Social Networking and Building Relationships
SRAI is not only about professional networking. The benefits of social networking can build life-long relationships. COVID-19 has taught me that physical distancing does not have to include social distancing.
Networking is a big part of SRAI. We talk about it all the time. Professional networking is incredibly valuable and I appreciate the opportunities I have to reach out to my colleagues across the globe to ask questions about how they are handling an issue or their advice about careers. I took the opportunity in recent weeks to learn from a few of you about how you are using a clinical trials management system in your organizations as I transition in my new role at University of Utah Health. This is professionalism at its finest and SRAI members are the best at it supporting each other.
I have cringed at the term “social distancing” since COVID-19 has taken hold in our world. I am a person that needs my people around me. I love my family. I do. I love my friends and co-workers, too. I need my space and room to make my mark outside the house, too. I am fortunate to have a career that drives me that way. I have opted to use “physical distancing” because the thought of distancing myself socially was so hard. My SRAI colleagues came to the rescue on that front, too.
Through the friendships that I have created, we decided as a group to have a nightly check-in. Debra Schaller-Demers, Rene Hearns, Kate McCormick, Cliff Schofield and his husband Alan Gehman (our SRAI “groupie”), Larry Waxler, Mary LaRocca, and I enjoyed a few nights of checking in to see how we were feeling and adjusting to the new life we had to navigate. The nightly check-ins turned into good mornings and now we chat a bit throughout the day. It is incredibly uncommon to go a day without someone reaching out to check on each other.
Since March, our group has experienced some incredible events. We have seen kids get married listened to each other as they have had to go to their hospitals and see what COVID-19 has been doing to their patients, supported each other through the pain of losing a loved one or seeing them get sick, celebrated engagements and new jobs, talked each other down from bad days, laughed through some hysterical moments, and enjoyed each other’s company on a different level than we all could have ever imagined. We’ve planned our next adventures together when the world is safe to experience again.
We have had Zoom calls so we can see each other, connecting, and blowing off some steam together. Those calls usually end up mixing in some work questions and ideas for SRAI. It makes the sting of not being able to connect at meetings a little less painful.
I would encourage anyone that is interested in starting something like this to try it. We weren’t sure how it would work out, but it has made the world of difference. We look forward to sharing our moments and creating lifelong bonds. Who knows? If you are a Utah girl that wants to relocate to the Northeast one day, I have some good connections and an instant social support system.
Authored by Tonya K. Edvalson, OnCore Programs Manager
University of Utah Health
SRAI Membership Chair