The Think Global, Link Local 2020 Networking Breakfast was held on March 5, 2020, hosted by the Vancouver Branch of the United Nations Association Canada in collaboration with the NGO & Nonprofit Studies Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Several UBC Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs students attended the breakfast. Here are some key insights that they gained:
This year’s Think Global, Link Local 2020 Networking Breakfast in Vancouver hosted a wide variety of B.C.’s most important NGOs. Facilitated by the United Nations Association of Canada, the event showcased social initiatives who are fostering youth civic engagement, promoting women’s participation in city development, advocating for the legal rights of children and youth, and much more.
It was a pleasure to attend the UNAC Think Global, Link Local event! I gained exposure to all kinds of interesting projects that are underway here in our backyard in Vancouver. The event really illustrated a point we discuss often in the MPPGA program: global change must begin at home.
A highlight of the event for me was getting to know the leadership of Women Transforming Cities (WTC), a local NGO that works with Vancouver’s City Council to apply a gendered, intersectional lens to key issues. One representative of WTC is originally from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where I recently traveled for my Global Policy Project. We had an interesting conversation comparing gender dynamics in Canada and Mongolia, and have stayed in touch since the event. It’s a small world sometimes, especially with the opportunities that the MPPGA affords!
Chris Friesen, the keynote speaker and Settlement Director with Immigrant Services Society of BC, encourages young professionals to:
- Ask. The worst thing that can happen is that you are told no.
- Combine your academics with civic engagement. No employer will ask for your grades but you will be rewarded for your interest to address public concerns and promote the quality of the community.
- Find your passion. Only if you are passionate about what you do, you will continue to rise above failure.
The UNAC TGLL was a great opportunity to meet policy professionals with diverse and global experiences in some of the most renowned development organizations in the world. Apart from relevant information around how to engage with these organizations, the session also gave meaningful insights into how powerful careers are shaped in the international development sector.
The UNAC Networking Event was a great opportunity to meet with the numerous NGOs operating in Vancouver as well as hear directly from people that had years and years of experience working directly in the Development field. Because of the various organizations present at the event, I was able to interact with representatives from the organizations whom I had zeroed in on prior to the event (i.e. the UN and Oxfam) as well as organizations that were introduced to me for the very first time (i.e. Cityhive). It was an eye-opening experience overall, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to attend.
The event was an opportunity to revisit the fundamental importance of networking and understanding how important it is to have a professional network. Your professional network is the window to your next opportunity as it provides advice that is backed by years of lived experiences so unless you ask, you will never know. As you interact with them, this will help you find your passions and align them with your values. Being able to interact with representatives from international organizations such as OXFAM, Plan international and UNAC board members highlighted to me the amount of work I need to put in to achieve my professional goals.