JPRO Network is promoting the development of local professional associations and connecting diverse fields of service because we are all better professionals when we are connected. Networking is often treated as an afterthought in program development and it is likely we have all been to programs where there were minimal opportunities for networking. This neglected and overlooked aspect of professional development needs to emerge from second place status to its rightful position as a fundamental value.
Research is demonstrating that successful professionals have diverse and wide networks that provide feedback, stimulate creativity, offer alternatives and solutions, open opportunities for collaboration, and provide support. Having a strong and diverse professional network is not only good for the individual professional, it strengthens our institutions and communities. When we network we gain valuable knowledge of environmental strengths and weaknesses, represent and promote our organizations and develop contacts with unknown potential.
When we limit our professional networks we narrow our vision and stifle creativity. Inspiration and vision flourish in diversity. Steven Johnson, noted author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, writes “If there is a single maxim that runs through this book’s arguments, it is that we are often better served by connecting ideas than we are by protecting them.” Organizations that restrict networking opportunities need to rethink their policies if they want to remain vital and vibrant.
A pillar of JPRO’s mission is to connect our field and we are proud to have this fundamentally important function.