Networking Post COVID-19

When I volunteered to write the July blog post I had rosy visions of writing about how great The Calgary Stampede can be when used as a networking tool. You really can make long lasting great relationships within the industry over a couple of beers and chuck wagon races. However with the COVID-19 pandemic effectively cancelling Stampede 2020 I was left wondering just how great of an impact this will have on all networking and events from here on out. Barring a devastating second wave I think we all hope things will go back to “normal” but what if they don’t? What if this is the new normal as so many are saying it is? If so, what is networking going to look like in a post COVID-19 world? I think this is a major question surrounding not only our industry but our generation as a whole.

A little about me, I am a transplant from Ontario but have been living in Calgary for almost 10 years now. When I first moved “out west” I knew only four people in the entire province, two in Calgary and two in Edmonton. Needless to say networking then was tough but not as tough as I imagine it will be for young professionals just entering the workforce now in this drastically changed world. There is only so much you can do to build relationships over the phone or via email while working remotely, so what other options do we have? I think Zoom type meetings are going to be integral as they are a socially distanced safe way to get that personal face to face time with people that can greatly help build rapport. Not only can Zoom type meetings help you build rapport with your own coworkers but Zoom type events are going to become a great way to meet people within the industry. Online events like the bi-weekly YCL Wind Down (shameless plug, I know) or the CCA’s Virtual Lean Coffee on Friday mornings are great ways to meet and interact with industry professionals while getting the chance to learn something about the industry. Hopefully we will see some new faces in the YCL Wind Down meetings and see even more Zoom type online networking events in the future.

LinkedIn is also another great way to meet and interact with colleagues and peers within the industry. There is a plethora of interesting articles that span all industries and topics, sharing an article to your page is a great way to spark conversation about the topic and perhaps meet some new connections who share your same passions. It is also a great tool for keeping tabs on your industry as many companies will post updates on projects and industry related issues.

I think there is going to be a steep learning curve and new challenges with how we build and maintain relationships both personally and professionally in the post COVID-19 world but I encourage you to seek out ways to stay in contact or even introduce yourself to new contacts. Don’t be hesitant to request to change that call in meeting to a Zoom type meeting, to join in on an online networking event or post a topic on LinkedIn looking for a discussion. I personally hope to see some new faces and make some great new contacts this year even if it is just virtually for the time being.

All that said, if virtual networking isn’t for you, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and have a conversation.

-Aaron Bradbury, EllisDon Construction Services Inc.


*Be sure to keep an eye out for YCL’s LIFT event later this year as it is one of the best networking / think tank events I have ever been a part of. Each year since its inception I have made great contacts and put faces to names I had known but hadn’t yet met in person. With it being an online platform this year it should make it even more exciting.

Article by Lena Hogarth
July 22, 2020

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