Assists Those in Career Transition
By Susie Davidson
In an era of widespread economic uncertainty, career networking groups have taken on an added dimension. For those who are caught in the unemployment loop, or are merely “between careers,” a safety net exists every Tuesday morning at Harvard Square’s University Lutheran Church.
WIND, begun in 1990 and named for the original “Wednesday is Networking Day” midweek meetings, is a privately run and self-supporting group that aims to provide an opportunity for networking, job search skill development, and motivational reinforcement for those who seek gainful employment. It runs from 9 a.m. to noon; $15 is required initially and $10 for subsequent meetings.
Many people have elected to access WIND’s job search resources, mini-workshops and guest speaker presentations, as well as interact with its diverse range of professionals. “Since its inception,” said WIND/East Facilitator Martin Pierce, who followed up a long and successful career in sales and financial services with four years of career consulting and outplacement experience at R.L. Stevens and Right Management Consultants, “WIND has served more than 11,000 professionals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
WIND currently runs four total weekly meetings serving these areas; in addition to the Tuesday Cambridge gatherings, WIND/North meets Wednesday mornings in Wilmington, WIND/South meets Thursday mornings in Foxboro and WIND/West meets Tuesday evenings in Westborough.
Pierce opened WIND/East in early June at the request of the organization’s director Fred Nothnagel, as members had expressed great interest in a branch that was accessible by the T (the others generally require cars). Nothnagel, a Senior Career Consultant with R.L. Stevens, and Director of WIND since 1995, leads WIND/North. With an extensive background in engineering, manufacturing, and information systems, he maintains an independent career coaching practice as well.
Nothnagel stresses the importance of WIND, even for those who may be receiving outside career assistance. “WIND acts as a complement to any job search training one may have received or is receiving,” he said, “by providing a weekly forum in which to network and to hone job search skills. WIND meetings provide a positive, productive environment in which to keep up attitude and momentum - critical components of a successful job transition.”
Pierce cited active WIND participatnts and Cambridge residents Dirk Oswald, Bruce Kasrel, Mabel Liang, David Hickey and Xihong Sheng. Though he proudly noted that he is a former Harvard Street resident, he now lives in Belmont.
WIND’s agenda generally includes small group networking, announcements and upcoming events, new member introductions, “Good News,” which celebrates members who have found employment, an announcement session, resource and employment listings searches, guest speaker presentations and mini-workshops, and a “Job Search Needs & Leads Exchange.” Membership, which can be conducted on a walk-in basis, includes additional, fee-based, small group workshops offered by WIND facilitators.
The University Lutheran Church is located at the corner of Dunster and Winthrop Streets in Harvard Square. For further information on WIND, contact email@example.com or visit www.windnetworking.com.