Reading takeaways

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    One thing I’m thinking about from my work in nonprofit development is the idea and expectation of a handwritten note is centered in whiteness and white norms. I’m not against them, but it is sort of an unwritten rule in nonprofits to thank your donors this way. I understand why it’s a custom, but it is important to remember when thinking through diversity and equity and cultural backgrounds of organizations not built on whiteness, it may not be the only way and potential employees may not have learned this custom which could put them at a disadvantage in networking opportunities. At least in the nonprofit context that often is used a way to thank donors, it can perpetuate certain structures of power and privilege. On a practical level, they take a lot of time to do that is worth questioning the “best practice.” I get why they’re used though.

    I’m also thinking about networking and the way it’s been shaped in the past year and a half in a pandemic. Social media, even more so than before, has become one of the primary ways of connecting and meeting and building new communities—especially in the difficulties of this time. Along those lines, it’s interesting to think about tech and access and equity in how people are able to position themselves, their work, and their networks in this time. As it relates to the Paul Revere idea of a diverse network, also thinking about how the curated feeds of social media limit our interactions with diverse viewpoints that create solutions.

    I do sort of miss the traditional aspects of networking but don’t really like the way it’s usually framed or seen as transactional. I found the three types of networks in the HBS article helpful to keep in mind. At its best, networking can be a means to “go deep,” to build trust with others, and to exchange stories and ideas, and I’ve found that “tipping point” in these sorts of interactions can often spring from the sincerity of interactions in spaces and events when the circumstances can foster only surface level interactions. Networking maybe is a word that is associated with a certain type of person when it really is about community building and organizing when I think about the ways it interests and works best for me.


    I love the idea of thinking about networking as community building. It’s much less intimidating that way!

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