to continue fostering the social network that is the true value of our membership.
Throughout the month of March, which is CPRS’ membership month, as well as beyond, I would encourage you to think about the social network you’ve built and help others realize the value.