Nina Godiwalla on How to Contribute to a Professional Network

In Chapter 14 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "What is it Important Not Only to Participate in a Network But Also to Contribute?"  She shares personal experiences from writing and publishing her book.  Godiwalla notes why it is important to take responsibility contributing to a network, how to do it, and what personal and collective value it creates.  Godiwalla is the author of "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street". She is also a public speaker on workplace diversity and founder and CEO of Mindworks, where she teaches mind-based stress reduction techniques to help organizations improve employee wellbeing.  Godiwalla holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth University and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 


Erik Michielsen:  Why is it important not only to participate in a network but also to contribute?

Nina Godiwalla:  You have to contribute when you’re part of a network partly because that’s what a network is about and the reality is, is when you’re saying contribute you’re still getting something out of that.  For me, it’s amazing to hear what people are going through so I’ve published a book, I’ve been able to do it, you, know fairly well and I have a lot of people that reach out to me for all different kinds of questions constantly like, “Hey I – constantly people have – I have an idea, talk to me about it.”  And the thing is, is that is giving back. 

I mean I’m more than willing to have conversations with people and help people understand the process, what it is and there’s something about, for me, I found even when I reached out to people sometimes I just want to hear them – I just want to be close to them because they’ve done what I want. I had a conversation with them, actually helps me get closer to achieving it and I think that’s – there’s always something to gain you know when you’re doing that and for me, I still think when you say contributing, you’re still gaining something from that.  I get to hear what people are working on, what they’re excited about, the challenges they’re having and I usually learn something from that process so I don’t think of it as -- I think it’s your responsibility definitely to have that iterative process with people and if you don’t I just don’t think you get nearly as much out of an organization.