Editor’s Message: The Value of Networking / Message du rédacteur : La valeur du réseautage
Networking, according to Dictionary.com, is defined as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.” Sure, I can buy that, but I’d say it goes further.
Having connections with expertise is very valuable when you need advice in a specialized area, support for an event, feedback on a proposed solution to a problem, or simply a friend to share an idea with.
A network also provides insights into someone’s character and the values that are important to them.
I enjoy playing team sports. While teams initially come together to share a common interest, in my experience, teammates often find they have much more in common than just the sport they play together. By playing sports, I’ve met a variety of folks from diverse backgrounds, and many have become close friends whom I see regularly. Many of you probably have hobbies and interests that have led to similar experiences. Chasing our passions helps to build our networks.
CRPA is a diverse collection of radiation protection professionals. The group includes people who have acquired radiation protection responsibilities as part of their role in workplace safety and those who have dedicated their lives to the profession. Some are very specialized in a local environment and some are world renowned for their expertise. None of us is an expert in every area of the radiation protection field.
The value of the CRPA network can only improve as our membership expands. All of us have something of value to share. My network helps me grow both professionally and personally, and CRPA keeps me engaged with the latest information in radiation protection.
In my workplace, careful design, engineering, and strict control of key systems have led to a very low risk (knock on wood!) of significant radiation exposure to workers or members of the public. Regular staff training, discussion, and high standards for safety systems are required to prevent complacency. Both staff and management appreciate the risks involved and accept the importance of these systems. The radiation protection program is an integral part of our safety culture.
As a research facility we are constantly pushed to improve, challenged to try something new, and often faced with radiation protection issues in areas where we are not experts. Assessing the risk, measuring response, and then understanding how to implement a process change within a workplace culture can be very challenging. I often turn to my network for advice and support.
For me, my network is one of many reasons I value my CRPA membership. Among this collection of individuals from diverse backgrounds, I can invariably find someone who is willing to share their experience with a similar issue. I am humbled by how open CRPA members are to providing advice and information, and I am always prepared to do the same.
Networking—don’t underestimate its value!