– by Trevor Jones
One of the best, lasting benefits of SHA is the way it deepens your professional network. Immediately after your three weeks you’ll realize that you’ve got a group of people with whom you can discuss just about anything. Because SHA delves so deeply into your professional beliefs and forces you to re-examine not only what you do but also why you do it, your classmates really know what makes you tick. I attended SHA in 2009, and I can still call most of my classmates to tell them about something I’m thinking about and get unvarnished feedback. SHA isn’t like typical networking opportunities where you meet someone briefly, exchange a couple of ideas and business cards and then move on. After three weeks discussing, arguing and looking at leadership in the field, you understand everyone’s strengths and perspectives. My classmates know my blind spots and after nearly six years they’re still willing to tell me when my ideas are half baked. That kind of professional honesty is a rare and wonderful thing.