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Social Capital

Welcome to Social Capital, a weekly podcast where we dive into social relationships and how the investment you put into them establishes trust, reciprocity, and value within your network. Your host, Lori Highby, will connect with top business professionals to dive into their best techniques and stories to share with you!
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Now displaying: October, 2019
Oct 30, 2019

About Christie Ruffino

Christie Ruffino is a serial entrepreneur who has had a very purposeful journey since she started building her business tribe over 10 years ago. It has all come together in a way that now serves her clients at the highest level. From her first entrepreneurial effort as the Top Girl Scout Cookie Seller to her current business as the President of the Dynamic Professional Women’s Network, Inc., Christie has learned how to guide other entrepreneurs to get groundbreaking results as a business strategy coach.

 

What's changed in your world since the last time we chatted/recorded?

“I guess the piece that's changed is because technology is changing so much. We've adapted to create opportunities for people to connect and for our community to build virtually. I remember at first in the beginning years doing a webinar or doing some kind of a conference call. It was difficult, and now it's so easy…”

 

Let's dive deeper into your business. Who do you primarily work with?

“We are an industry exclusive leads group. That's kind of what we've been for the last 15 years. It's typically business to consumer type of opportunities, a little bit of business to business…A couple things that make us different is, of course, we're all women. And then a few things about how we work make it a little bit more conducive to working women.”

 

How can you be a resource to your network and mine?

“We have the different chapters that meet. So, that's really about supporting them on the ground level. We do events occasionally. It's been hard to do local events, you know, in specific locations. We do a lot of them, but it's not necessarily attractive to everybody based on where they're located. And so, we've been kind of transitioning to do virtual events.”

“We have a training library that we've developed and we're continuing to add more teaching into that.”

 

Who is it that you’re looking to network with?

“specifically, women who are looking to kind of realize that their business is more than the company that they're with and the products that they sell. It's more about who they are as an individual and the experience that they bring to the table, as well as their story. And so, for the last eight years, I've been helping women position their stories to build a stronger personal brand.”

 

Paying it forward is an overarching theme that we hear and see often in the business world. Please share a recent pay-it-forward experience that you've had... Received or given.

“I honestly think when in the networking world, like I'm constantly making connections for people. People are constantly making connections for me. I know a lot of the people I hire are former clients…I mean there's a lot of pay it forward I do in my life...”

 

Everyone loves a good tip or tool/resource that will help save them time or make their life easier. Do you have any tips or resources to share with our listeners?

“Grammarly. Oh my gosh. So, if you've not used Grammarly, I never thought I needed Grammarly because, I don’t know, I sent my stuff to an editor. I didn't think I needed it. But you can download Grammarly to your computer and it fixes everything. With a Facebook post, with an email you're sending, with your website updates, like it basically connects to your PC and will suggest whatever you need to do to fix your stuff.”

 

If we could remove all barriers and constraints what project would you do or take on? (this could be personal or professional)

“Right now, it's doing my own podcast…people want to consume information. They want to continually, not everybody, but people in the personal development space, we want to keep filling our brains with good information and good direction and good resources from people that remember the resources like they're supposed to.”

 

You can get in contact with Christie at:

Website: www.christieruffino.com

Website: www.ourdpwn.com

LinkedIn: Click Here

Oct 28, 2019

About Martha

Martha Carrigan is the President & CEO of Big Shoes Network (BSN): a family of niche job boards and resources serving the Midwest and Southeast. Big Shoes Network specializes in advertising, digital and traditional communication, graphic and web design, marketing, public relations, and social media industries. Martha is responsible for business development, strategic marketing, and financial management.

 

What's changed in your world since the last time we chatted/recorded?

“Well, my world consists of my work personally and then the industry. And so as far as Big Shoes Network goes, what's changed with that is we've added, sort of under the current consulting arm, called Next Steps because we had been doing so much personal branding and some professional branding…”

 

Let's dive deeper into your business. Who do you primarily work with?

“one Avenue for our target customer, our folks that are seekers or not seekers, but potentially great employees or talent. Where we generate our money from is from clients posting jobs and adding ads on our site. So that client, we have about 40% of our business is agency, 50% is corporate and 10% is nonprofit and government. And I define that a little differently because although for example, the University of Wisconsin is one of our largest clients and they are nonprofit, but they have more of a corporate sort of feel and size and all of that. So, we lump them in with the corporate. Um, yeah. So, we have about 4,000 clients and we've posted well over 10,000 jobs in our history.”

 

What's the value-add they will get by working with you?

“We are very customer service and high touch. That's our culture. We love helping. We will bend over backwards for you.”

 

How can you be a resource to your network and mine?

“We really love, like I said, helping people. We get a fair number of clients that will post, and we'll circle back to them and say, perhaps you can modify this a bit in order to get a better response. Additionally, when you are utilizing a larger organization, if you want to do some adjusting, tweaking, extending, that's really not an option. But with us, it really is…”

 

In our initial interview - you had said you'd like to connect with Denzel Washington or Bill Gates. Have you made progress on connecting with them?

“I've connected with Denzel in my dreams, and I have not yet connected with Bill Gates. I'm working my way up the ladder. I just had a conversation with Michael Moni, UWM’s Chancellor. And the CEO of Microsoft now is a UWM grad.”

 

Paying it forward is an overarching theme that we hear and see often in the business world. Please share a recent pay-it-forward experience that you've had... Received or given.

(Discussing a recent experience at a grocery store) “You can only pay with credit card. And I've seen that more and more and I get it. It's fast, it's reliable. But this woman didn't have a credit card and a lot of people don't, or they opt not to use it for various reasons. So, she got back in line into the line next to mine, got to the front of the line and the woman said it was for credit card only. We're talking an hour later. So, she got in line behind me and I just, I could hardly talk. I was so upset. She was fine with it. I'm like, this is not fair. So, she and I struck up a conversation and then as I was leaving, I'm like, no. So, I went back, and I swiped my card and I was like, this is for her and whatever she's buying.”

 

Everyone loves a good tip or tool/resource that will help save them time or make their life easier. Do you have any tips or resources to share with our listeners?

“one of those is we have a business directory. So, if a client comes to us and says, Hey, I need a website built. I don't want to hire an employee necessarily to do that. It's just a project or it's a, you know, a one-year thing. I'll send them to our business directory and say, go look on the web developer site, and Keystone click is in there…”

 

If we could remove all barriers and constraints what project would you do or take on? (this could be personal or professional)

“I'd really like to learn Spanish. I would love to just for the fun of it. I love the language, but secondly, I'd like to be useful in underserved markets. I've always wanted to volunteer for, for example, Red Cross Disaster Relief because I'm super good at organizing, but I just don't think it would have much value unless I spoke a different language.”

 

You can get in contact with Martha at:

Phone: 414-962-4222

Email: martha@bigshoesnetwork.com(link sends e-mail)

Website: www.bigshoesnetwork.com

LinkedIn: Click Here

Oct 23, 2019

About Paul M. Neuberger

Paul M. Neuberger believes in making the impossible possible.  A masterful speaker and trainer, he challenges people to dig deep and discover talents they never knew they had. Whether it’s working hands-on with small teams or presenting in front of hundreds of people, Paul is adept at truly connecting with his audience and getting to the heart of important issues. He has worked with leading organizations around the world to help improve effectiveness, performance and cultivate a stronger sense of passion in the workplace.

A sales expert, Paul is known to many organizations as The Cold Call Coach. He has taught thousands of students in more than a hundred countries through his Cold Call University program, helping sales professionals in a range of industries close more business in less time than ever before.

Paul serves as President of The Starr Group, a trusted leader in the insurance field and is one of the largest family-owned, independent insurance agencies in Wisconsin. He is also the Chairman of the 2019 American Heart Association Milwaukee Heart Walk. Lastly, Paul is the Founder of C-Suite for Christ; a group of business executives who share stories of how including Christ in our daily lives has positively affected our work environment.

 

What drives you? Where do you find the motivation to do what you do?

“I'm just drawn to the slogan ‘making the impossible possible’ because it's only impossible until somebody does it for the very first time. If you want to get the most out of me, if you want to get me to dig deep and accomplish something that never has been done before by anybody, just tell me it can't be done and then watch me.”

 

What is your #1 secret to cold call success?

“I would say the number one tip that I can give for cold calling success is it's all about value. And how I define value is something that you can offer.”

 

You've accomplished so much as an entrepreneur in your young career. What's next for you?

“I look at life as a bicycle. I am peddling as fast as I can. I am providing the horsepower to make sure that that bike can go from point A to point B, but God's got the handlebars. So, I don't know what direction I'm heading unnecessarily.”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“I would say probably when I was a financial advisor with Thrivent Financial, one of the things that I teach, this in my keynotes, I teach this in my cold call training, you have to be incredibly strategic when you sell. Cold calling is not a numbers game. It is quality over quantity…”

 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

“It's really about two things, calendar and delegation. If I'm not on top of my calendar and delegation, I'm in big trouble.”

 

What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“Value. I’ve got to keep coming back to it. I believe in life, you reap what you sow, and I believe in life, before you can get, you have to give.”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking?

“That's like asking me to pick peanut butter or jelly. What a tough question. Well, I know where you're going, but I would have to say both.”

 

We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with, and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?

“I would say the first person that comes to my mind is Simon Sinek. And the reason I talk about Simon Sinek is I owe Simon Sinek a tremendous debt of gratitude. When I was a financial advisor, just getting started in that career…”

 

Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“You only live once. Make it happen, and if you fall short of the mark, get back up and try it again. But don't live with regrets…”

 

You can get in contact with Paul at:

Website: www.paulmneuberger.com

Email: paul@paulmneuberger.com(link sends e-mail)

LinkedIn: Click Here

Twitter: Click Here

Oct 21, 2019

About Veronica Hinke

Veronica Hinke has been researching the Titanic for as long as she can remember. She has interviewed hundreds of experts on lifestyles, foods, and drinks for Tribune Media and maintains close working relationships with leading chefs and mixologists around the world. Her report, “Titanic Cocktails,” appeared in Wine Enthusiast magazine, honoring the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic, and was blogged by the Village Voice. Ms. Hinke currently resides just outside of Chicago, Illinois.

 

Why did you write your book "The Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining & Style"?

“I really wanted to honor the 100th anniversary year of the sinking of the Titanic, which was in 2012. The anniversary year was in 2012 and so I spent pretty much the whole year prior, 2011, really researching to find a hook.”

 

What do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?

“I want people to be inspired by these people. Every story that I told had a purpose, kept me going, and it really kept me going through some of the darkest days in my life.”

 

Is it a cookbook? What is a culinary narrative?

“pretty much it's a narrative with some recipes sprinkled throughout. And I really curated those recipes to be purposeful where they were located. I strategically put them in spots.”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“I organized a party for the book, and I didn't want to just have a book party. I want to do something really special. And this was specifically for the press.”

 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

“Social media really has helped. And as even though I mentioned earlier that it's so much nicer to get together in person, I think that's still important, but I'm a huge fan of Facebook and Instagram.”

 

What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“Why not share your network? You know, I mean, some people might be concerned about duplication. Hey, if it's duplicated, they'll get the message twice or maybe three times. I think that's a lot less of a problem than someone being isolated from, you know, being able to work towards their goals.”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking?

“I love in person. It's my own personal preference. I would rather be sitting with you right now talking face to face obviously. But then, I love that this opportunity is there because of the technology.”

 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

“Well, I would say I wouldn't change a thing. I'm so happy about what I did because that's the secret I think is you have to believe that. And I think the one thing I would say is make the most of every minute and still have that balance that you need to have to live a decent life. But I think the older you get, the more people you lose, and you start to realize the fragility of life and you think you have forever and you don't, you really don't.

 

We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?

“Well, and I'm glad you mentioned someone that's no longer here because the person that I would love to sit down and have lunch with or have a cup of coffee with or tea is Julia Child.”

 

What book are you reading right now?

“right now, I'm reading a lovely little book and it's by John Steinbeck and it's Of Mice and Men.”

 

Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“one piece of advice I try to remember is that it takes 30 days to make a habit. And that's not that long, Lori. You know, it's like if you really stick your nose to the grindstone, you can come up with a new habit in 30 days and so think of a new habit that you would like to instill in your life and make it happen.”

 

You can get in contact with Veronica at:

LinkedIn: Click Here

Instagram: Click Here

Twitter: Click Here

Oct 16, 2019

About Kay Edwards

Kay Edwards is the founder of Outsight Network an association of senior-level consultants that serve mission-driven organizations. The mission of Outsight is to build lasting relationships and be relentlessly helpful. Kay helps her clients ask better questions so they can understand their organizations, their customers, and their marketplace, and turn that understanding into strategies that create life-long customers.

 

How do you define great business relationships?

“I think a business relationship really puts the other person at the center without losing sight of what you want and need from the relationship.”

 

What is the greatest barrier to building great business relationships?

“I think there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who really instinctively know how to build relationships and they do it really well but don't often understand the process. And then there are people like me who don't do it instinctively and there's a little bit of fear.”

 

What can leaders do to overcome barriers in building relationships?

“one of the things is to be really intentional about it and even if it comes naturally to you to understand who are you building relationships with? Why? What do you want from the relationships? How do you make that work?”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“actually, a client located in Europe. We were helping them build relationships in the U.S. It was a nonprofit organization, so they had as their cause helping emerging democracies around the world. And through some networking connections, I found myself having breakfast with the owner of the San Francisco Giants.”

 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

“always make sure we schedule the next connection. Always make sure I know what I'm going to talk with next about someone, and always understand how am I adding value to this relationship.”

 

What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“Well again, be intentional. But the other thing that I've learned that works really well when I first started my firm about 20 years ago, there was a rule that I created that said, ‘I never walk out of a meeting without asking for someone else I should meet’.”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking?

“I really like face to face, but I understand that digital has its role as well. I look at them as tools and in some situations digital is more appropriate and in some situations, face-to-face is more appropriate.”

 

If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

“I had to write down every single word I was going to say on the phone because I was so introverted and so scared of picking up the phone and so afraid of what the person on the other end would say…”

 

We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with, and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?

“So, when I was doing my MBA, this actually was a project of ours, we were assigned the task of identifying a leader that we admired and reaching out to them and interviewing them and writing a paper on it. Well, this was the time when right after Mel Gibson had produced…”

 

What book are you reading right now?

“I am rereading the book, The Dip by Seth Godin. who's one of my favorite authors.

 

Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“Just do it. Just make time on your calendar.”

 

You can get in contact with Kay at:

Website: www.outsightnetwork.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kay-edwards-77a501

Oct 14, 2019

About John Waid

John is the founder and CEO of C3 corporate culture consulting, a firm specializing in aligning an organization's culture with its strategic goals. John has worked in sales and marketing at Pfizer, Pepsi Company, Nestle and Chateau St. Michelle winery. During these experiences, he developed a heightened awareness of the indispensable role people's attitudes play in implementing effective processes and procedures. John is an author, speaker, facilitator, and thought leader in the area of corporate culture and its positive impact on people and companies. He was born in Mexico City, has lived in five countries and speaks fluent Spanish, Portuguese and English. He is an author, keynote speaker, blogger, soccer fan, wine enthusiast, and proud dad. He currently makes his home in Atlanta.

 

Why does culture matter and what is the definition of corporate culture?

“Culture is basically some values and some behaviors that you stand for. Most companies have made an effort to define their culture through selecting some values and then also some behaviors to go with those values…”

 

How easy or hard is it to implement great company culture?

“The biggest barrier to implementing culture is self-awareness. And self-awareness is a topic that’s uh…90% of people think they're self-aware, only about 10% of people are.”

 

How much does company culture contribute to results, profits, and all other variables?

“How much more do you think that Chick-fil-A sells versus a Kentucky Fried Chicken?... 500% more. Yes. Because of the experience, because of the people.”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“I met a person who wrote a book called The Platinum Rule and he was from New York, he lives in San Diego, and what he found out is that the golden rule ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, wasn't working for him…”

 

What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“Don't be shy. Get out there. Say hello and start with hello. Care about the other person. Use the platinum rule. And you know, build a relationship to the point where they want to buy from you. Because at the end of the day, we don't sell anything, people buy.”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking?

“Digital's a good way to get to see how people remember you that you've met before. I often find when I send out things digitally that people that I haven't talked to in a while, will reach back around and say, ‘Hey John, haven't heard from you. I got this email from you; I got this material from you…”

 

If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

“I would've gone to Wharton and studied international business because I've could've gotten in there as an MBA. I would have found my calling, you know, which is training and development and the area of culture earlier in life so that I could have devoted more time to it.”

 

Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“Be good to people. Figure out what your calling is.”

 

You can get in contact with John at:

Phone: 404-915-3051

Email: jwaid@corporatecultureconsulting.com(link sends e-mail)

Website: www.c3culture.com

LinkedIn: Click Here

Oct 9, 2019

About Anna Koeck

Born in communist Russia, Dr. Anna Koeck emigrated to the US at the age of 10 with her single mom Rimma. With hard work and perseverance, Dr. Koeck received a triple business degree from UW Madison, managed multi-million-dollar software projects at Epic Systems and graduated Magna Cum Laude from ICO with her Doctor of Optometry Degree. To help the entire world see clearly at a transparent price, she opened Theia Vision Care and within the first year was voted the top doctor in Lake Country, WI.

 

Why do you do what you do?

“I come from a very different country. I'm an immigrant and I watched my mom work really hard to bring me to this country and to get me where I'm at. And my mom is definitely an inspiration. She's a role model.”

 

When should your child get a first eye exam?

“6 to 18 months should be their first eye exam. And that tends to surprise people.”

 

What is Direct Medical Care and Theia Concierge Care, and why is it right for me?

“In a nutshell, the direct care is the idea of I'm directly seeing you and there's not an intermediary third party involved, be it insurance, vision plan, or other pieces. By eliminating steps, I'm eliminating time and money spent on that so I can now spend the time in my chair with you and ask you extra questions and get your kids in. And because I save money, I pass that on to you as well in the product and services.”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“Just a random event running off a couple of years ago to a vision expo in New York. And I was flying out of Milwaukee right here. And typically there's not a long line to get into the airport, but that particular morning, for whatever reason, I don't know if it was spring break or what was going on, this long, long line…”

 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

“Continuing to put yourself out there and making the time. So, there's always a conversation about time management, and how do you do everything? You don't. You put things on your schedule and you make something a priority. And if you do that, it’ll happen.”

 

What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“Put yourself out there. So, it's always, you know, some of these cliches, but they're kind of cliche for a reason, right? You get growth out of being uncomfortable.”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking?

“I'm still thinking about that question as well. I mean, a little bit of a balance.”

 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

“That's really interesting to kind of go back in time. What if I could change anything? And the more I thought about it, the more I kind of embraced the overall, ‘you're exactly where you're supposed to be’. And I firmly believe that.”

 

We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?

“The professional answer would probably be Oprah and there are ways to, you know, reach out on her. There's an email account. You know, I went to graduate school in Chicago, her studios were down there. So, I think it's possible.”

 

What book are you reading right now?

“I just finished I am Malala. And she is a huge activist for education, children's education and particularly girl’s education, grew up in Pakistan and through a variety of things that have happened, I think she now lives in England.”

 

Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“There's a code that says, ‘there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way’ and replace happiness with anything else. So, you just do it, you find an event and you go to it or…you just kind of continue to do the things that you're looking to achieve and hopefully eventually you get there.”

 

 

You can get in contact with Dr. Anna Koeck at:

Office Phone: 262-361-0022

Website: www.theiavisioncare.com

LinkedIn: Click Here

Oct 7, 2019

About Lisa Danforth

Lisa Danforth is a business strategist and firm believer that business doesn’t have to be so hard. She helps women navigate obstacles & struggles that are specific to women in business so they can create the impact & income they desire with less overwhelm & more joy.

 

How important are boundaries in business?

“I think of boundaries as the bridge to whatever success that it is that you're looking for. And if we don't have boundaries in place…”

 

What is the double-bind for women and how does it get in the way of their success, personally and professionally?

“The double-bind for women is a well-known phenomenon that women are either perceived as warm or competent but rarely both.”

 

What’s the best way to achieve work-life balance?

“I actually don't believe in work-life balance. I'm going to be totally honest with you. I don't think that we want everything in our lives to be weighed out evenly.”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“I would have to say it is with a woman that I met online, sort of peripheral. There was a group of people that I spent time with, but there was a woman on the periphery, two layers out, right, and we kept sort of bumping into each other and talking, talking, talking, you know, just sort of bumping into the groups. And she finally reached, she reached out because she is in social media. We set up a conversation to chat and we have over the years become best friends…”

 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

“There's a couple of things that really come to mind and the first one is being intentional. I think we need to be more intentional in anything that we do and who we are in order to be more effective…”

 

What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“Be very intentional about what you're looking for. What will support you? How can you support other people?”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking?

“For me, it's hand down traditional. I don't know if it's just because of my age. I'm 54. I can jump into a conversation and not rudely like ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ Really just sort of ease into a conversation.”

 

If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

“I would say two things. One, relax. Rubbing a square peg in a round hole is not going to work, right? I mean, I refer to it as the white-knuckled grip. It's just ‘push, push, push, push’. Which, may I say, was how I was trained in business. It's a very masculine, dominant push energy, ‘go, go, go’. The more I have relaxed and leaned into my feminine energy and how I do business, my businesses have flourished.”

 

We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?

“One of the women that I've been following, and I adore her because she is strong, confident, brilliant, puts herself out there and takes no bull from anyone. But is all of service in the work that she does. The name is Nilofer Merchant. She wrote a book called, um, what is it...The Power of Onlyness.”

 

What book are you reading right now?

“It’s called Psycho-Cybernetics. It is all about the mind and focusing on what is working for us and not re-living our past, moving into the future through our thoughts and behaviors of the past. Not allowing them to control what we do in the future.”

 

Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“Just be very intentional on the business that you want, the life that you want, the relationships that you're looking to build.”

 

You can get in contact with Lisa at:

Email: lisa@lisadanforth.com(link sends e-mail)

Website: Click Here

LinkedIn: Click Here

Oct 2, 2019

About Neille Hoffman:

Neille Hoffman is a creative innovator and entrepreneur dedicated to the craft of design. With over 20 years of branding expertise, she has created integrated communication solutions for long term clients across a spectrum of industries including; healthcare, education, entertainment, luxury goods, and real estate. As a coach, consultant, speaker, and recovering perfectionist, she has the unique ability to recognize the gifts others don’t see in themselves and empower them to follow their dreams.

 

Why is branding more important than ever?

“I believe branding is more important than ever because our world is so connected with our whole digital age. We can know people down the block, but we can also know people across the world. And we really need to have some differentiation.”

 

What is the difference between branding and personal branding?

“There's a fine line, I think. I think that personal branding is really who your genuine self is. So I don't really think you can manufacture a personal brand. Some people think that they can change the way they dress or they can talk different or you know, they can kind of create who they want people to see them as…”

 

Where do you begin when you are creating a brand?

“I always like to dive deep with questions and research. I think a lot of, at least for personal branding and for business branding as well, we have to take a look at our mindset and our limited beliefs…”

 

Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had? How was the connection made? What was the outcome of the connection?

“My favorite networking experience that I have had here in Milwaukee was meeting Sara Meaney, Sara Meaney and I both had our own businesses at the time. Hers was Comet Branding and mine was Aurum Design and we were both moving into a new building actually across the street from here in the Third Ward. And we just happened to be throwing our open house parties on the same night.”

 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

“I make a very pointed effort to reach out to friends and check in on them, see what is going on with their lives, get updates from people, schedule coffees, and really have a genuine interest in the people that I have met.”

 

What advice would you offer to the business professional who is looking to grow their network?

“The number one thing I would say is take action. I think for far too long I stayed on the sidelines.”

 

Digital networking or traditional networking- which do you find more value in? Please explain.

“Right now, I don't want to say I want to find more value in it, but I want to say I'm stepping into it. So again, outside of my comfort zone is the digital networking. So I have recently become part of an entrepreneurial networking group online and it's people from all over the world. And what I like about that is you're actually connecting with people who think like you do and are so supportive. It's crazy.”

 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of/less of/differently with regards to your professional career?

“I would tell myself to trust my instincts more. I think I in the past have deferred to other people's opinions.”

 

We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree? How would you start that journey?

“So, I think I have a little bit of a different answer for this one. I could think of, you know, a handful of people that I would like to say, but this is going to be a little out there. I would like to connect with my future self. And I would hope that there are at least six people I have yet to meet who are going to help me grow into that future self.

 

What book are you reading right now?

“So, every year, and I think you've probably got this answer before, I read the Alchemist. So, I'd finished that actually not too long ago…”

 

Any final word of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

“I would just say to make genuine connections and always approach life with a smile.”

 

You can connect with Neille at:

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