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I’m welcoming in the New Year with a little theme — connections, community and being deliberate in your career.

Creating connections is my life’s work. Not a day goes by that I’m not making meaningful matches between companies and individuals looking to grow in their careers. Every call, every meeting is important to me because maybe today, or next month, or next year, I will have the opportunity to connect one great person to another. It could result in a hire, but even more importantly, it often results in long term professional relationships, and even friendships.

I get tremendous energy and satisfaction out of what I do for a living, whether it’s connecting people, connecting organizations, or just connecting the dots so others can achieve their career goals.

John Onoda said during a conversation I had with him earlier this year, “No one tells you during the first half of your career that that is the time you need to be working on the second half of your career.” This powerful sentiment was in relation to building your network and nurturing it early and often throughout your career. If you were to put connections at the top of your list of things to do in 2018, who would you reach out to meet? Who would you make sure you stay in touch with – not because you need something, but because you just want to connect?

That of course, leads me to community. We all need our communities – and there are many. The personal communities that influence and support our families and friendships. And of course, the professional communities of peers and mentors in our fields. So often we limit our professional community to our small circle of colleagues. But sharing ideas across industries, geographies and organizational types and sizes can make communications professionals be more innovative and successful.

In 2018, I’ll be rolling out an initiative for creating a community of communications executives that is surprisingly untapped. That’s a bit of a teaser line, but stay tuned for more on this in the months ahead.

Both connections and community play nicely into my third area of emphasis in this year’s theme. Being deliberate in your career means that you no longer think in the transactional terms of “need job/get job.” Instead, you think strategically about the span of your career. What do you want to learn? What do you want to do – both short and long term? What steps do you need to take to move in the direction that makes sense for you? How do you move from taking the job you should want, to creating the job you do want?

This year, my goal is to help experienced communications professionals be more deliberate in their careers. If you haven’t already checked out a program I’m rolling out this year, check it out here and take our short survey. Being deliberate in your career doesn’t mean there is only one path, nor does it mean the path doesn’t take a few winding routes along the way. Having a vision, making a plan, and adjusting along the way is the key to success. I’d love to help you make it real.

Welcome to 2018!