Networking involves interacting with people from different professions, nationalities, and cultures - giving you a broader scope of life. It involves establishing and developing long-term relations of mutual benefit.
Networking is not just about receiving or asking; the best way to connect is by giving. The Old Millfieldian Society is working on developing various ways to keep OMs connected to create more robust careers support and networking opportunities, segmented by location and industry sectors through networking events.
We recently spoke with Ruth Tuthill (nee Foot, 1990-1995; Walton); OM, current parent and founder of Looking After Me, about starting up her business, reconnecting with OM, Rowena Dickerson (nee Stuart-Paul, 1979-82 MPS/1982-88 Oaklands), and the benefits of OM networking.
What is the importance of OM networking?
As soon as you meet an OM, you instantly feel an affiliation – you feel part of a strong network with a global reach. There is a ‘type’ of person that Millfield nurtures and develops, one who is positive, with high aspirations and a can-do attitude. I haven’t met an old Millfield student who doesn’t live life to the full.
So, when I launched www.lookingafterme.co.uk and I was looking for support to grow the company, I immediately approached fellow Millfield student, Rowena Dickerson for support. We’d met in Oxfordshire and bonded over common memories of Millfield and our general outlook on life. We both enjoyed talking about new health crazes and lifestyles and saw benefits from being physically active, albeit in different sports; netball, tennis, hockey and running. I remembered the conversations we’d had, including Rowena’s 30 years of experience in healthcare PR - I knew that she would be a great fit and couldn’t have been happier when she agreed to come onboard.
As life began to start up post Covid, I, like many others recognised, on both a personal and professional level, how dramatically the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have impacted on the health and wellbeing of so many. Alongside my university friend, Claire Cooper, who between us have over 25 years of experience in education and people management, we wanted to find a solution to this.
This is how Looking After Me came into existence.
My children are currently at Millfield and I am proud to see the significant investment the current students receive to support their mental as well as their physical health and wellbeing. I’ve seen the benefits for my children and how motivated they are if they are able to focus on their study rather than on a wellbeing concern - and I feel it is incredibly important to support our employees in a similar way – after all, if we value our teams and show them how much we appreciate them, it’s more likely they will give their all to their job and therefore your business. - Ruth
Why is OM networking important and how has it helped you?
Since launching Looking After Me it is wonderful to have the OM community to connect with. We have already made connections with the Millfield community, in Rowena, and with two further healthcare professionals who work alongside us, to support our employees. We are excited to discover who else we can find and what relationships we can build for Looking After Me. The OM network is comprised of the broadest range of ages, experiences and professions, all with a common goal of building relationships with their alumni. We hope that the opportunities will be numerous. We plan to attend many of the organised OM networking events, and also connect through OMs via LinkedIn and other social media platforms that the OM society are promoting. - Ruth
What opportunities has connecting with OMs provided you with?
Connecting up with Ruth and working at Looking After Me has been a hugely positive experience. It kickstarted my career, having paused it for a number of years while my children were growing up. It just shows how conversations and connections made ten years ago can sew a seed which can grow into something exciting and rewarding. I am looking forward to starting new conversations and developing new connections with other like-minded OMs and growing Looking After Me with Ruth. Exciting times. - Rowena
How do you think OM networking can help support small businesses/start-up businesses?
Wherever you are in the world, it is incredible how many OMs you meet. This common connection allows for relationships to develop quickly. The OM community provides a level of reassurance with trustworthy people with whom connections can be nurtured. We hope to build relationships with OMs in businesses, whose services we can use and those who could work with us. Also, with small to medium size businesses who want our support in putting health and wellbeing at the forefront of their business by using Looking After Me. I hope that through this article alone, OMs will connect with us to see if and how we could work together.
I firmly believe that all employers are responsible for looking after their employees' health and wellbeing and as Mr Martin, Millfield’s headmaster in 1995, encouraged us to always strive to make a difference. Looking After Me provides employers and employees with direct access to private medical, counselling and lifestyle management support with a bespoke online confidential portal that allows members to monitor and take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. - Ruth
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