This blog is a part of series about networking and collaborating.
Networks are dynamic. They evolve and change over time. To maximize the benefit of a network, it is essential to take stock from time-to-time, uncover learning and align efforts and activities, as needed, to continue meet the objectives of the network.
Over the last year, TRIEC’s PINs program worked with Health Nexus to map out the PINs community – our network of immigrants associations and stakeholder partners. Network mapping is a powerful tool that enables you to take a snapshot of your network to identify ways to strengthen it and increase its effectiveness.
What we set out to do was:
- visualize existing ties and connections
- identify new opportunities for relationship development
- design strategies to create new connections, partnerships and collaborations
PINs is a mature network with a wealth of expertise
The PINs network maps showed a strong core of connections between a diverse mix of organizations that could be leveraged for new connections and opportunities. However, the network could still benefit from more representation of certain stakeholder groups like government or employers.
We also confirmed that the expertise and skills of the individual in the network, both association leaders and stakeholder partners, span a wide range from volunteer engagement to legal support. This presents an opportunity to do more in matching association needs with available expertise and skills.
As we analyzed the maps by different topic areas, we learned where we need to place a greater focus. For example, we observed that the network is well-connected in some areas like networking opportunities, but less so in other areas like leadership development.
Being a part of PINs community helps to raise awareness, foster collaboration and give voice to immigrant professionals to empower change
We heard from community members that being a part of the PINs network helped them raise awareness of their organization among immigrants and bring new partners and key stakeholders. Sharing stories of immigrant professionals and providing PINs leaders with speaking opportunities has also helped position them as stakeholders in the immigrant employment sector.
What’s next for PINs
PINs leaders helped us analyze the maps and determine next steps for the PINs network. Some of the priorities they outlined include:
- Continue to raise awareness… and engage stakeholders who aren’t represented in large numbers in the network but should be
- Strengthen internally before buildingexternally… by raising awareness among network members about what organizations and expertise are available within the PINs network and making those connections
- Expand leadership training options… and in particular, enhance online learning and develop connections with mainstream leadership development training providers
- Continue to enhance what’s offered through PINs; for example, association-to-association mentoring or customized resources for specific groups (like those just startingan association)
We are excited about the future direction of PINs and the many opportunities to enhance, deepen and broaden our network in the years to come!