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NMIN 2024 Trainee Networking Workshop a success

A selection of workshop participants (L to R): Miguel Tsai (NanoVation Therapeutics [NTx] co-op trainee/UBC undergraduate student), Dr. Rachel Hernandez (AVP, Research & Innovation, UBC), Dr. Diana Royce (NMIN Executive Director), Dr. Anthony Tam (NTx preclinical scientist), Mark Zhang (NTx co-op trainee/UBC undergraduate student)

On April 25-26, 2024, thirty-two NMIN trainees gathered, together with two NMIN staff members and eleven invited guests, for a final two-day trainee capacity-building event: the NMIN 2024 Trainee Networking Workshop.

The event aimed to remind participants of ways to stay connected with the people in their networks, the value of those networks, and how to build strong, diverse and strategic networks as they go forward in work and life.

On Thursday afternoon, Michael Valic, Vice-President of the NMIN HQP Network (NHN), offered opening remarks, following which NMIN Executive Director Diana Royce delivered an opening keynote on “Strategies for Success.” Friday’s full-day workshop was run by Gayle Hallgren, a networking expert and co-author of Work The Pond: Use the Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life.

The event featured a networking reception, as well as a networking dinner to which eleven life sciences professionals from NMIN were invited, including senior and emerging academics, entrepreneurs, and industry-based NMIN advisory committee members. Guests were distributed among tables of trainees over dinner to facilitate the forging of new connections and sharing of experiences.

As part of the all-day workshop, NMIN trainees brainstormed ways in which to preserve and reinforce the connections among NMIN trainees and researchers after the Network’s conclusion, generating a wealth of ideas and potential plans for action.

In a post-event feedback survey, participants rated the event an average of 4.4 out of 5 for “value of workshop content,” where 5 = extremely valuable. In terms of level of “satisfaction with networking opportunities,” they rated the event 4.6 out of 5, where 5 = very satisfied.

Detailed feedback from participants included:

"The networking dinner was a great opportunity to network with senior PIs in a low-stakes, low-pressure environment."

"The workshop provided useful recommendations and concrete steps for improving my networking skills going forward."

"It was valuable to get insights into how networking can factor into the hiring process; it was also very informative to have an NMIN leader at our table during lunch who could answer questions about their career path."

"The great presentations gave me a lot of insights."

Through this workshop, I gained valuable insights into networking and improved my understanding of social dynamics. It has helped me recognize the importance of focusing on social events and how my behavior influences interactions. I'm genuinely pleased to have been part of this experience."

"It was good to have a closure day, to make sure we find ways to keep the network alive."

"It was an amazing event - thank you for organizing it!"

"The Friday workshop was extremely valuable - the interactive approach to the sessions, as well as the small group activities, were useful for both learning and implementation of new networking skills."

"Thanks so much for everything. I'll miss these events! "

The workshop took place in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmoond, BC, and represented the final event of its kind, given the NMIN Network’s closure in September 2024.

The event program, including a list of special guests and speaker bios, is available on the NMIN website.