Episode 23 – Building Supportive Networks

In this episode of Teaching Change, Courtney and Jerrid discuss the importance of having a supportive network. Supportive networks involve a person or group of people you can rely on for comradery, advice, or just a simple sounding board.

Courtney immediately mentions her Toastmasters club as a major supportive network in her life. When Courtney sought to further develop her leadership and communication skills, she joined Weekend Toastmasters. Her club, which is a part of Toastmasters International, provides a nurturing environment of learning and ongoing opportunities to become your best self. Every Sunday Courtney takes on roles such as the prepared speaker, evaluator, timer, and counter while receiving valuable feedback and, yes, the support she can use to improve for the next meeting.

Jerrid brings up the competitive aspect of Toastmasters and asks if this colors her experience when she doesn’t win. Courtney assures Jerrid that the contests are all in good fun and are meant to be learning tools as well. For each meeting, a member is awarded a certificate for best speaker, evaluator, and table topics speaker. Even if she doesn’t win, Courtney is able to gain valuable insight into her skills as a communicator and to observe the good speaking qualities of others.

Courtney reveals that Weekend Toastmasters is also a good support network for her because it is outside of her professional workplace and allows her to interact with people on a different level. Instead of having on her librarian hat, Courtney is able to engage other areas of interest. Jerrid agrees with this particular aspect of supportive networks. He once was a part of a close-knit group at work that would hang out on their personal time. Ultimately, their conversations would turn to work-related matters and Jerrid felt like he was still on the clock. Therefore, this particular network did not provide Jerrid with the downtime he needed away from his daily job duties.

Luckily, Jerrid has since built other supportive networks that give him the community and guidance he needs. As previously discussed, Jerrid is a husband and father of three children. Thanks to his lovely wife Deana, who sets Jerrid up on husband dates, he is able to connect with other husbands to exchange stories and seek advice. This is just one type of supportive network for Jerrid. He has also found networks that help him care for his aging parents, guide him through professional decisions and many other life situations where it is of benefit to have a second opinion.

This episode marks the end of Courtney’s stint as co-host on Teaching Change. She thanks Jerrid for giving her the opportunity to explore the world of social entrepreneurship and to share her own experiences with the audience. As a fan of the show, she is looking forward to listening to future episodes of the podcast.  

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