News from the NUAA – Spring 2017

nuaa_logo_[converted]c_copyCurrent students frequently ask alumni the question:
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a student at Norwich? Many answers come to mind, but I usually respond by saying I wish I had understood the value and importance of networking.

Networking is the way to make things happen. There really is no better way to get a job, discover business opportunities, find answers rapidly, and get big things done. For example, for the past four years, dozens of alumni in the Washington, D.C., area have pitched in to host Norwich students enrolled in PO301, U.S. Security Policy, during spring break. We use our creativity, connections, and power to give these students access to the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and the Intelligence Community—as well as time with the senior decision-makers who lead them. These are unique experiences the students could never get on their own, and faculty would be hard pressed to replicate. It is the power of our robust network in action.

Full disclosure: I am a late bloomer when it comes to networking. I have always been a technology introvert, and never thought I would be good at networking. Fortunately, I had a few really great mid-career mentors who led by example, introducing me to key people who helped make my ideas and projects—and ultimately, me—successful.

Networking works when you give back. Once I understood the power of networking, I began connecting everyone I could—to jobs, ideas, and opportunities. It has been very satisfying to see successes result from these connections.

How do you start? As students, seize any opportunity you can to talk to alumni. The opportunities are all around you: through NUAA and Board of Fellows mentoring initiatives, at annual student sendoffs around the country, countless club events—including networking socials—and events on campus such as Homecoming, the Colby and CSI Symposiums, and Todd Lectures. Seek out alumni and ask them about their experiences; it will not take long to find useful information and assistance. For alumni, use the amazing network that you already have by connecting with the NUAA through events and social media. There is always someone in the Norwich family who can lend a helping hand, and there is always an opportunity to extend that hand to others.

It can be hard to put yourself out there (the root word for “network” is “work” after all), but the return on investment is worth it, and it is never too early to start.

Cheri Caddy ’90
On Behalf of the NU Alumni Association

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