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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: March, 2020
Mar 30, 2020

Meet Drew McLellan

Drew has worked in advertising for over 30 years, and he has started his own agency McLellan Marketing Group in 1995 after a five year stint at Y&R and still actively runs his agency. He also owns and runs Agency Management Institute, which serves over 250 agencies small to mid size covering advertising, digital marketing, media and PR. He helps them increase their AGI, attract better clients and employees, mitigate the risk of being self employed in such a volatile business. And best of all, letting the agency owner actually enjoy the perks of agency ownership.

Drew often appears in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Agency Post, CNN, Businessweek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of 10 bloggers, every entrepreneur should read.

Can you share how running your own marketing agency transitioned to the success and helping you advise other agency owners?

I started my own agency like most agency owners do, kind of by the seat of my pants. And so I just, without any fear, leaped into the unknown, and then very quickly learned how hard it was to run any business. And so very early on, I found an organization that acknowledged that most agency owners were accidental business owners, and so I learned a ton from that organization. Completely changed the way I ran my own agency.

Can you share any tips or best practices for building a community in general?

There's so much buzz and talk around building a community of your customers and all of that, but what people don't really talk about is you actually have to like those people. And I would argue that you actually have to love them. And if you love them well, and you create an environment where they feel safe, and you encourage them to be kind and generous to one another. There are not a lot of places in the world where you do feel heard, and understood and cared about, and that it's safe to talk about the things that are hard or scary. If you genuinely create that space for the right reasons, which again, I believe are because you actually love these people. And then they gather and then they create it to be something far bigger than what you could have ever created.

Other than money, what advice would you share as far as some of the biggest hurdles to starting your own digital agency or just agency in general?

Well, I think the challenge is it's a very crowded space. And so if, if you don't do something differently, and if you don't have a depth of expertise around something, whether it is a certain audience, a certain industry, Whatever it may be, it's pretty easy to get sort of swept up in the sea of sameness, and look just like everybody else. 

Can you help our listeners remove those fears by sharing one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I think we have given the word networking a terrible reputation, which is, I'm really out just shaking people's hands and collecting business cards so I can sell you stuff later. For me, every networking opportunity is I just look for ways to help. I just ask as many questions as I can.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships that you're creating and establishing?

I think it comes in layers, right? I mean, I think professionally, we are very content driven. So we're always trying to create content that is relevant and useful to people. And then I'm very active in email and on social and so I try and be very, very responsive. I think it boils down to actually caring about the people in your network and you cannot give everyone the same level of attention. But you certainly can touch everybody at a certain level so that they know that you're out there. 

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

If you want to grow your network, help more people, that's as simple as it is. The more people that you help the more accessible you make yourself without someone wondering when you're going to put your hand in their pocket, the more they're going to want to stay near you and be connected to you and the more they're going to want to return that favor.

Digital networking or traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I think as long as you have an element of humanity then both. But today, most people's network expands far beyond the geographic region that they live in. And so you can't physically have traditional analog contact with everyone in your network, there's just no way. So I think it's a combination of both. 

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

So funny, because when I was 20, it never would have occurred to me that I would own my own business. I just assumed I would work for someone else because that was what everybody did. I guess what I would have said to my 20 year old self is you don't have to do this for somebody else. You can do this for yourself if you want to. And the rewards are much greater. The risks are greater too. But if you're willing to bet on yourself, then maybe I would have stepped out earlier.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think work and our careers whether you're an entrepreneur or you're an employee, or you're a leader in an organization, it's lonelier than we acknowledge. And I think if you can be someone who makes it less lonely for other people, and make them feel that they really aren't doing this alone and that they have someone that'll just listen or offer some counsel or some perspective, I think that's an amazing gift to give to your network.

How to connect with Drew:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drewmclellan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrewMcLellan

Website: https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/

Mar 25, 2020

Meet Lori Mendelsohn

Lori Mendelsohn is an intuitive matchmaker whose purpose is to introduce people who were meant to meet each other. Her company is SmartFunnySingle. She has introduced 15 couples who have said "I do."

Lori had a successful 33 year career as a fashion designer in LA and NYC as well as founding, building and selling Wisconsin's largest and highest awarded pet sitting and dog walking business, Wisconsin Pet Care.

Tell our listeners how you got started as a matchmaker?

So I started it when, when I was 19 years old. I had a feeling when I met someone that I knew someone who would be perfect for them. And then I introduced them and long story short, they got married. And then this kept happening over and over and over again until we got to the number 15. I think it's time for me really to look into this and figure out if this is something that I should be doing for a living? So the answer was yes. 

How is networking a part of your business?

I am networking all the time, as a matchmaker, I can't sit in my office and expect people to come to me or knock on my door and say, "Hi, I'm single." So my part of networking is I'm always out meeting people. In fact, I go up to complete strangers, and I will go up to them and ask them if they're single. And if they answer that they are single, I will ask if they'd like to have a cup of coffee with me, I'd like to get to know them, and like to see what it is that they're looking for, and if I can be of help or service to them.

How is it perceived when you just randomly go up to someone and ask them if they're single?

Well, sometimes people think that I'm hitting on them, and I have to preface it by saying it's not for me. Most people are very receptive. You know, at first they're a little put off. But then to me it's a huge compliment that you're going up to someone and saying, you look interesting. It's a compliment. 

Can you share some tips on dating? If you're just starting out from a divorce or a loss?

So the first tip is just to get started. Get yourself out there and don't look at it as the first date that I go on. I'm going to meet the man or woman of my dreams. If we go into it with really unreasonable expectations, we're only setting ourselves up to be disappointed. Now's the time to reinvent yourself and figure out what it is that makes you happy, and what it is that you want and need. So the best advice is to get out there and just kind of jump in the pool. And enjoy yourself.

Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?

Well, I am lucky enough to be in a really great group of networking individuals called eWomen Milwaukee. And I know that you're also a part of that. And actually, Laurie, my experience is you came up to me, and I'm gonna use this as an example. And you said, you know, Lori, I have a mother. You start to tell me about your lovely mother. We had lunch together, we got to know each other a little bit better. I think that our purpose really was to get to know each other better, rather than for me to find someone for your mother. But as it turned out, that whole magic happened. And I met your mother and and the rest is history.

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

I like to reach out and thank people as much as I can. And using that line, "how can I help you" does just that. Someone may not even be thinking about me. But if I reach out to them and say, what can I help you with? They may think, yeah, you know what, Laurie, you may know someone who can help me. 

What advice would you offer business professionals looking to grow their network?

Much like dating you just get out there and do it. I don't always feel like going out. But I forced myself to get out. And I forced myself to go to a meeting and show up. And if I show up in the position of, I'm going to meet someone and hopefully help them. I'm doing something good for the community and for the world.

In your opinion, digital networking or traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

For me in my business, personally for what I'm looking for, it's meeting someone in person. When I meet someone, I want hear their story, and I want to hear how I can help them. And that's hard to do digitally. It takes a lot more time to be texting back and forth or emailing back and forth or instant messaging back and forth. And you're not really getting a sense of what the person is. 

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

I would say to my 20 year old self, that everyone has balloons going around their head saying things, and either you can accept the things that are being said, that you think that people are saying, or you can get past it and say, everybody has an issue. Just keep going.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

The one person I'd personally like to connect to is Andy Garcia. Although I don't think that he is within the six degrees of separation. I'd like also, Patti Stanger, the Millionaire Matchmaker, I would like to connect to her. There may be six degrees of separation, but I'd really like to know why she felt that it was so important to be so very mean to people. And a lot of that could have been for the show. But I always try to lead with kindness. And, and she liked to lead with humiliation. And I'd like to know, this being tongue in cheek, how'd that work for you?

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

You just get out and do it and you set some some goals that you actually can achieve. So the goals could be that you're going to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, a drink with at least three people that week, or you're going to send out 10 emails, or you're going to connect with them on LinkedIn, or you're going to find something interesting about them on Facebook and reach out to them. Set a goal for yourself each week that you actually can achieve. And then circle back after you've met with those people a couple of weeks later just saying how you appreciate their time, and you want to reconnect with them and see if there's anything else that you can offer for them at that time.

How to connect with Lori:

Website: https://www.smartfunnysingle.com/

Email: loribethmendelsohn@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorimendelsohn/

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/smartfunnysingle/

Phone: 414-914-1575

Mar 23, 2020

Meet Craig Lemasters

Craig Lemasters is an advisor, entrepreneur, investor, and board member with more than two decades of success in executive leadership positions, now dedicated to helping leaders get unstuck on major growth challenges.

Craig works with global enterprises, focused on identifying knowledge gaps, aligning organizations around core initiatives, and enabling critical decision making. He was previously the CEO of Assurant Solutions, where he led the firm's digital transformation and global expansion.

Help me understand this stuck concept to what is it and why is it so important to networking effectively?

Yeah, so I've used the word stuck for probably the last decade or so when I ran a big company and that's that's sort of my background. Now the last three years with GX GE and building this business model was this idea that, again, in very simple terms, we as leaders get stuck on really hard stuff. And let's just be super candid about it and have the humility to admit it. But we always have to be transforming and moving these enterprises forward. And the further away we get from our core, and in my opinion, the harder it gets, and that's where we tend to get stuck and it's what happened to me at Assurant. So where does the networking come in or my version of networking really, is what I would call this wisdom based learning that would that I bumped into, quite candidly six years ago. 

You caught my attention with the phrase wisdom based learning, can you kind of go a little bit deeper on that?

This whole business model really that we build was around the idea that when we get stuck on hard stops, what it really means is, and my definition of wisdom, again is very simple. It's this unique intersection of knowledge and experience. But it has to be both. And so what I've found over the years that if we get stuck on hard stuff, if somehow we can very intentionally interject that definition of wisdom, so other people that happen to have the knowledge and experience that have just simply gone before us, and done the things that I'm trying to do, and we put that into a highly facilitated format, we can get unstuck very quickly. We were meant to learn, or at least I believe we were meant to learn very quickly if it was in the right format. And so that's what I mean by wisdom based learning is how do we put people around us that have gone before us and have the knowledge and experience on very specific things. And the specificity is super important.

When it comes to asking for an hour of someone's time, that can be very intimidating. From your experience, why would someone want to participate in a one on one conversation?

We work on two formats. One of our formats is sort of our version of executive coaching, which is, we build a learning ecosystem around a leader, which really are individuals that we think have the right wisdom to transfer. That's the one-hour conversation that we facilitate with people. And then we also do advisory board work where we're actually asking individuals to join the advisory board which is a day and a half commitment, three meetings over eight months. And we actually have a waiting list of people that want to do this. People want to help other people. And if we ask them in the right way, at the right time, and then we do the work for them. We don't then ask people to do a bunch of work and we don't ask them to be uncomfortable with their schedule. Then I find people love pouring their wisdom into others.

What inspired you to ultimately embark on this 2.0 career after leaving your public company CEO life?

A lot of my friends and family thought it was kind of nutty, quite frankly, because it was. A few years ago, actually, before I turned 65, that it just really struck me that I've been blessed with good health and same with my wife and we both just kind of wanted to do some other things and just try to help people in different ways. And a big part of it was learning this wisdom based learning methodology. And I just got to the point where I just really wanted to go share it with other leaders. And then quite frankly, I wish somebody had shared it with me when I was in my 30s, 40s or even early 50s. And so that's what I decided to go do is just to go out and tell the story and build a team.

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you've had?

My networking story is that I was actually also one of the guinea pigs early on for our version of executive coaching. So basically, it was, again a network of people where we had these one hour facilitated conversations. So probably my favorite story is I've been struggling trying to take our company into China, and we've actually expanded into Asia, but China had been found very challenging as most do. So the very first connection calls were with people who had wisdom about doing business in China. I talked with a guy named Jim Firestone and I had no idea how this call would go but I had this one hour facilitated call, which was 100%, about him sharing his wisdom on how to do business in China. And the three or four things I was struggling with. And it just changed my thinking probably forever around how we should be learning. So that's probably one of my highlights on my networking.

What advice would you offer that business professionals are really looking to grow their network?

So where I would start is, what is the output we're looking for? So why build your own network? I think it hopefully comes down to two, three, no more than four buckets of things or as I would call wisdom, that you'd really like to have. And whether it's to do your current role better or for the role you aspire to. And then a second thing is be super intentional about how you go find those people. Because again, it's a little bit of a slippery slope, because people will tend to think they have a lot of wisdom across every topic. But the reality is we don't. Third thing I would say is, again, back to reciprocity. This only works if people actually believe that you want to help them learn and grow as well. And again, I'd be super intentional about that. And the last piece is is to really prepare. And again, if you reach out on your own and you find people or create your own networking group or start participating in one, show up prepared and know who the people are and exactly what you're trying to learn from them. And, and then the last thing is have fun with it. I mean, there's nothing more enjoyable than building your own network of people that you can go to and go to repeatedly. 

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

I wish when I was 28, somebody taught me how to go find, intentionally find, the wisdom I needed to do my job better and to get the next job that I aspire to. I think the second thing and I had some good mentors that actually were pretty insistent with me on this, but there's just never too much and that's this thing called humility.

So do you have any final words or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I would do it very process wise. Be super intentional about it and start with your own learning gaps. Be very honest with yourself, draw a picture, put yourself in the middle and just draw an ecosystem. What are the three or four things that you really need to learn to do your job better, and to get the next job you want? Start with and really understand what you're trying to learn and and be super specific and intentional about the outreach and then have a blast with it.

How to connect with Craig:

Website: https://gxg.co/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-lemasters-72507321/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GXGhq

Mar 18, 2020

Meet Luke Doubler

Luke Doubler is an innovator in talent sourcing. He has trained 1000s of corporate and agency recruiters to be the best at what they do: source talent to achieve a purpose. After a decade of leading recruiting teams at Target, Cargill, and Schwans, he currently leads www.recruitercentral.io, a Wayzata, MN-based search firm. He’s also an active blogger and partner of www.realfoodrn.com and www.ellieandherchickens.com,

Why did you leave a solid six figure, corporate America, job and dive into starting your own business?

At the end of the day, it's about fulfilling your purpose. About five years ago, as a nurse, my wife would go in and she became a nurse to help people but she wanted to make a bigger impact and really put her her name onto something greater and she was helping people but she felt she could help them a lot more and she really felt that really the key to great health is is a great lifestyle and ultimately, healthy food to be or your medicine. I was working in corporate America at Target Corporation. Loved the company, loved my team, but I felt I could lead bigger teams and really do what I love which is sourcing talent and teaching people how to be better recruiters. And so thus began Recruiter Central where a team of 12 recruiters who feel difficult to fill jobs that recruiters central we fill difficult jobs. And that's really kind of the impetus for where I got to where I am.

Why do so many people fail to realize what their full potential and purposes?

The first step is often always the hardest and not everybody takes it.  I went to college, have a degree and I realized that a lot of my mentors were the wrong mentors. What I started doing was just reading everybody who was successful. What I mean by success is either they've accomplished something great, they're happy in life, they've built businesses. And when you start to really listen to those people who usually are smarter, more talented than me, certainly, you'll learn a number of things, but there's a lot of common themes amongst their books that you probably maybe miss in college and surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and more talented then certainly me has been my real secret to success in life.

So what's your advice on I'm obtaining true health and wealth?

With my wife's blog, Real Food RN, we always talk about just eat natural, eat healthy. Happiness is something that's different for everybody but to achieve to really fulfill your potential, health really has to be part of it. So dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle and the secret to success is just to get up and rededicate yourself to it every single day. It takes a lot of hard work, and I have so much to learn, but that's what worked with us so far. Rededicate yourself every day and that for us that starts at five o'clock in the morning, you know, hitting the gym, eating healthy, but once you got those things in line, everything else kind of becomes a lot easier. You don't have to worry about being fatigued, you don't have to worry about being sick or tired. You get your diet in place, and you can think clearer, you have a lot more mental stamina. Recall is so much better. For me, it's the only way to live. 

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you've had?

Networking is an ongoing thing. It has to be an ongoing thing. And we have great tools out there like LinkedIn. Always be networking and have that mindset. You never know who's going to be that next key for you. And with tools like LinkedIn, you can easily nurture and constantly provide value to a network. So everybody you meet, get their name, get their title, get their their contact, include them in your network. It's something that needs to be ongoing and constant.

How do you stay in front of or best nurtures relationships?

Ask yourself one thing, what is your brand? What is your brand and when you define what your brand is show up as that leader every day. So for me, I want to be a recruiting innovator, a strategic business leader, and a keynote speaker in the recruiting space. So what do I do? Well, I act like it. So I constantly engage with that type of material. You need to nurture your digital brand. And so I'm always engaging authentically with that type of material and I want to be strategic about it. 

What advice would you offer the business professionals looking to grow their network?

Don't be afraid to fail. Definitely, as a recruiter, I have to reach out to hundreds of people before I get a hire, that's one. When you start you have a business plan in place, but know that it's almost certainly going to change. And most importantly, is listen to what your audience is asking for.

So a lot of what you're talking about seems to be online activities, which I refer to as digital networking. But traditional networking can be extremely powerful as well. Between the two, which one do you find more value in?

Go where the talent community is and place your message there. So for me as a recruiter, I have kind of weaseled my way into some of the biggest recruiting conferences that exist and I talk about recruiting stuff in front of thousands of people. That's a way to definitely get authentic long term relationships is to start with some sort of actual real life connection, but then you nurture it digitally. 

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Now who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you could do that within the sixth degree?

Absolutely. With digital tools that exist, and this is what I talk about as a recruiter, as a speaker in the recruiting space is how to find people how to find information. And it's never been easier. And that's why recruiting is such an exciting field to be in right now is because there's more information now than ever, and it continues to grow at an amazing rate. There's so many amazing authors that I'll throw out there. I've been really big in the Donald Miller's stuff. StoryBrand. He has some great stuff in story brand. Seth Godin, Permission Marketing. I've always been a fan of Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. He's been a big inspiration for me.

Have you initiated reaching out to any of those authors?

Yeah, absolutely. Get them in your network. Now find the popular people, find the influencers and connect with them. 

Do you have any kind of word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

And so I just finished a book by Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and one quote I want to take from it is, we like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who are born different from us. We don't like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary. I think about the people who I admire and they may have some special talent and gift but regardless, they had to try hard every day to make themselves extraordinary. And it's nearly not a secret how they do it. It's a lot of hard work. It's listening, it's growing, it's learning. And so that would be one of my final things I'd like to share.

How to connect with Luke:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lukedoubler/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrTalentSourcer

Newsletter signup at: https://www.recruitercentral.io/

Mar 16, 2020

Meet Christopher Gerg

Christopher Gerg is the CISO and VP of Cyber Risk Management at Gillware. He is a technical lead with 20+ years of information security experience tackling the challenges of cloud-based hosting, DevOps, managed security services, e-commerce, healthcare, financial, and payment card industries. He has worked in mature information security teams as well as building secure technical environments – all while working with the boardroom to promote executive understanding and support.

Your company does a lot of work with incident response, what is the most common kind of attack that you're seeing right now?

I think probably over 95% of what we're seeing is has to do with ransomware and wire transfer fraud. Wire transfer fraud is more of a human problem than is it is a technical problem and it's really just someone tricking someone else into transferring money where they they shouldn't. A lot of people have in their mind what ransomware is, and I think what a lot of people have in their mind is is wrong, frankly, you don't just get something in your email, double click it and then you have ransomware. Ransomware is the last step and kind of a conventional attack and a conventional hack, where they've been in your environment for four to eight months or longer. And they find where I jokingly say the soft chewy center of your company is and and encrypt that so that you're you're almost forced to pay the ransom or face a huge amount of downtime.

So what advice do you offer to help organizations protect themselves from these types of incidents?

Use multi factor authentication, the little code generator app on your smartphone is a good start. Locking down services that are available to the public internet. Windows remote desktop protocol RDP it's a way to get a remote desktop on a computer and people use that for remote access to their computers from from like trying to work from home. I think the two other things would maybe be make sure everything's up to date with patches. And I think finally, just kind of awareness. I didn't come up with it, but I'm using it a lot more is the human firewall. The people sitting at the desk are a big and important component to your information security program. And so the people sitting at the desk and checking their email and doing your company's business really need to be aware of what to click on what not to click on. 

How would you recommend a smaller organization such as my myself, help to educate the other team members and to make sure that they're not clicking on things they shouldn't?

There's one that's actually local to me called the InfoSec Institute. They do online information security awareness training, and also phishing testing. They charge by the seat, and so it almost doesn't matter if you're a four person shop or a 3000 person shop. You're paying just a fixed amount, it may be, 10s of dollars a month. But that training is kind of a big deal. And the nice thing too is it's not just information security awareness training there's also kind of the certification training too. 

Do you see smaller companies or are these larger corporate entities kind of getting the majority of these attacks?

I think it's pretty democratic and how it goes after things. Everyone has a chance of getting it. They really do just scan for vulnerable services and if they find one they get in. The other aspect of this that kind of blew my mind when I started doing this kind of work is, these are organized, essentially companies, that are doing these criminal activities. They've got help desks, they've got websites, they have email addresses. And so they have different teams in that there's some teams that just scan in an automated way the entire internet looking for vulnerable services, if they find one, they try to exploit it usually again, in an automated way. And if they get one it shows up on a list and then they they pass that list to the next phase, the other team and they try to exploit it and if they can exploit it, they get in. Once they're in, either through email or through a vulnerable service. They then download software so that they have more of a foothold in your environment and then just start exploring. 

Are there pros and cons from having all of your company documentation on the cloud versus keeping it in an internal server?

Well, I think the only risk is one of people take the assumption that someone else is taking care of it. Where they just kind of throw the responsibility for security over the wall to the cloud provider. The reality is that it's someone else's computer in someone else's data center. It's still a computer, whether it's virtual or not, it's still sitting in a rack somewhere. It's still plugged into a network somewhere. And it's still sitting in a building somewhere. And so if you have that in your mind, and you just treat it like you're leasing the machine from a hardware vendor and storing it in a co-location facility your your responsibilities are the same. 

Can you help our listeners kind of remove networking fear by sharing one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?

If you've got a chance to go out and have coffee with someone, whether they're in your your field or not, go have coffee with them, or if they invite you out to lunch or whatever. You're going to learn something. You're going to make a connection. In fact, the the job I'm in right now came from an acquaintance of mine that I haven't worked with in 20 years. But we've stayed connected and he heard about an opportunity and gave me a call and said they're looking for someone. So it doesn't have to be hard.

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

I think it takes some effort. You know, it's kind of the curse of the organized person, if I didn't organize get togethers with my friends, they probably just wouldn't happen. I usually seem to be the one to organize it and it's a little bit of a burden, but I get to see my friends and so it's absolutely worth it. I've had a lot of really good times going to some Madison Chamber of Commerce, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce events. They're well organized and well attended and I meet a lot of really interesting people. And it takes some effort and you need to step away from your desk to do it. But I think I think the benefits outweigh the inconvenience for sure.

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

I think the best advice to growing the community is find organizations that do what you do. Find groups of like minded people. Connections you make that are or aren't related to your your specific job will have benefits. You just need to get to know people face to face. But if you can, if you can find a balance there, where it's also related to stuff you do that's gonna help you professionally as well.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

You need the digital side to keep in touch because that's just how people keep in touch. I don't answer my phone, it has to go to voicemail. So even to that degree, people just don't talk on the phone anymore. So you need to go to these in person things, whether it's a conference or a symposium, or it's a meetup group or a community event. I think it's more important to meet people face to face.

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

But I think I would have better work life balance. I'm getting my private pilot's license right now. It's something I've wanted to since I was a little kid. I would have told myself 20 years ago to take the time and do it then.

So we've all heard of six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?

I would love to sit down and chat with Bill Gates. He's got a lot of incredible insights. And he's doing what I would hope people with his affluence and influence would do. One of the most incredible charity stories there is. And his ability to influence public opinion is is incredible. I'd love to pick his brain.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Don't be afraid to go out there and prioritize it. It is important. Being able to look someone in the eye and talk about what you do and be excited and passionate about it speaks volumes and let's people know how competent you are.

How to with Christopher:

Website: https://www.gillware.com/

Email: cgerg@gillware.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-gerg-8aa0a66a/

Mar 11, 2020

Meet Froswa' Booker-Drew

I am intrigued by relationships, particularly building networks to address issues in organizations and communities. Because of my extensive background in leadership, nonprofit management, partnership development, training and education, I've been quoted in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Thrive Global, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. As Vice President of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas, I lead a department focused on community initiatives and philanthropy.

You've been doing some research so can you can you share with us what your research is about?

When I started my dissertation, I was really thinking about this term called asset based community development, which really is looking at how all communities, no matter how challenged they may be, have these assets. And part of that is social capital, and that relationships are found in every community. And so just going through learning about how social capital has shown up, I wanted to find out how women who were diverse, shared social capital, because there really wasn't a lot of research that looked at how diverse women come together and do that.

How do you identify assets in your community for local business?

Two authors, McKnight and Kretzmann, talk about five areas that  exist in every community that are assets. It is the local economy, looking at businesses, chambers of commerce, it is associations. So those homeowners associations, looking at sororities, fraternities, all of those, and then they talk about institutions as another one. So your hospitals, media, those are institutions. And then lastly, kind of open space. So for local businesses, it's really important to think about in those five categories, where can you find potential partners that can either create visibility. Are there opportunities for corporate social responsibility where you can do some of your giving? And in every community, regardless of how challenged or marginalized it is, there are all these assets that are opportunities for businesses to engage where they can create a client base, but in addition, look at it as a way to give back.

So you've got a book out there, "Rules of Engagement to Making Connections Last." Can you tell us a little bit about that?

That book is really based on my research group with these women. I started learning all these lessons from these ladies, and I think that's the power of social capital is the storytelling. When we're in proximity with people, we can learn so many things. And I noticed the women in the group experience something called "perception transformation." It's when I'm listening to you, what I may have is an idea can change because I'm in a relationship now and I'm going, wow, that happened to you? It may not be my experience, but now I can identify with it. And so I took all of these experiences that I learned from the ladies, including my own and created a workbook that has a number of lessons in it to help people think about the way that they engage.

Could you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?

My former boss taught me this tool that he said when he meets people, he doesn't start off talking about himself. He always asked people tell me your story. And I found that to be so profound, because one thing that we know, many of us like to share about ourselves and talking about ourselves, and it takes away the anxiety of walking in going, here's my business card, who are you?

So how do you stay in front of her best nurture your network and your community?

I am one who likes to immediately when I meet someone within 24 hours, I would send an email and thank them for meeting with me. Or if I got a card, I try to follow up with people. Instead, we can sit down and have lunch, it's become a little bit more complicated now because of the work that I'm in and the number of people that I'm blessed to meet. But I try to make sure that I'm keeping in contact with people, whether that is, making sure that I'm providing valuable information on my Facebook page or LinkedIn. I really use my Facebook page as a tool to provide information and so that is a way that I'm able to still engage my network and people are able to see that you're a resource.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I love the face to face and talking to people. I like to be able to see
reactions sometimes Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and all those things are great because it's instant information sharing. But you don't get the opportunity to hear intonation and inflection and all those different things and body language. 

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the six degree?

Oprah Winfrey. I would love to meet Oprah. Yeah, I think it's possible. I have some folks that I know who know some people know her and it's probably not even six degrees. I think we're all so connected. I think it's learning to leverage those networks that we have. And so I'm trying to leverage that now.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think it's just getting out there. Get started. Don't allow fear to get in the way of possibly meeting someone that can help transform your life and your business. If you commit to twice a month to having coffee with someone and meeting new people, man, imagine what your network is going to look like at the end of the year because of all the people that they will commit you to.

How to connect with Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/froswabookerdrew/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/froswa.bookerdrew

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Froswa

Mar 9, 2020

Meet Elzie D. Flenard

Elzie D. Flenard, III is the founder of Enterprise NOW!. Elzie is also the host of the Enterprise NOW! Podcast. Elzie has more than a decade of experience as an engineering professional and entrepreneur. He thrives on thinking outside the box, bringing the best out of entrepreneurs, and driving results. He provokes thought, challenges creativity and inspires persistence. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Carroll University and is an Accredited Small Business Consultant.

What is a good way to communicate brand message?

I think the best way to communicate anything really is the way that's authentic and genuine to who you are and your voice.

What is the best way to get started in podcast?

I think a lot of times people say just get started. I'm gonna advise against that. I'm gonna say do some homework first. I always advise people to get a coach. Get someone who knows the ropes, who's done it before to kind of help you save time and frustration. And really just focus on your why. Why do you want to do a podcast? Are you doing it because it's the big thing? And everybody else is doing it? Or is there a method to it? So know your purpose, get a coach, and then just do it, don't sit on it.

How would an entrepreneur know if podcasting is a good fit for their business or their brand?

Hone into your point of who your audience is and where do they hang out? If that's where your audience is, and that's where you want to reach them and audio is the method that you want to use, then podcasting is probably a good method for that.

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking story or experience that you've had?

So I have a guy on my show once and I'm at a networking event and I'm in the room just mingling and introducing myself and I hear this voice from across the room. And then my ears perk up and I recognize that voice and so I poke my head up and I see the person from which this voice is coming from and I'm like, hey, so and so and he sees me, he hears me. He's like, hey, how are you? And we like meet in the middle of a room and there was like this, this reunion of people and yet we have never met before. So that just speaks to the power of podcasting and the ability to build those relationships. And it's really networking.

How do you nurture or stay in front of the community that you're building?

Continuing to network because a lot of times I think people will start strong and then they kind of temper off. Because in my mind, relationships are the whole game. So in terms of follow up that looks like paying attention, being present, actively listening and really embracing and being deliberate and intentional about building those relationships. So I think being authentic, intentional and just deliberate.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?

I always say find the right pond. You just have to make sure you're fishing at the right pond. So find the pond and again, be authentic, be genuine, and do more of the things that work and stop doing the things that don't work.

Digital networking or traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I'm going to give the answer of both because, honestly, it is both. For example, this morning I met for coffee with a gentleman that I met on LinkedIn. So glad that that we were able to connect. I'm going to say both and I think you can't really have one without the other. But I tend to lean toward the face to face personal interaction.

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

I would tell myself to focus on learning how the business operates, focus on it from the owners perspective. And I would tell myself to focus on the focus and to always pay attention to perspective and how that impacts my current world.

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you can do it within the six degree?

The person will be Magic Johnson. I don't know if I can do it with the six degrees because I know he's a really busy guy. But I admire his story, where he came from and he turned his passion into his business and he's just an incredibly successful entrepreneur. I've watched him from being a player to some of the ways that he went and got mentors and learned business and then went out and, and adapted it to fit him. He was extremely self aware. He knew, hey, this works for these people. But this works for me. And he's been able to carve out a really good business for himself.

So anything you want to share with our listeners that you're listening to you or find fascinating or that you're reading that's kind of helped you with some of your journey along the way.

The main way that I'm getting business knowledge is through my podcast, interviewing these people. They are fantastically successful and they have these amazing stories. So I learned a lot from them. Right now I'm reading this book called Anti Hustle. The premise of it is, is that you want to work smarter and not harder and just really being intentional and focused on the focus.

Do you have any final words or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I would say focus on the focus. And I know I keep saying this, but be authentic. Being genuine and really caring about your relationships and nurturing those relationships. I think that is going to take you a long way. So there's no shortcut.

How to connect with Elize:

Email: eflenard@enterprisenow.net

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elzie-d-flenard-iii-76aa23126/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/enterprise_now

Mar 2, 2020

Meet Cory Nichols

Cory is the co-CEO of Yes Life Companies and operates Yes Life Financial, a non-traditional financial coaching firm that offers one-on-one advice in a subscription format for just $25/month. Cory is the go-to for just about everything. Retirement planning? Check! Student loan questions? Got it! Building a deck? He’s done that, too. Cory brings an MBA, Fortune 500 experience and small business executive experience with him. 

What should I look for in a financial advisor?

When you're really working with a financial advisor, I always tell people we want to be clear about where compensation comes from. Financial services, one of those odd ones, to me, it's kind of like health care. We don't necessarily know what we pay for. Don't be afraid to ask the question of your advisor. How do you get paid? Where does it come from? Is that in my best interest? I think that's always a great place to start when finding a financial advisor.

What is the best way to ensure that I stick to my budget?

Well, first, get rid of your budget. I know that sounds odd. The issue with budgeting for most people is they only include the big items, housing, car, gas. They never consider the fact that it's always somebody's birthday, or it's a holiday or something is going to break in the car, the house or a medical bill. And so what I encourage people to do is actually look backwards, do an expense tracker and say, hey, look, if I'm going to start fresh today, what do I spend on average, every month. And let me do that by looking at the past three months worth of expenses. I think it helps people have a little bit more of like a personal realization about where they spend too much money.

What should I do to prepare for a possible recession?

So this is one of those ones where in my opinion is less is more. But the reality is, a recession is probably coming. It's not really a matter of if, it's just a matter of when, but that doesn't mean that you need to be doing anything else or anything different. If you've got your emergency fund, you're good there. If you've got your, retirement set up and it's invested appropriately, don't change anything. It's really stay the course.

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I met an individual who owned a business, gave him a tour of my school's campus at the time and it was a relatively casual conversation but ended with here's my card and that was it. We walked our separate ways. I think I saw him like once or twice the rest of the semester. But other than that we didn't really interact at all. And then I graduated from school, went to work and one day, like two years later, I got a phone call from this business owner and he said, I'm looking for somebody to run a branch of my business. I'd like to hire you will you relocate back to Richmond? And that's where I'm from now.

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

In the last couple of years, social media has become more prevalent than it used to be. And so as a result, you can do a certain amount of nurturing by just staying top of mind by constantly engaging with them on social. So it might be as simple as a like or comment on some of their posts. And then I made a much more conscious effort to identify strategic people inside my network, and really make an effort to actually spend one hour with them maybe once a quarter.

What advice would you offer business professionals looking to grow their network?

You got to get out there and be authentic and just do it a lot. And so that's hard work. Like I think some people just think networking comes natural to some people but I don't know anybody who networking comes 100% natural to them. They may be good at it, but that doesn't mean it just came naturally. Like it's probably just that they put themselves in a position to do it enough times and eventually they just get better at it. And so like anything there's kind of this art and the science of it.

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

I think if you'd asked me like 24 months ago, I probably would have said, traditional in person shaking hands networking. But I have really focused my attention from a business perspective on social media networking and I really think I've like started to see just how powerful it is. And so there's a balance between both but I think if I was forced to put a vote into one category, I think I would say I have to go digital. Because I think the power of it is just going to be astronomical going forward.

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

I would tell myself to take a lot more risk. I was kind of raised to think to go the corporate route, you get your nine to five, make your 401k and make your contributions and 40 years later, you're able to hang it up and enjoy the good life. And I went that route. I went that route for about eight years. After I was terminated from a job, I went down the path of going on the entrepreneurial route and going into finance.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Now, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you can do it in the six degrees?

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National. That is like the dream place to play. It's the only thing I know to be on my father's bucket list. And so I have it on my list, like I got to get myself and my father to be able to play Augusta National Golf Course. Whatever it takes. So if it's just six degrees, then yes, I would. I should be running for it like tomorrow. Find a way to get get the old man and myself on Augusta National to play around a golf.

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

I think the biggest one is just around being authentic. And I say that, knowing that I still struggle to be my authentic self. And I think that changes over time as we evolve and grow as people. But there's a great book that I recently read, which is called Own Your Weird by Jason's Zook, and I think he just does a really good job of demonstrating that when you are your authentic self whether odd or weird that as that is you attract people who find you enjoyable and those are people who are more likely to support you and to recommend you and to do business with you and all those things that you want to have from networking.

How to connect with Cory:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cory__nichols/

Website: https://yeslife.financial/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/coryjnichols/

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