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Networking from the Introvert’s Perspective

June 13, 2019 9:30 AM | Deleted user

By Heather Miller, NENA Director

Ticket to Work Manager, Easterseals Nebraska

I’ll be honest. I’m a closet introvert. The idea of going to a national conference by myself to meet with a large group of people I’ve never met in a city I’ve never visited is an extremely frightening thing for me. If I’ve spent any amount of time with you in person or on the phone, you probably didn’t notice. I hope you didn’t notice! I’ve spent decades trying to hide it and even longer trying to make myself an extrovert. It’s never going to happen. We are who we are, but I can share how I’ve worked to overcome it and make an offer to any closet introverts out there who may be considering attending NENA’s National Training Conference in September.

  1. If you are feeling uneasy about attending due to your “introverted-ness,” please find me when you arrive or reach out to me before the conference. I’ve been there. I’ve felt what you’re feeling, and it’s not fun. If you don’t want to sit at a table alone for breakfast or lunch, please find me and take a seat!
  2. Networking doesn’t have to be done in person. Start by taking advantage of our NENA committees. Any member can participate in any of the committees. This will be a much smaller group of people you’ll quickly get to know during monthly conference calls.
  3. Participate in our Quarterly Teleconferences and monthly Ticket Talks. Don’t worry, I won’t make you speak if you’re not comfortable speaking. I suspect, though, after a few meetings, you’ll feel comfortable enough to speak up. If not, that’s ok too!
  4. Participate in conference networking events. This year’s conference is packed full of them!

    *Tuesday, September 24th – Be on the lookout for an informal gathering with the NENA Board this evening.
    *Wednesday, September 25th – VIP Reception for session presenters and active committee members. This is a great way to meet other NENA members in a smaller setting. If you’ve been invited, attend! As a bonus, the food and drinks are always phenomenal.
    *Thursday, September 26th – Beauregard–Keyes House and Garden Museum Tour. Look for more information to come regarding this evening social event. Check out the beautiful museum at

    Also look for information posted during the conference. The planning committee is going to have an area where attendees can list when/where/what they’ll be doing during the down times. Believe me, this group of professionals always has an open-door policy!

I hope to see as many of you as I can in New Orleans this year! It’s no secret that this is one of my favorite cities to visit. If you’re feeling lost, come find me or any NENA Board Member. With this group, you’ll be “family” before you know it!

The National Employment Network Association (NENA) serves Employment Networks (ENs), American Job Centers (AJCs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and other Stakeholders involved in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.

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