42nd Annual Meeting: Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) Luncheon, May 29th- Speed Networking and Career Coaching

The Scene: Anyone entering the hotel atrium at the AIC Annual Meeting on Thursday from 12-2 might have confused the pairs of people at numbered tables as a new conservation speed-dating event.  To give members a similar ability to make multiple connections in a limited time, the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) organized a speed-networking event that enabled approximately 100 conservators to meet face-to-face.

The Set-up: Before the networking began and while enjoying a boxed lunch, participants heard from various speakers.

  • Anna Zagorski and Angela Escobar, members of the Communications Group of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), spoke on behalf of GCI, the event sponsor.  GCI strives to advance the field of conservation through the creation and dissemination of knowledge to the field and for the field, using a variety of resources.  Information on GCI can be found on the GCI website.
  • Elena Torok and Greta Glaser gave a moving and heartfelt memorial to their WUDPAC classmate of 2013 and fellow emerging professional, Emily Schuetz Stryker, who passed away unexpectedly in February.
  • Stephanie Lussier, the AIC Board liaison to ECPN, gave a brief history of ECPN and lauded its accomplishments thus far, including the webinar series and portfolio symposium from the 2012 Annual AIC meeting.
  • Megan Salazar Walsh, current ECPN Vice Chair and upcoming Chair, also recognized current ECPN officers and liaisons, AIC staff Ruth Seyler and Ryan Winfield, and the specialty groups who contributed to the event.

The Conservators Conversing: In the weeks leading up to the event, participants filled out a questionnaire ranking their preferences of matches and the topics to be discussed.  Each person received a different match for the three 15-minute sessions based on their responses.  At the event the participants were given their matches’ information, as well as a handout on basic career and resume-building advice.  Pairs found one another for each session at designated tables, and soon the room was abuzz with enthusiastic energy from emerging and established conservator alike.  Two established professionals wandering by the event even joined in the fun and provided last-minute guidance.

“This was so much fun! I loved the variety of people I was matched up with. Thanks to all that organized this event for all of your hard work! I found it extremely rewarding.” – Alexandra Nichols
“This was my favorite part of the conference! The mentors I was paired with gave thoughtful and useful advice, and I hope to continue contact with them. Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope that we can continue more events like this in the future.” – Jacinta Johnson
“I met some really wonderful people during this event. Thanks for all your hard work ECPN!” – Amy Hughes
“You guys really outdid yourselves! Thank you for setting up such a fun and helpful event!” – Jackie Keck
Thanks to everyone who participated to make this first networking event a success!
The author would like to dedicate this blogpost to Eliza Spaulding in recognition of her hard work as ECPN Chair through 2012-2013.  Thank you, Eliza.