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The Value of Networking

By: Meghan Schrader, Marketing & Social Media Intern for TPRA


Networking – the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.


As the threat landscape grows in complexity and regulations require organizations to review their third parties with a more focused lens, networking and benchmarking off peers has never been more important. Networking provides opportunities to develop and improve your skill set, while staying on top of the latest trends in your industry. A few key benefits of networking with peers are the opportunities to exchange information/advice and obtain support on experiences, struggles, and goals. This allows you to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of.


Discussing common challenges, solutions, and opportunities can also open the door to valuable suggestions and guidance. Odds are, your peers have already gone through growing pains. But what else can you gain from network opportunities and where do you start? Listed below are additional benefits to networking, as well as some tips for getting started.


Learn from Industry Experts

Within a networking environment, you are able to discuss a variety of topics with industry experts and peers. By learning from experienced members of your industry, you can gain greater insight into your specific area of focus, or expand your perspective with new topics of discussion.


By attending and participating in networking activities, you learn from both peers and competitors first-hand, engage in information-sharing, and gain feedback on your ideas, strategies, and practices. Regardless of title or organization, you have the chance to collaborate, promote, and learn in a way that is beneficial for all parties. Through this, you can gain insights and share ideas to advance not only your program, but the whole field of TPRM.


Collaborate and Connect

Now, more than ever, collaboration and connection are needed for the advancement of the industry. The opportunity to experience and learn new things with peers, develop strategic partnerships, and connect with friends and colleagues is an integral part of networking.


A benefit of a networking experience is that connection and discussion is not limited to one group or type of individual. When attending a networking event, you are able to connect with peers from all walks of life, varying experience and program maturity, as well as speakers, sponsors, and many more relevant parties. You can go beyond the screen and ask questions, gain varying perspectives, and expand on the content that was covered.


Validate Your Program Activities

The need to stay current on best-practices, technology, new techniques, and trends is vitally important; especially when the threat landscape continues to grow in complexity. Networking provides you with educational opportunities, leading to personal and professional growth, and advancement of your knowledge base by learning from thought-leaders. You’ll be able to return to your organization with new ideas to advance and grow your program. Advancing your professional education not only validates your current program, but also lends credibility to your job function.


Tips for Networking

There are always opportunities for networking no matter where you are at within your career. A few ideas on how and where to get started are:

  • Network via LinkedIn or other social media platforms by sending connection requests; filtering your LinkedIn searches to connect with specific people based on industry, location, and more; attending LinkedIn events; and joining LinkedIn groups to connect with industry professionals and establish relationships.

  • Network via special interest forums to promote discussion, ask questions, and gain real-time support from peers.

  • Network via conferences to connect with industry professionals, gain new insights, and form meaningful professional relationships by engaging in discussion, exchanging business cards, and simply saying ‘hello’ to new people. The informal connections which take place outside of conference breakout sessions can be extremely valuable. (The TPRA actually started when two peers began to network at a conference.)

To start networking, find an event or networking platform relates to your industry or that interests you, practice your entrance (meaning practice how you will introduce your self), go into a discussion with an idea in mind of what you would like to get out of it, offer something in return (whether it be a connection for someone, a thought or idea, or another resource), and (optional) work through a follow up activity (whether it be reaching out to them via email or setting up a future call). Follow up is key if you feel the network activity resulted in a benefit to yourself, career, and/or organization. Follow up can also lead to long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.


Networking through TPRA

The Third Party Risk Association (TPRA) is built on the foundation of furthering the Third Party Risk Management profession through knowledge sharing and networking. We do this through community engagement in monthly and quarterly meetings, as well as industry-specific calls, networking events, and benchmarking sessions. In addition, we collaborate on and create guidance, tools, and templates as a community. Lastly, and what you may receive the most benefit from, is communication and collaboration between peers through our Practitioner Slack Forums.


Live, in-person conferences also provide a space for networking, discussions, information sharing, and collaboration. Networking in person also aids in growing your relationships with subject matter experts that can help you accelerate your TPRM program.


Upcoming Networking Opportunity: TPRA In-Person Conference

Third Party Risk Association’s 2022 Third Party Risk Management (TPRM) Conference, “The Art of Third Party Risk” will take place in-person, on April 18th - 20th, 2022, at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center, in beautiful Austin, Texas.

We invite all TPRM Practitioners to join us for three inspiring days of impactful discussion. Any individual and/or organization within the TPRM space (TPRM Professionals, Vendor Managers, Procurement/Sourcing Specialists, Lawyers, Information and/or Cyber Security Professionals, Compliance and/or Privacy Specialists, Auditors, and Service Providers) will find great value in attending this event. Speaker sessions are designed to suit your individual and organizational goals. Take full advantage of our sessions by shaping the experience to best fit your program’s maturity level.

  • Track 1 (Apprentice) is for those developing their TPRM program.

  • Track 2 (Practitioner) is for more mature programs that want to validate and obtain best practices for enhancing their program.

  • Track 3 (Master) is for programs that have reached a higher level of maturity and want to learn more about innovative tools and techniques to elevate and automate certain aspects of their program.

There are many benefits to attending in-person conferences, to include receiving continual professional education credits (receive up to 14 CPEs), meeting industry leaders, and validating your TPRM program activities. You can also visit service provider booths and learn about tools and techniques that are shaping the way the industry assesses third party risk. Join us in person to make valuable connections and participate in meaningful discussions on TPRM. Visit our website at www.artofthirdpartyrisk.org to learn more about the conference and to purchase your ticket. By visiting the conference site, you will also find our COVID protocols for the event. Conclusion When you make the investment in participating in a network event specific to your career path, you open the doors to new opportunities that will allow you to share personal experiences, gain validation for your work, and contribute to a growing community of TPRM professionals. It also allows you to return to your organization with new strategies, strong professional relationships, and the insight to help your program and organization accelerate.

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