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CEA Affiliate Week: Networking Karma by Matt Feldmann

Hello, I am Matt Feldmann, with Goshen Education Consulting, Inc. and a collaborator for the weekly Independent Consulting Topic Chat

Does it seem like some of our colleagues are lucky, that they can do no wrong? This blog post concerns Networking Karma, the idea that we can create our own luck. By engaging in our chosen fields and acting selflessly toward others, opportunities will present themselves. 

Lesson Learned: Social Networks Meet Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell introduced the idea of the connector who is actively engaged “in so many different worlds, they have the effect of bringing them all together” (2006, p. 51). This idea is not just pop science, it is supported through the ideas of social network analysis. The individual with the largest number of strong connections with others in a defined network is identified as an influencer. So if follows that by acting selflessly within a defined network, we strengthen (or thicken) our connections (nodes) that provide the foundation for future opportunities. 

Illustration of a social network map

Lesson Learned: Department of Defense STEMKAMP

Our firm recently supported seemingly disparate projects through pro bono or reduced rate services. On one end, our Chicago-based client had lost funding for summer STEM camps for girls; we continued to provide the program evaluation pro bono (and involve our daughters with the awesome camp). On the other end, our Department of Defense renewal grants greatly decreased evaluation funding; we continued to supply services at a loss. This deep understanding of both programs placed us in a position to combine these two programs for an unplanned grant opportunity that subsequently yielded a $2.8 million grant from the National Defense Education Program. The program will provide 10 STEM summer camps in military-connected communities using the original STEM camp program idea designed for girls. 


Hot Tips: 5 Key Networking Karma Ideas

Here are some ideas from a recent IC Topic Chat I led on Networking Karma.

  1. Find your people. Find the network that fits your talents, interests, and where opportunities are available.
  2. No Scorekeeping. Give without expectations of returns. 
  3. Become the hub/connector.
  4. Ask for help when you need it. (Note that this is not “calling in a favor;” it is the natural act of asking your close colleagues for guidance.)
  5. Stay vigilant. Watch for opportunities to present themselves.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from CEA members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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