Connecting as a Community
By Kat Pittman, 2nd Vice President Elect

Do you like to chat over cocktails? Go fishing? Shoot sporting clays? Play golf on a sunny day while drinking a few beers? Are you a tennis pro, or have you ever thought about picking up a tennis racket for the first time? Believe it or not, you can enjoy all of your favorite hobbies or pick up some new ones with the Geophysical Society of Houston! As the current 2nd VP Elect and incoming 2nd VP for next year, my role is to oversee all social and networking events for the society. We have a lot of fantastic annual events to choose from every year: the Icebreaker, Sporting Clays Tournament, Saltwater Fishing Tournament, Tennis Tournament, Golf Tournament and our end-of-year bash, the Annual Honors and Awards Banquet. As a social person by nature, these have always been events that I enjoy. I have attended numerous events every year during my ten years with the society and I always enjoy meeting new people! 

Getting out and networking with your peers is one of the best ways to stay up-to-date on what is happening in the industry and in the community. It is also a fantastic opportunity to market yourself in a relaxed environment, without the pressures of a typical professional event. The role of social outings is not only to network with your peers, but to connect with them as well. I work at a company with less than ten people, and it’s still all too easy to simply pass them by in the hallways or in the kitchen. It’s hard to carve time out of your day to have intentional conversation and connection. Setting aside the time to visit and socialize with your colleagues in the society does take a commitment, but remember, the latest developments in seismic acquisition or the benefits of advanced high resolution processing can be discussed as easily, if not more freely, on the golf course as they can in a conference room!

We live in the capital of the oil industry and have an amazing network right at our fingertips. Did you know that the Geophysical Society of Houston is the largest section of the SEG? We partner with the SEG for many of our technical events throughout the year, and I have made it one of my goals to strengthen the bond for social events as well. Houston will be hosting the SEG Annual Meeting in September 2017, which is a perfect opportunity to create a joint networking event surrounding the convention. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements about this event during the Annual Meeting! We are excited to show the SEG body the hospitality that our society and our city have to offer.

As we have weathered this industry downturn together, our social events have continued to be a success. Some events have even come close to record attendance. We could not do what we do as a society without the continued and generous support of our sponsors, the tireless work of our volunteers and committee chairs, or the participation of our membership! The 2016-2017 GSH Board of Directors has watched all expenses closely and has had to make some hard decisions at times and I am proud to say that we have not only stuck to the 2nd VP budget to date, but have surpassed our expected profits. We have limited expenses whenever possible without increasing the cost of events for our members. The Icebreaker, our kick-off social event of the year, even remained free for members. Every dollar of profit goes right back into the society to help foster the community and facilitate the events that connect us all. I want to personally thank the chair people that have made our social events this year such a success: Tony LaPierre - Icebreaker, Rick Trevino and Ryan Marshall - Sporting Clays Tournament, Bobby Perez - Saltwater Fishing Tournament, and Russell Jones - Tennis Tournament. Each of these event chairs watched every line item, solicited sponsorship in a very difficult year, and achieved higher profits than promised. They were a pleasure to work with and put in a lot of time and effort to make these events fun for all of us! It takes a great team to plan these events in a down market, but it takes an incredible team to continue to surpass expectations and gather such momentum and excitement for their respective events. 

Though the role of networking and connecting with our colleagues evolves as the needs of the community changes, the importance of coming together and connecting never goes away. I hope to see many of you at our Golf Tournament in April, and please join in on our party at the end of the year, The Annual Honors and Awards Banquet! It is always a blast and is an opportunity to thank the people who contribute to both our society and our geophysical community as a whole.