Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Tutor/Mentor Conference (Net)Worked!

Last week's Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference was a tremendous success. More than 30 presentations connected 155 people who want to help inner city youth have brighter futures. You can see the list of speakers and attendees on the conference web site. Because we keep this list published, the networking started at the conference can continue indefinitely.

Here's an example of how the conference (net)worked for me. At 9am on Day One, I met Heidi Massey while I was out in the cold selling parking tickets. She was sympathetic, encouraging, and just plain friendly. Four hours later, we met at lunch and learned about each other's work. Heidi wants to start a nonprofit organization that networks other NPOs together.

12 hours after our first encounter, Heidi and I were following each other on Twitter. 30 hours after, at the close of the conference, she left me with a personal compliment that made my day. As a recent graduate, still with a lot to learn about nonprofits, I consider Heidi an asset as I move forth. I look forward to keeping in touch with her.

To extend the example... Heidi (center) introduced me to Oliver Miller (right), Community Engaged Scholarship Coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. In Winter 2009, I interned at the organization that placed him, Illinois Campus Compact, so it turns out we know some of the same people. Oliver is looking to start an e-mentoring program at The Chicago School, so I pointed him to David Neils, Director of the International Telementor Program, whom I had met the previous day. It turns out Oliver had already spoken extensively with David and gleaned a lot of advice from him. Like Jean Russell said in her keynote speech on Friday, you can accomplish a lot once you have the right people in the room!

Well, with the Internet, we can always have the right people in the room! ... or at least on the same web sites. Please check out the Tutor/Mentor blog (which has links to all of our blogs) and comment. You can also become a fan of Tutor/Mentor Connection on Facebook and join the Tutor/Mentor Ning Network. Let's continue to collaborate and share ideas just like we did last Thursday and Friday, and let's begin to think about how we will plan, promote, and fund the May 2010 Conference. Thank you!

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