The Power of Networking – Making Connections

Developing your professional networks and making connections is the topic of one of my popular talks.  How does this work in practice and what are the benefits? Let me take you back to March 2023, I had a meeting with @eduthingltd (a company that supplies IT Services for Education) at a major education show, to talk about being a guest editor for them and also a potential collaboration around my childrens book series – The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip – which has a technology focus.

Tell us about these books

I created The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip during the pandemic. Having had a long career in Education and IT. I had reflected on a few headlines that have been around for decades, seemingly without much change. These being – there is a lack of women in the Technology industry and there is a lack of representation from minority groups.  I pondered and wondered, what can I do to make a difference, since I have always worked in technology and for the past 24 years have been in education, with a career spanning corporate IT, the civil service and education system. 

Ava and Chip World Book Day

I concluded that some of the problem was:

  • Society not speaking about tech in an easy to understand way
  • Tech being seen as something to be feared
  • A lack of understanding around the changes and opportunities that tech brings to society
  • A lack of tech being embraced as a bedtime story and being seen as a topic to read about for pleasure
  • A lack of childrens books about technology, along with books not representing those from minority groups

I could write for a very long time on lots of other matters that I perceive.  So with this thinking, I set about writing a book, but very quickly realised I had a series in me!  Thus The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip were born. A childrens book series with a technology focus aimed at ages 7-11, with supporting illustrations.

Book 1 is entitled Smart City, Book 2 – Self-Driving car and Book 3 – Smart Home. All are topical in the current age within which we all live.  There are more books to come!  The characters are modelled upon myself and family.  You can read more here.

What did you talk about?

In my conversation with eduthing, I shared my story, we spoke about life, the education landscape, bridging the digital divide and raising awareness about technology.  I asked, would you like to join me on my mission to make technology more accessible and to help inspire young people?  The answer was a very quick yes!  We then set about sorting out the detail, of how this could work.

Eduthing turned their words into action and have now put 300+ copies of The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip into the schools they support.  They see this as part of their Technological and Social Responsibility. 

I also got a slot in their EdTech update magazine as a columnist! Networking had paid off!

National Recognition for Ava and Chip

The series are also part of #TheSueAtkinsBookClub – run by top TV Parenting expert and broadcaster – Sue Atkins.  Sue’s book club has titles that she has selected that are suitable for parents and families.  Additionally, in November 2022, I had entered the series into The Small Business Sunday awards run by former Dragons Den star and entrepreneur Theo Paphitis and won!  This helps with expanding my network and attending annual business networking events.  The books are developing an audience and following. This is networking in action, along with me playing my part in addressing some of the issues in the tech landscape.

Benefits of Networking

Let me revisit the title of this blog – The Power of Networking.  In this blog I have shared an example of this in action.  Further examples of the benefits of networking can be summarised as:

  • Boosting your brand – whether personal or company brand
  • Making new friendships
  • Getting reacquainted with colleagues and companies
  • Personal growth and development
  • Learning new and different perspectives

I hope this whistle stop tour in networking has given you some inspiration around possibilities and also being a part of larger networks, which lead to further opportunities.

Want to work with me?

I am a #TechWomen100 award winner 2022, Computer Weekly longlist nominee 2022/2023, UN Women UK Delegate 2023, Trustee for The Learning Foundation and Ambassador for The Digital Poverty Alliance, part of the Learning Foundation committed to ending Digital Poverty by 2030.

To connect with me on consulting and authoring opportunities please complete this form.