In today’s world, the trend to work virtually or distanced is growing, making digital networking more important than ever. The new SMU Network is on top of this trend and gives SMU alumni and students a platform to connect, integrate their LinkedIn profiles, filter results by school, class year or city of residence, or identify as “willing to help” or “needing help.” The platform’s user-friendly features mean a Meadows School of the Arts grad arriving in a new city could find fellow alumni nearby with whom they can connect.
Take Juan Francisco de la Guardia ’10, for example. After several years working in television production in the Dallas-Fort Worth area following graduation, de la Guardia and his wife made the move to Los Angeles. The transition certainly had complications professionally, since de la Guardia needed to establish new connections in L.A. He contacted professors and asked them to connect him with guest speakers from his classes. “My first work was through Meadows Professor Sean Griffin,” de la Guardia says, explaining that Griffin had brought in a reality show producer to speak to his class. “I remembered that guy when I was coming out here, and called Dr. Griffin to ask, ‘Hey, do you have that guy in your Rolodex?’”
Meadows recently conducted internal research showing that students want to interact with alumni and other potential connections but often don’t know how to initiate contact. Fortunately, de la Guardia was extroverted and unafraid to reach out. He ended up scoring his first gig through that connection from Professor Griffin’s class. “If the online SMU Network had existed when we moved to L.A., I would have been on it, looking for Los Angeles film people from SMU,” he says.