I never attend company events "just to show my face." For me, that doesn't accomplish anything. While I like to keep my personal life separate from work, I do realize there are occasions that call for social activities with co-workers. I have some close friends at work that I do engage in activities with outside of work, but for people I am not friends with, I believe the real value comes from socializing strategically. By that, I mean going only to those functions that I'm truly interested in (such as charitable events or community endeavors) OR attending department-specific events where I know I'll get to interact with certain leaders. In these more intimate settings, it's easier to network with people who work in areas I have an interest in. I've found that many times, I've been able to have a one-one-chat with a person and I've had an opportunity to either pick their brain or tell them about an opportunity I'm interested in. I call this "face time." I seldom pass up an opportunity to do this. You never know who you might connect with and where that connection might lead one day.
Odell Brown serves as Executive Director of Dallas ACAP. Nora O'Garro is the Director.