by Tegan Annett
GLADSTONE family support services will learn the personal and organisational benefits of networking from a communications expert this month.
Guest speaker at Gladstone-based event Professional Connections Dr Celeste Lawson is keen to show Gladstone family support service providers why and how they should network.
The CQUniversity head of course for professional communication said some family support services in Gladstone weren't aware of what else was offered within the region.
She said, as a result, the services were missing out on opportunities to learn and improve.
Dr Lawson will use her experience as a police officer, journalist, public relations specialist and academic to show how services can learn from sharing their own experiences with others.
"I'll explain how todevelop a network and how to maintain that network," Dr Lawson said.
"A lot of people start off well but part of the strength of a network is the relationship builds over time ... There's no quick fix."
Professional Connections offers Gladstone family support services a unique opportunity to meet with other service providers in Gladstone.
"They're simply unaware what else is offered," she said.
"It's only through networking they can learn what other services are doing and they can then contribute their own little bit to the bigger picture."
Dr Lawson said Gladstone businesses can grow stronger from understanding what others had experienced.
"We all have experiences that we've dealt with in different ways," she explained.
"But sometimes we can see similarities in those experiences, and we can learn from them."
Communities for Children's Wendy Morris said that sometimes Gladstone parents were travelling to Bundaberg and Rockhampton for services that were available in Gladstone.
Ms Morris (pictured below), who is involved in organising the Professional Connections and Child and Family Expo, said a misunderstanding of the services available raised broader issues.
"When Gladstone families go to other regions for the support services, it means there is inaccurate data on the demand for local service providers," she said.
The networking event happens the evening before the Child and Family Expo, to be held on Thursday at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, so that providers can refer families to other services providers that complement their offerings.
The Gladstone Child and Family Expo, returning for its second year, will showcase services in health, wellbeing, nutrition, development and more.
"Navigating the service sector can be difficult," Ms Morris, a mother-of-two said.
"If you've never needed to source support services before, where do you start? Imagine as a first-time parent, your child's teacher tells you your child is not meeting some development milestones - where do you start?"
If you're a professional working with children and families, you can register for the professional networking event at the GAPDL Communities for Children website.
Professional Connections is a free event to be held on Wednesday at Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre from 5pm-8pm.
The two events form part of Gladstone's Under Eight's Week program.
For the full list of events offered in the region visit gladecc.com.au.