Monday, April 22, 2013

They call it Networking… with PTK I call it Fellowship!!!

Moreen Tonny

When I arrived at the Hilton hotel in Tarrytown I was welcomed by friendly staff. My first welcoming gift was a delicious hot chocolate chip cookie- the best in town! Situated in a suburban neighborhood in Westchester county, the hotel offered the PTK delegation an intimate atmosphere were no could escape mingling and networking opportunities all weekend long.
Following the opening session on Friday night was a Fellowship event; teams composed of scholars from different chapters competed against each other in trivia game. While others may see this as an ice breaker between complete strangers, I saw it as an opportunity to start new friendships and get to know my fellow Kappans sooner and faster.
Among the activities planned for the participants were a series of workshops related to PTK’s four hallmarks.  Although making connections was my primary goal for the weekend, getting to start these conversations was very intimidating. Therefore, when given the occasion to choose, I decided to attend the workshop on networking.
If you know what is speed dating… you will have an idea of how exciting was this activity! First was a brief introduction to networking: why is it important, how to effectively make connections and to keep them. We had 30 seconds each to introduce ourselves to another fellow and then move to the next person in front of us.
One may argue that such fast pace introduction is not effective to build a long lasting relationship with someone you have just met. However, at the end, we all had discovered commonalities that carried our conversations beyond what was meant to be a simple speed networking session.
We often miss opportunities to make great connections simply because we do not take a couple second to share all the greatness we carry in ourselves. I personally met a scholar with whom I share similar interests in International Relations and Human Rights. We were introduced for 60 seconds and exchanged contact information, however our relationship is now growing more as we continue to keep in touch and discover more similarities between us.
As Phi Theta Kappa members, each one of us is a resource for another. We are rich and diverse in cultures, academic and personal interests. Our openness to challenges is what makes every single experience with PTK unique. I don’t see connecting to a fellow PTK member as a networking opportunity, I rather call it fellowship. This was my experience during the 2012-2013 PTK regional convention in Tarrytown. 

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