Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by Laura Miller

Networking is an integral part of life in the business world.

Emails, phone calls, and even Zoom meetings are nice, but they can only take us so far.

hand shake

Getting out and about, shaking hands and meeting others face-to-face – this is what really allows us to form relationships with customers, contacts, and even competitors. It can help us to see others in the industry not just as another name from an email, but as an actual person behind that name, a person with their own knowledge, interests, emotions, and everything else that comes along with being human. These connections can then in turn help us make that sale, develop that source, get that opportunity, or whatever it is we are trying to accomplish in our individual roles.

After the pandemic and with so many of us still working from home, I think we all realize the importance of getting out of the office (whether that office is inside or outside the home) for various reasons, with mental health being one of the most important.

The steel industry has an abundance of opportunities for us to get out there and network. We are lucky in that regard. Sometimes the opportunities happen within the cities we live or work in, and sometimes they happen all away across the country. If you’re lucky, your boss and your company understand the importance of networking and will send you to that conference or event without issue. Sometimes we have to do a little more convincing, and that’s okay too.

One of my personal favorite conferences to attend is the Association of Women in the Metal Industries’ annual meeting held each year in November. In the male-dominated steel industry, it’s empowering to be in a huge conference room where women are in the majority. The energy is different. There’s a buzz in the air. Hearing from women in the industry and gaining insight and knowledge from them is incredible.

I highly recommend any women involved in the steel industry check out AWMI’s annual conference, as well as the regional chapter meetings that are held frequently throughout the year. I encourage men to check them out, too, not just as a way of supporting our industry’s women, but to become more well-rounded themselves – and of course for the networking! One of AWMI’s four main goals is providing networking opportunities, and they provide many wonderful ways to do just that.

Another great industry event is SMU’s upcoming Steel Summit. It’s one of the steel industry’s largest events, offering an abundance of opportunities for networking and educating oneself on the state of the industry and what to expect in the coming months. Last year was my first time attending and I was blown away by the size and scope of the event. That buzz in the air that I mentioned before was there as well – not all events have that buzz, but the good ones definitely do. These events remind us to not take everything so seriously (as can often happen in an office or a mill), to mix things up and learn something new, to enjoy ourselves, make new friends and further relationships with colleagues, customers, and contacts.

Last year’s Steel Summit brought together more than 1,250 people involved in the industry. Almost 600 folks are already registered for this year’s event, and that number grows every day.

I’ll be at this year’s Steel Summit with the rest of the SMU team. Will we see you there? We’d love the opportunity to meet you face-to-face and have some fun together.

To register and to find more information about the conference, including speakers and the agenda, visit the Steel Summit website.

By Laura Miller,

Laura Miller

Read more from Laura Miller

Latest in Final Thoughts