By Natalie Lihacova, member of PSGCNJ Marketing committee
Since our last blog article, which was posted a month ago, our lives have been disrupted by the “invisible enemy”, as our President calls this devastating pandemic disease – COVID-19. We are finding ourselves in the midst of a health crisis, economic crisis, job market crash, social freeze, and all our regular life and work processes in general.
This disruption has also changed how PSGCNJ provides services to our members in these times that we can’t meet face-to-face.
The good news, however, is that we live in the age of the Internet, and it allows us to meet online!
Which means that we can keep networking, learning, staying positive and focused, supporting each other and grow in our careers thanks to the services that PSGCNJ provides to our members.
Some of our services, that you may be aware of:
- General Monday meeting;
- Keeping our members’ skills sharp by working on one of our committees;
- Leadership roles in the organization;
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
General Monday meeting
We meet every Monday at 10:30 am, at Zoom (contact us for the meeting details); the meeting room opens at 10:00 am, but everyone is invited to come early and network with other members before the meeting starts! Read this Zoom Support Center resource to learn how you can use the Zoom platform with features such as microphone, speakers, chat, background and more. Don’t be afraid, Zoom is very user-friendly and intuitive.
Everyone is welcome!
As you may know, PSGCNJ is a non-profit organization whose membership is made up of volunteers. These volunteers are running the departments of our organization which we call committees. Each committee has its own set of responsibilities, as any department would in a for-profit company. During the current situation, committees meet either virtually (via Zoom or similar services) or via phone conference.
Everyone is welcome to join any of our committees, there are no prerequisites!
Each committee has its own structure and has certain responsibilities which the members of that committee work on. By working on a committee and participating, you can list this “job” on your resume and get a recommendation for the next job. Here are some of the benefits you get by participating on a committee:
- Quality networking. By doing things together with other members you will be able to know them better, and even more importantly – they will get to know your professional strengths not only based on what you say about yourself but by working with you side by side. Whenever they receive any job lead from their own circles that may be a fit for you, they will be able to recommend you with confidence;
- Confidence and sense of achievement. While being out of job for a while, you may start losing confidence in yourself. Participation in a committee will involve some work effort and results achieved, which is a great way to boost your self-confidence.
- New skills. You can significantly improve and update both your hard and soft skills by being an active member of a committee. And then, why not include those in your LinkedIn profile or resume?
- LinkedIn profile and resume. When your resume is reviewed, it may show a job gap, to help you avoid that and get that interview, you can add your PSGCNJ job to your resume to close that window. As mentioned above, you can include this work experience, responsibilities and skills in your LinkedIn profile and your resume.
- Recommendations. By proving yourself as a person capable of taking on responsibility, being reliable and providing results, you will let us know you better and we will be able to recommend you on LinkedIn or any other channel suitable for your next job opportunity.
Let me tell you about each committee in more detail.
Marketing and Events Committee
This committee, led by Peter Barrett, keeps all of us together! They are responsible for the organization of General Monday meetings, other company events, like nights out and other membership events. Having diverse speakers at our Monday events (thanks for the great job, Mary Anne!), posting updates on social media platforms (thanks, Tom Hickey!), writing blog articles, and organizing other events like our December holiday party.
This committee is also actively engaged in developing content for our new website – an ongoing project that involves a lot of effort from multiple committees.
This committee is responsible for finding and distributing job leads (vacancies) among our members, for communicating updates about career events and other kinds of announcements related to job search market.
Another workstream on this committee is outreach to recruiters and maintaining relationships with them in order to let them have access to our pool of awesome professionals that gives our members a leg up in the job market!
Finance and Membership Committee
This committee, currently led by Michael Calabria, is responsible for everything that has to do with numbers: collecting and keeping our member database records, running membership and financial reports, keeping the finances organized and transparent, filing taxes.
Even being a non-profit, volunteer organization, we still have some expenses, like the subscription to a Zoom account for virtual meetings at this time, hosting our website, supplies for training and marketing events, and insurance payments for the on-premise space we use to meet face-to-face. We anticipate these sessions to be continuing as soon as we get back to normal.
Our fundraising efforts aim to mitigate our financial issues by raising funds to support the services PSGCNJ brings our members as well as the future growth of the company.
This committee provides ongoing support and maintenance for our systems like website hosting and updates, software licenses. The Technology committee is also actively engaged in our new website project – they configure and customize WordPress according to the needs of our organization, and it is an interesting, although quite a time-consuming effort. Kudos to our heroes Lisa Hallman and Bill McGuinnis who keep this project going!
Project Management Office
This is not a formal committee, but a unit that helps our committees to achieve their goals in implementing change initiatives agreed upon by the committee and approved by the Executive Director.
The current projects include helping the Technology committee with new website development, the Membership committee with database cleanup, and the Training committee with the Job Boards project.
Any PSGCNJ member who considers themselves project or program managers, or wants to practice these skills, are welcome to join the PMO.
And finally, definitely check out the awesome package of services offered by our Training committee, which is led by Larry Maglin and all the fantastic value it brings to our members!
The Training Committee curriculum consists of these types of content:
- Accelerated Career Training (ACT) which is a series of 5 career/job search workshops given over a 2 ½ day period each month. All new members (and even those who may have taken the course years ago) are strongly encouraged to participate. A full description of the ACT courses can be found on the PSGCNJ website under “Training Curriculum.”
- Advanced Classes are offered to everyone who has completed the 5 ACT classes. These consist of Advanced Marketing/Goals, Advanced CARs (Challenge, Action, Results), Advanced Resume, and Advanced Interview Prep. These classes are also offered each month and their dates and times are listed on the monthly PSGCNJ calendar.
- Once in a while, we offer an “Improv” workshop – a very engaging and entertaining class that allows practicing job interviewing skills.
Heads of committees meet bi-weekly and receive their direction in the executive committee meetings led by our executive director Charles Ahr. The executive committee meeting is usually held prior to the Monday general meeting, with all committee directors, CFO and some project management people invited if the agenda calls for it.
I hope now you have an idea of our services in general, and how we run them in a remote environment. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and you are most welcome to become our member, or just join our General Monday meeting and enjoy the opportunities it has for you!
About the author: Natalie Lihacova is a member of PSGCNJ Marketing & Events committee; she is also a co-founder and CEO of Teammate.Exec and Mr. Simon. Natalie has over two decades of experience leading people and running businesses; before switching her career to Information Technology and Business Management, she used to be a musician – a singer and a choir director. She is passionate about helping people discover their true potential as professionals.