Net-work (noun): a group or system of interconnected things                                             Synonyms: system, complex, nexus, web

If this week had a theme, that would have to be it. It all started Sunday night as I was innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed when I stumbled upon a video uploaded by another summer fellow. The video spoke to the value of a summer internship, where it claimed the skill set one receives from a job experience is not nearly as important as the people they meet and networks they develop. I pondered this sentiment going into work Monday, as I began to consider the people I’ve met throughout my first two weeks in the program. Staff at the Columbus Foundation, the other summer fellows, OANO board members and staff, other nonprofit affiliates of OANO, even the security guard at my building! The list went on and on and as someone that is still rather new to the job, it was amazing to consider that within two weeks of the program, my network already increased tenfold.

Relationship building continued throughout the week. On Tuesday, my coworker treated me to lunch with her little, an ambitious young woman working in the Ohio Statehouse and within the lens of networking, another connection. On Wednesday, I attended a forum about LinkedIn at the Columbus Foundation hosted by Mr. Wayne Breitbarth—again, another face to a name. By Thursday, I began to visualize the relationships I’d started to build as various strands of a web, dividing and expanding with every person and experience I encountered.

Since OANO is at the pinnacle of the nonprofit web of accreditation, it presents a unique opportunity for connecting with nonprofit organizations throughout the state. OANO serves organizations with missions from all walks of life, and within that variety, one can find just as many unique people working to further their organizational goals and ambitions. While I agree that my growing proficiency in excel and ability to navigate the inner workings of a stubborn copy machine will be benefits of my time with OANO this summer, I believe that the relationships I’ll cultivate and the variety of nonprofit leaders I’ll meet will be the true tangibles of my time with the organization, for each presents a unique opportunity for growth and wisdom. For now, I’m excited to continue growing as a young professional and seeing what the summer has to offer. And for anyone reading this, I’d love to grab a cup of coffee with you to discuss your professional involvement and my time with OANO further 😉

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