How to build your network as a governance professional

In the ever-evolving landscape of governance, building a robust professional network is not just beneficial − it is essential. As a governance professional, your network is not only a source of support and inspiration, but a gateway to opportunities and industry insights. In this blog, we will explore practical strategies to help you build and nurture your network effectively in the dynamic world of governance, as well as highlighting some of the best networking opportunities for 2024.

Begin by defining your networking goals. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve through networking. Whether it is staying informed about industry trends, seeking mentorship or exploring career opportunities, having clear objectives will guide your networking efforts. It is important to identify your goals to make sure that you are focusing your efforts in the most constructive way, and to avoid ‘over-networking’ which cause you to burn out. Building relationships can be challenging so try to be realistic in your ambitions; everyone has a different social battery!

Networking and the digital age

The first and easiest step, especially if you are geographically distant from your peers, is social media. Embrace the digital age by utilising online platforms; LinkedIn is a powerhouse for professional networking. Ensure your profile is complete, highlighting your skills, experience and achievements. Actively engage in discussions, share relevant content and connect with professionals in your field. Join industry-related groups to expand your virtual network. While it is no replacement for meeting in person, social media is helpful for teeing up potential meetings.

Joining a community

The next, and perhaps most obvious step is to join a professional association specific to governance, such as the Chartered Governance Institute (CGI). A structured platform for networking will provide opportunities to attend events, conferences and seminars to connect with like-minded professionals and industry leaders. In the next few months alone, the Institute is running several events such as the Subsidiary Governance Conference, the ESG Summit and our landmark Annual Conference (which is one of the largest governance-related events in the UK). If you are looking for something more localised, our branches also have a busy schedule of events where you can meet other governance professionals nearby.

Practical tips

Once you have joined an event or contacted people through social media, here are some helpful tips.

  • Cultivating relationships: Networking is a two-way street. Take the initiative to introduce yourself, express genuine interest in others and be an active listener. Cultivate relationships by following up after events, sharing insights and helping when possible. Networking is not just about what you can gain, it is also about what you can contribute to the wider community.
  • Mentorship is a powerful aspect of professional networking. Seek out mentors who can provide guidance and share their experiences. Similarly, consider becoming a mentor to those entering the field. Mentorship not only strengthens your network but contributes to the growth of the governance community.
  • Consistency is key in networking. Stay visible by regularly contributing to discussions, attending events and updating your professional profiles. Share your experiences, insights and achievements, reinforcing your presence in the governance community.

Building and maintaining a strong professional network is a continuous process that pays dividends throughout your governance career. By setting clear goals, leveraging professional associations, embracing online platforms, attending industry events, initiating relationships, seeking mentorship, participating in networking groups and staying consistently active, you can cultivate a network that not only supports your career but enriches the entire governance community. Remember, the strength of your network lies not just in its size but in the authenticity and depth of the connections you nurture. You can find a full list of our events on our website, if you wish to start your networking journey. 

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