You are here

Consciously Cultivating Connections at the 2016 PDC Winter Meeting

October 28, 2016

This week's post is by Jean Vrola, PDC Winter Meeting Committee and Assistant Manager - Professional Development, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

As many of us register for the NALP PDI Conference and the PDC Winter Meeting, review the agenda, and consider which sessions we are most interested in attending, our default is to think in very pragmatic terms.  What useful takeaways will we come away with?  What new ideas will we learn that we can introduce back at our law firms or law schools?  Factoring in practical realities like budgets and sign-off or buy-in, which of these ideas will we actually be able to implement at our respective organizations?

As a secondary matter, we may also consider how much we look forward to reconnecting and catching up with colleagues and friends at the conference, or how eager we are to meet people and start to develop new connections and relationships.

This opportunity to connect and catch up with colleagues and friends is not merely a perk, or a welcome byproduct of attending the Winter Meeting and the PDI Conference.  It’s so much more than that!  We shouldn’t undervalue the opportunity to connect or underestimate the role of these connections.  These  connections, and our opportunity to foster and develop them, are at the heart of our own professional development and our ability to add value as professionals tasked with developing and training others. As a new member of the PDC and as someone who relatively recently transitioned into the professional development field, the Winter Meeting has been particularly valuable to me.  It connected me to the professional development community, and it enabled me to shift my perspective and professional values in a very positive way.

Last year, I attended the 2015 Winter Meeting  after only a few months of working in professional development, and it introduced me to the PDC and enabled me to connect with the professional development community.  It was great to see the sense of community and support, and also the shared sense of enthusiasm and passion for the work we do.  Attending the Winter Meeting enabled me to understand what an invaluable resource and support network the PDC is, and to begin to form connections and relationships with other members of the professional development community.           

With its focus on self-development, the 2015 Winter Meeting was also instrumental in changing my perspective and what I valued professionally.  Specifically, the tremendous value of connecting with the professional development community became apparent to me, and while I once considered tasks such as networking and joining committees or organizations as extra-curricular activities that were ancillary to my career at best, I started to view my connections and any opportunity to create or deepen a connection as a priority and an essential element to my personal and professional success and fulfillment.  Creating connections and maintaining and fostering those connections are really the key to our own growth and development, and also our ability to effectively develop and train others.

The 2016 PDC Winter Meeting will provide an exciting and unique opportunity to take a step back from the practical realities of our day-to-day routines and responsibilities and focus on our connections as a key to our self-development.  The Winter Meeting will also be an opportunity to learn effective and practical strategies for maintaining and nurturing those connections. 

More specifically, you will have the opportunity to assess your professional network and your relationship readiness, to create new and strengthen existing PDC connections, and to develop a customized, strategic relationship-building and maintenance plan, both for yourself and your firm. 

This year’s Winter Meeting is a great preamble to the PDI Conference.  As you prepare to dive into the various substantive sessions offered and consider new ideas, initiatives, and strategies, keep in mind that you are surrounded by a talented and supportive network of colleagues, and seize the opportunity to connect with each other over the next few days!

Register Today for the Winter Meeting, or visit the Winter Meeting page on our website for more details!