Looking Back on a Year of Vancouver Socials
It’s been a great year for socials in Vancouver, and we’re looking back on the year with the help of Vancouver group leaders Joy Leimanis and Marc Thorup (pictured right). Joy has been a group leader for nearly a year and since that time, she’s seen the community strengthen and grow. Marc has been with us since April, but he’s already proven himself to be a dedicated leader and mentor.
Join our Vancouver Meetup Group to get updates on our future socials, and check out our upcoming social dates here. We would like to thank everyone who has participated in our social events, and remind everyone else that newcomers are always welcome!
What’s your favourite part of being a social group leader?
Joy: Getting to meet new people and hear how they are using geomatics in their studies, work or volunteering. There are a lot of diverse and interesting projects being undertaken by our members.
Marc: The regulars. Probably around the third time I’ve seen a member, there is a significant comfort level with that person. This makes it easier to integrate new guests with the group, while allowing for deeper conversation over time.
Has anything surprised you about being a social group leader?
Joy: How much geomatics professionals can drink! Also how people genuinely want to make connections with other professionals and keep coming to socials because they enjoy socializing with the group.
Marc: In Halifax, I would run into acquaintances daily. When I moved to Vancouver, that naturally happened less. More recently though, I’ve started running into attendees out and about the West End – and I was not expecting that.
What was the most memorable moment of the year?
Joy: In Vancouver, there was a tipping point about mid-year where we realized that the socials were growing and getting a more diverse set of attendees, and people were enjoying themselves. It may sound silly now but there were a few months of growing pains when we wondered if people would buy into the concept.
Marc: A couple good friends of mine found their jobs through the socials, and we still see them. When I became a social leader, they brought me a pizza-flavoured cupcake to my first social and we played a round of billiards – complete with trick shots and nicknames. That was extremely pleasant.
Also, anytime it is somebody’s birthday or when they have come to share good news.
What types of people usually come to the socials in your city?
Joy: The first few months we saw a lot of job seekers, but more recently we have a very well rounded group of managers, geomatics professionals and students.
Marc: Tough question: professionals, job-seekers, students, recruiters, power-networkers, entrepreneurs, realtors, teachers, scientists, engineers, the geo-curious and renaissance people.
Why are these monthly socials important?
Joy: It’s a great way to connect with other people in the profession who share the same interests as you. It is always great when you start working on a new project in collaboration with outside organizations and you already have a personal connection to the people you will be working with.
Marc: Geomatics is broad and diverse. These socials allow for a variety of topics in a casual setting with a professional tone. Should an attendee prefer a less technical talk, this is also easily achieved.
What have you learned from attending monthly socials?
Joy: I have learned that Vancouver is a notoriously hard place to meet people (apparently we have a reputation!). There are a lot of job seekers from other parts of the world flocking to the city; we have had attendees from every corner of the world. The socials are a great way for them to integrate into the geomatics scene and gain local contacts that can help them find work. Almost all of the regular attendees from outside Vancouver have found jobs in geomatics, many of them through connections made in the group.
Marc: If you don’t understand networking, it might be that you see socializing as a by-product of networking instead of the other way around.
What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming socials?
Joy: Meeting new people, but also hearing about opportunities available to geomatics professionals in the city. Whether it is talking about the pros and cons of a new professional designation, how interesting conferences were, or upcoming training, there is always something to learn from one of our many diverse group members.
Marc: The Kingston Taphouse balcony reopening before summer’s end.