PINs Strategic Networking Event – How to Make Connections That Matter

Often, it is not what you know but who you know that can help you secure employment commensurate with your experience or advance your career. Building a network will help to connect you with people in your industry and let them get to know you.

On November 25, PINs leader Jaime Gonzalez spoke to members of PINs associations and mentees from The Mentoring Partnership about strategic networking and its benefits. The event also featured a facilitated networking session hosted by four PINs leaders, Alexander Markin and Rene Berrospi (PINs@YorkU), Danny Cheoreanu (Association of Romanian Engineers in Canada), Emiliano Mendez (Latin American MBA Alumni Association) and Miguel Abascal (, and three representatives from the PINs sponsor and partner, Scotiabank, Manny Gill, Senior Manager, Commercial Automotive Programs, Romana Zafar, Senior Manager, Global Wealth Management Systems, and Fauzia Asim, Senior Financial Advisor.

Guest Speaker – Jaime Gonzalez

Jaime’s presentation was based on the topic “Networking with Purpose”. To begin with, he spoke about setting goals and expectations for any networking opportunity. Jaime highlighted the importance of good preparation and research before a networking event. He suggested a few strategies for successful networking:

  • Have a crisp and inviting portfolio citing your accomplishments, strengths, interests and passions
  • Rehearse your 30-second elevator pitch
  • Make sure you have a compelling online presence

Jaime also mentioned volunteering as a great way to network and make connections. Volunteering opportunities can be found at professional associations, community organizations, government and trade organizations, and at organizations in the not-for-profit sector.

To conclude, Jaime provided his tips on making connections that would lead to professional opportunities:

  • Focus on giving first, then receiving
  • Make a strategic introduction
  • Focus on quality, not quantity
  • Follow up and then follow up again
  • Identify other’s passions
  • Network up and network down
  • Take care of your online profile
  • Look for common ground with the person you’re connecting with

Facilitated Networking Session

After Jaime’s presentation, attendees participated in a facilitated networking session hosted by PINs leaders and representatives from Scotiabank. The attendees were provided tips on the following aspects of networking:

  • Build and Maintain Meaningful Professional Relationships
  • Online Networking
  • Face-to-Face Networking

Some of the tips shared at the table discussions included:

  • Balance quantity and quality in your networks
  • Create a reciprocal relationship
  • Online Profiles:
  1. Maintain consistency across all your online profiles
  2. Make sure to keep them up-to-date
  3. Use the right keywords to be easily searchable
  • Opportunities to network:
  1. Volunteering
  2. Mentoring Programs
  3. In the workplace
  4. Networking events
  5. Social Networks
  6. Online forums or blogs
  7. Alumni associations
Here is what some of the table hosts had to say:


Fauzia Asim, Scotiabank

It was my honor to have the opportunity to give back. Being an immigrant myself and having gone through the same initial process, I feel for them and can relate very well.”

Manny Gill, Scotiabank

“I enjoyed the session; not only were we able to share what we know, I think we all learned something new about networking.“

Rene Berrospi, PINs@YorkU

“It was a very well organized meeting. Networking is a key concept for newcomers and that is exactly what people have to do as soon as they arrive in Canada.”

At the end of the session, participants were asked about their experience and what they would take away from the sessions. Here’s what some of the participants had to say:

Ajay Srivastav“I learned a lot from today’s session. The first thing I will be doing is connecting online with all the people I have met today.”

Sheryll Roque“I learned about the importance of informational interviews and I will certainly be trying to arrange more coffee sessions and informational interviews with established professionals in my sector.”


Presentation: Networking with Purpose (via Slideshare)

Networking resources you can use