Taco Tuesdays at FIRST – January 2023

Welcome to Taco Tuesdays at FIRST

Once a month, FIRST teams in New York gather in our offices to listen to a panel of our very own teams discussing various personal and work-related topics while enjoying some tacos and drinks. Our monthly get-together provides the perfect opportunity for our people to interact with each other outside of work and get to know each other on a more personal level. Our efforts in maintaining a strong internal culture have been a big focus for this new year. Especially as we continue to see immense growth in our business, it’s crucial to ensure everyone feels connected and valued across all our global teams and offices.

Our latest Taco Tuesday topic was Love What You Do: The Power of Networking, Friendships, and Connections. Our teams discussed networking success stories and the importance of connections and friendships at work.

Hosted by our SVP of Production Strategy and Services, Michael Reese led a discussion with our Learning and Development Director, Kevin Reid, Data Manager Solutions, Chandler Farro, and Events and Experiences Team Lead, Sarah Steinberg. 

The conversation began by looking at the benefits of networking, many of which revolved around the central theme of expanding one’s sphere of influence. These benefits included:

Career support

– Building relationships 

– Mentorship 

– Expanding opportunities 

– Gaining knowledge and insights 

– Strengthening business connections

Talking Panel

Not only is networking essential for building connections and career opportunities, but it also affects morale, productivity, and happiness. Studies have shown that people need 5 friendly coworkers to feel connected, around 7 to feel belonging, and that most well-connected people tend to be connected to around 10 colleagues. On top of this, when looking at Gen Z, friendships in the workplace make 57% of them happy, 50% feel more motivated, and 39% feel more productive.

So, how do we network successfully?

Here are some tips from our panel:

  • Make a move! Go out to team dinners, team-building exercises, and company events. 
  • If you feel comfortable bringing someone else along to team or team gatherings, invite them.
  • Show up early to meetings (in-person or virtual) because there will always be a minute or two beforehand to connect.
  • Expand on someone’s answer to “How are you?”; Continue the conversation!
  • It’s okay to be quiet! You don’t have to be an extrovert to make a connection.
  • Pave the road for others to increase their sphere of influence and gain connections. 
  • Be open and confident in talking about what you want and striving for something better. 
  • Use any opportunity in your day to turn a contact into a colleague and potential friend.

After the panel finished their discussion, there was a small networking game for everyone to play which helped us meet new people, establish new connections and make new friends. Especially with this discussion, the panel stressed the significant impact that having in-office connections and friends can have on morale, happiness, and productivity, which is why we continue to value building our internal culture.

Stay tuned for our next Taco Tuesday in February, with more stories, takeaways, and beautiful moments from our global teams!