I was at the grocery store recently looking at the candy bar display when the bright orange packaging of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup caught my eye. I was immediately jettisoned back to the old television commercial for this chocolate bar where two strangers collide. One is eating chocolate and the other eating peanut butter from a jar with a spoon. Do you remember the exchange? “You just got chocolate on my peanut butter!” “You just got peanut butter on my chocolate!” Of course, as both taste the resulting peanut butter and chocolate combination, they discover that their chance collision has produced a new taste sensation.
At ERIEC, we love to arrange for people in similar professions to have peanut butter and chocolate-like collisions that produce “sweet” results. We call it “Speed Career Networking”! I have been overwhelmingly inspired by the two catalytic events of this kind ERIEC has hosted in the past month, one for Accounting professionals and the other for Engineers. You simply can’t beat the “sweet results” that are inevitably expressed in the reactions and evaluations of the participants.
Immediately following the networking segment of the event, I listened attentively to hear foreign-trained Accounting professionals described their Speed Career Networking experience as bringing “hope” and “encouragement” to them as they continue to pursue meaningful employment here in Edmonton. The response from the internationally-trained Engineers was similar. One said, “This will serve as an inspiration, to strive for recognition… some of the mentors have had similar background and experience [as foreign professionals]” and that they had accepted the challenge to “Never give up!”
The local professionals, who volunteered as mentors at these events, were just as enthusiastic! One accountant said he was astounded by the eagerness of the talent in the room who “just need an opportunity” in their field to be able to contribute to our community. Another Engineer mentor shared that the event had helped him “to appreciate the broad range of experiences and diverse types of knowledge that prospective Engineers bring to the table.”
So just like a peanut butter and chocolate collision resulting in a new candy bar, every Speed Career Networking event results in local professionals (mentors) and internationally trained professionals (mentees) acquiring fresh perspectives on their profession, their professional colleagues and the unharnessed talent that exists here in Edmonton. New Canadian professionals receive fresh hope and encouragement to pursue their career goals in their field. Local professionals are inspired as they interact with and are confronted by the wealth of knowledge and experience to be gained from their professional colleagues who have come here from around the world.
Candy bar, anyone?