If you have ever had to contact someone that you don't know and ask them to do something for you, you can appreciate how much easier that task would have been if you had a networking relationship with them already established.

What is a network? We are all members of various networks. As a minimum, you have family and school networks. Hobbies, sports, church, synagogue or extracurricular activities provide additional networks. Your favorite Web sites and chat rooms are also networks. Professional organizations, like the New Mexico Network for Women in Science & Engineering, Society of Women Engineers, and Association for Computing Machinery are networks.

An obvious example of a network is the New Mexico Network for Women in Science & Engineering. As a group of networked individuals, we exchange information about job opportunities, management strategies, and technical advancements, and we provide support, assistance, and encouragement to one another. If you are attending an Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Conference and meet someone who is in a field you are interested in pursuing, you can form a piece of a network with her.

You don't have to personally know all the members of your network. If you know one person in the network, mention that person's name to a new acquaintance in the network. Just be careful and make sure that the relationship between the person you are calling and the person you refer to is a good one. Networking is one of the most effective ways of getting things done, getting help you need, and getting ahead in the world. Your networks will grow and expand with use.

You may contact someone with a specific question, or send out a general inquiry to everyone on the network. Try it; you will be amazed at how well it works.

Mary V. Bochmann
Federal Women's Program Manager
White Sands Missile Range, NM