Enhanced Professional Networking and Its Impact on Personal Development and Business Success

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Executive Summary

At the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, the Watson Women's Network (WWN) devised an innovative format for a networking event to facilitate professional networking between IBM's technical and business communities. The WWN organized two networking events based on the devised event format. The paper used social network analysis and other methods to show that the event fostered cohesion between divisions; served as a catalyst for exchange of ideas and opportunities; enabled development of social and professional communication skills; generated intellectual property and measurable business impact. The results help to quantify how professional networking events cultivate new cross-divisional business collaborations and help enhance personal and professional skills. The lessons learned from the organization of this event may benefit other organizations, diversity groups, and professional networks.

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