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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Jun 15, 2020

Meet Lucretia Anderson

Lucretia Marie Anderson is the founder of Joyful Muse Coaching, a social entrepreneur, educator, and writer. They have been using their background as a theatre artist, mindfulness coach, and team building workshop facilitator to bring creativity, compassion, authenticity, and self-awareness to the forefront of work, school, and home environments. Look out for their contribution as an author to Raising the Global Mindset: Empowering Children to Be World Changers (2020)

What led you to begin your coaching business?

My business or my foundation is actually in theatre and the performing arts and I began my career as a theatre arts administrator in Washington DC. I just always enjoyed being a part of something that was you know, meant to uplift the human species. So I got into teaching and working, in particular with middle school girls, an all girls middle school here in Richmond, Virginia. I was responsible for helping to evolve a character and leadership curriculum for the girls. And while I was doing that, I was working on my own personal development, I became a little bit of a self-help junkie. I realized that this was something that I really wanted to pass on to adults. I wanted to pass on to educators and other caretakers of children in particular And then particularly women, because there really isn't a need for this idea of transformational thinking and self-empowerment. And so I began this business.

What do you feel attracts people to your message?

I feel that we are at a pivotal time right now where we are all kind of searching for something that's going to bring us out of the bogginess of life. The way that I connect with people is through putting a focus on and the lens on that vulnerability and allowing myself to show up as a leader in that way and just showing my authentic self. I think there’s real connection to that and I think that when you are sharing your story and the highlights and the lowlights of what's happening in your life, and that you can still be successful, regardless of all of that is thrown at you there's real value in showing that.

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

So I was taking this class and I happened to mention that I really want to continue to separate myself out from the pack as far as like writing about mindfulness and writing about vulnerability. And as I mentioned that, I was introduced to someone who knew someone else who was in that class and they were starting up a blog in Richmond. And so a fellow blogger from that particular cohort of bloggers who are all contributing to that blog, asked me to join them in writing a book. And so as we are building our community around that book and sharing tools and guidance with the other collaborators there, I was just sharing some information with one of those collaborators on Instagram, actually, and she liked one of my posts. And I in turn started being followed by someone else who was following her and then that person saw what I had to offer as far as my knowledge and asked me to, in turn, be on one of his podcasts about mindfulness. And it took a few years to develop that particular chain of events of networking events, but I think it does just go to show how showing up in community, whatever that community is, and sharing about what it is that you do, what it is that you're passionate about, or what your interests are, you never know where that road can lead.

How do you stay in front of and nurture these relationships?

I think it's important to engage with people and show interest in them just as a fellow human being. I think it's really important for people to understand that as you're sharing what it is that you do that you are also just sharing that human connection. So whether that's commenting on someone's post, and I'm talking about social networking, online, in particular, using social media, showing interest and kind of commenting on posts, cheerleading and recognizing the work that they're doing. And when we're able to, again, whenever possible, showing up to events, whether that's online or in person. I think you have to be selective about what it is that you, where you want to share your energy and where you want to be a presence.

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

You certainly can't do it in a silo. I hear of so many people who are trying to grow their network, but they're not doing it in a way that is coming from their personal interest. It's typically from a business standpoint just kind of looking out for other people who are interested in that particular service or that particular commodity. But I think that one of the ways that I've grown my network has been interest based. But I find that showing where your interests are in business and showing what your personal interests are, is a way to really, truly grow your network. Because like I said, before, people are getting to know you as a human being, then they're going to want to do business with you as well and find out what it is that you are doing or what you have to offer them as well.

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 think primarily, I wasn't bold enough, or focused enough at that time to really understand what it was that I truly wanted to do. I certainly didn't recognize that there was a way for me to do what it is that I coach people to do now, which is to go grow inwardly. To have a really firm and good understanding of myself and the power that I have to really intuitively understand like the connections that I wanted to make with people and to grow my career in that way. I feel like there was a little bit of wasted time there. I mean, there are other parts of me that knows it's all a part of the journey. You know, one step kind of leads to the next and I feel like, because I didn't have that wisdom there, I had to actually go through some things to understand what exactly it was that I wanted to do with my career and my professional life.

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

So I think my first thought when I hear this is Oprah. I'm gonna go slightly, slightly, slightly different path and say, Michelle Obama, I think I actually could connect with her fairly rapidly for some degrees of separation. She's one of those people that is just incredibly smart, but also very authentic in the way that she shows up and just shares who she is. I have a friend who is a CEO of their own diversity and inclusion firm. And they often work with a lot of politicians and celebrities. And I think more than likely they know someone in their network who has access to Michelle Obama. And so I feel like that's a path that I could take.

I'm always curious as to what my guests are reading or listening to and podcasts or audiobooks, anything you want to share with us?

One of them right now, and I actually do highly recommend it, is “The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person.” It's a workbook that helps to clarify what the world just kind of looks and feels like for HSP’s for highly sensitive people. And when I when I opened the book and just kind of started reading more about you know what that term means and how these people perceive the world I realized, wow, okay, that's me.

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

I think being your authentic self is going to be the most important thing and showing people who you truly are. The work that I do around vulnerability, I think, the mark of a true leader, or someone that you kind of want to be able to connect with is are they are they wearing a mask? Or are they showing you who they truly are? My advice for growing your network is reaching out to people especially during this time, introducing yourself or reintroducing yourself, for people who don't know who you are. And pull back the curtain a little bit to reveal your authentic selves.




Jun 1, 2020

Meet Charles Alexander

Charles Alexander’s mission in life is to help busy professionals stand out in a crowded marketplace that is filled with “me too” advisors. He does this by creating story-based explainer videos for busy professionals, like Financial Advisors, Insurance Agents, or anyone else that is in an advisory role, that helps them explain what they do and show personality.

How do you create the perfect little story?

I always work with clients who are usually in an advisory role in some way, shape, form or fashion. One thing I always want to get across to them a lot of the video out there right now is just somebody staring mindlessly into a camera rambling for about 10 minutes hoping to eventually land another point. More than anything we need stories in our videos. In my particular case, I have folks fill out this really simple six question form and from there is where I'll write the story. And what I want people to understand is that the hero of the story is your client or potential customer. They're the ones that need to see themselves in the story in the video. They're the ones that get to take this hero's journey, so to speak.

What are some of the best ways to incorporate videos in your marketing that ultimately help you just generate the best ROI.

I tell them first and foremost, your website needs to have video, primarily video above the fold on the landing page of the first thing that someone else sees, because even though there are a dozen different ways to drive traffic to your site, one of the most common ways from somebody in an advisory role or any small business or whoever it could be is still word of mouth or referral. The first thing people do is go to websites. They don't necessarily pick up the phone, they don't email they visit them online. When they do that if they go to your site and it looks like everybody else's, they don't really have a good reason to call you. You didn't stand out, you didn't speak to them. One of the very first places I tell people to put video, put it on the homepage, take off all of the jargon take off all of the used stock photos, get rid of it, put a video there.

What are some hidden do's and don'ts when it comes to video?

One don’t is don't make a video that sucks. I know that should be a given and I do want to give people leeway because you've got to get started somewhere.  I create animated videos. And there's the opposite of that is the talking head video. And if you'll scroll through any social media platform, you will see countless talking head videos. So the don'ts for those is, don't skip the storyline. Don't go in without a script. Don't go in without a plan. And there's a lot of people that just hit the record button. So do your point. Have good audio. That's one key ingredient that a lot of people skip. We will watch a grainy video with a good message as long as it has good audio versus a Hollywood produced video with bad audio. We won't watch it. We'll turn that off. So make sure you get you invest a few bucks in a mic.

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

I can tell you about one of the very first networking experiences I had, and we'll talk about what worked and what didn't work there. It was a chamber of commerce leads exchange. It's kind of an entry level networking place where you'll go in for 60 seconds, everybody will introduce themselves and do their elevator pitch. Nobody told a story. Nobody asked how they could really help anybody else. I think the best overall out of all of them was a florist at the end, who hopped up told a story about how they had just helped somebody. And that was it. Everybody wants to go speak to him afterwards. And everybody blew off all the high-power folks with nice ties.

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

Primarily through content marketing that goes as much or more through email marketing and utilizing the LinkedIn messaging platform as much or more than anything. What works primarily is speaking to somebody as you would speak to them in real life removing all of the jargon, all of the sales pitches. Just speaking to somebody like you and I are having a conversation right now. If you will speak to somebody in a plain language in the way that you want to be spoken to, and you'll nurture the relationship, that way I send out one every couple of weeks, I'll throw in animated videos, or sometimes just text and sometimes I just ask them questions and hope to get a response. And that's an individual way it takes a little bit of time, but it's totally worth it, to reach out to people on a one on one basis.

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

Do it specifically. When I'm going out and making some new connections, I look specifically to people that I want to work with that are like clients that are my favorites, not necessarily even the highest grossing or highest revenue ones, but I tend to stick within a niche. So what you're wanting to do is find your tribe, so to speak, people you have a lot in common with. Look specifically for those people on your social media platform of choice. Or when you go to a networking event, don't go to just the generic ones that have one of every industry in it, go to a trade show, go to a convention of that target market and be the only digital marketing expert at the dry cleaners convention this year and be the one that talks directly to them about what they don't know.

Let's 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?

With regard to the professional career, I would probably would have told him to consider getting an actual internship in a field to see if that's what you wanted to do or not. But quite frankly, a lot of the things that I got wrong, one of the things that I got right, was to allow myself to be open to whatever was going to come my way. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just knew I liked people and I've been more into training and content creating ever since that point, so probably one of the better things I would have told him would be to study more and drink less.

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 6th degree?

Seth Godin. And surely I could, I'm connected with 17,000 people on LinkedIn. Look, I got a couple of high profiles on there. I might have a second-degree connection.

Do you have any final words of advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

You want to be different. You want to speak to people in a way that you know resonates. Not speak down to them or try to sell them just talk to them the way you'd want to be spoken to make sure that you actually have a real niche and that you can clarify. Of course I'm going back again that's why I like animated videos so much and explainer videos because you can work those in there.

How to connect with Charles:




May 27, 2020

Meet Amanda Guralski

Amanda's career has transformed from her first entrepreneurial pursuit as the co-founder of an online career coaching magazine, to author of the book I am NOT a Smartie Pants to hosting Tucson’s popular entertainment/lifestyle show, The Morning Blend. She pivoted into becoming a powerhouse account executive for two Fortune 500 companies and currently is working in the technology space. Amanda is also the newest host of Discover Wisconsin.

Throughout your career, you've definitely been a big believer in developing a strong personal brand. How has that helped you with your networking?

Personal brand, I think is really everything. Setting up who you are as a person and being not only transparent on who that is and what that looks like, but being consistent in that. So if you want to put the persona as a positive, upbeat person that wants to be a voice in the community, that's exactly how you have to show up every single day. And there are times where I don't feel like showing up like that. So guess what, I don't show up. Because the reality is, is that as much as we like to say I don't want people to judge who I am, first impressions are based off exactly that. So developing a strong personal brand is vital, I think to building up your network of community.

You've definitely pivoted into different industries and worlds. How have you leveraged your network for that, and how has your brand, maintain consistency while you've done that?

So when you look at my hot mess of a resume on paper, you're thinking this girl is crazy and can't figure it out. But when I articulate what I've done in my career, every single position that I have gotten has been through my network. I started out with an online magazine, the Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come and they did not come shockingly enough. I realized that I had to really get out there and pound the pavement and put the feet on the street and get out there and promote myself or promote my brand, promote my mission and be a voice in the community. And that's exactly what I did is I started getting out there I was going to colleges and professional groups and universities and anyone that would give me an opportunity to speak in front of an audience and talk about my mission and what I was trying to accomplish, is exactly what I did. And from there as you begin to meet more people and start this conversation, you show up in a very genuine, authentic and sincere way, people start gravitating towards you.

You want to share a little bit about what you're doing in the technology space?

I fell into technology through a friend of mine who I went to college with. I did pharmaceutical sales and then from there the most recent president of the Journal Sentinel reached out to me on LinkedIn was like Amanda, we've got a great opportunity. You know the space, you know digital advertising, and we've got a sales manager position open and at the time I was in sales, I'd been in sales way at the beginning of my career. And I did that for about a year and a half and then a friend of mine reached out from Salesforce and was like Amanda, we're really looking for people that have a digital advertising background and you do. Would you be interested in coming here and I did my research and I was really impressed with the suite of products. So I applied, I got that position. And I was there for about a little over a year. And then through networking of friends I really wanted to get into the services space. And I find that the services space what I am now that I'm able to really have very deep conversations where not only are you educating clients on the technology space, specifically marketing, automation space, but also like challenge them on at some level, their education, their historical education on what they know, because what you know, is not what it is today.

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

I was in my early career in college, I was like, I am going to be the publisher of Vogue. And so if you know anything about the publishing side, it's like that's the sales generating revenue side of magazines. And so I had this dream and this vision and as it started to come together, I started networking, different internships and things like that. And I landed at Decker Publications, which was a small publishing house up in Minnesota. And while I was there, I got to attend this magazine day. I went there, but as I was there, I took advantage of the people that were around because it was all of the sales executives from every single one of these magazines and publishers and editors and so I just started working the room and I met this fantastic gentleman, his name was Frank Wall. At the time, he was a sales rep for Time Magazine. I networked with him, and I kind of told him what I wanted to do. And he was like, well, you're speaking to the right person, because I can help you get there. And he was really the one that introduced me to all of these wonderful people that were all working in that space.

How do you stay in front of invest, nurture your wide network?

I'd be lying if I said it's not challenging. It is. I mean, we all get very busy. And depending upon where life is taking you, your priorities shift. So there is no secret formula to doing it. I just think that there are people in your life that are always going to be a part of your network. Letting people know that you're still around. And like how you nurture any sort of relationship. I mean, yes, there's different degrees of relationships, but at the same time, we all want the same thing, right? We all want to feel like we're bringing some value to someone else's life at whatever level that looks like.

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

Get out there. And I know that it's scary, but practice makes perfect. There are so many opportunities in the Milwaukee community to meet really great people. But sometimes it can be very overwhelming because networking events back in the day were like no networking events. We formed our own events to get together. And now I mean, there could be three or four a night, right? I don't want to say like, limit yourself. So like, in my case, I wanted to learn about the publishing industry because I wanted to be the publisher of a fashion magazine. But I also had this idea to start my own. So logically, you would think you have to put yourself in a space where I'm going to be able to meet those people, so that I can articulate to them how they can help me. So I think that's how people can really start to grow their network is have a vision, know what you want, know how people can help you and then just start putting yourself out there and meeting as many people as you can in that specific space and being direct on how people can help you.

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

I know that it's scary. And all of us come to the table for different reasons. And there are different expectations and fears that hold us back. And you might be listening right now thinking, I don't know what I can offer other people. Well, guess what? It doesn't necessarily matter. You can figure that out. All of us have started somewhere. All of us have relied on someone else to help us meet other people or open some doors for us. And yeah, when I started out in my career, I really had nothing to offer either. I needed people to guide me along the way. But now I'm at a point in my career, where I can mentor someone else. So if you feel like you don't have anything to offer, but you've got a goal or a dream or you know anything, just get out there and start talking about it and people will gravitate towards you and people are going to help you whether you can give something in return or not.

How to connect with Amanda:




May 25, 2020

Meet Greg Keating

Greg Keating is the Director of Sales & Operations for Hangar12. Greg received his undergraduate degree in Marketing & Supply Chain Management from the University of Illinois and received his MBA with a focus in data analytics from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He brings Fortune 500 experience from Coca-Cola & Ecolab including project management, data analytics, & selling expertise that helps his marketing agency build brand equity, trial, and loyalty for companies of all sizes.

I know you're more in the consumer-packaged goods market. Can you tell me a little bit how the consumer-packaged goods market has changed in the last few years, especially as it relates to shopper marketing?

In the past, I think shopper marketing was defined as any kind of marketing activation that took place in a retail store. So this might be product sampling or a nice fancy aisle end cap, in store signage, those types of things. Nowadays, well, those things I just mentioned still exist and are very important. The shopper marketing environment has definitely moved online. So the amount of digital activity from retail consumer shoppers has dramatically affected that shopper marketing landscape. So we're talking about six figure media buys for homepage takeover, utilizing the I bought a rebate app and leveraging programmatic banner ads that link out to things like store locators. You're really working to create a kind of seamless, online and offline shopping experience.

What are some newer, interesting, b2b social media insights that your agency has come across recently?

The unexpected channel our agency has really leaned into recently is Pinterest. Pinterest maybe has a stigma around it of being only for the super niche audience of artsy people. And that really just isn't the case. Well, we've seen from some of our recent campaigns is that people of all genders, ages, all these different demographics, are using this platform as a more effective visual Google search. So the click through rates have been shockingly good. The cost per click is low, because I think advertisers maybe aren't fully bought into its validity yet. So it's a really good blend of cost and benefit at the moment.

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

My first boss at my previous employer, Ecolab, would bring me at the time into these really high level supply chain strategy meetings with her because I had this sort of very specific knowledge on one of our company's key customer delivery metrics. I got asked a direct question by our chief supply chain officer who's again, this big, intimidating genius. And he asks about why the metric is a certain way. And I was able to give my two cents on why I thought it wasn't necessarily representative of reality. But ultimately, because of that one moment, I got put on a project where I traveled across the USA, to our top 10 production facilities and essentially worked on mapping out our supply chain network and manufacturing capabilities over the course of the next six months to deliver that to our chief supply chain officer. So the reality for me is that none of that would have happened if my boss did not recognize that I had this particular knowledge and then put me in a setting I was honestly unqualified to be in solely to give me that shot at that one opportunity to contribute.

How do you stay in front of or nurture these relationships that you've created?

So one thing is that our agency that I currently work at is fully remote. I would say I've got Zoom down to a science. With our current coronavirus situation, I would say I'm always initiating video calls wherever possible to meet people face to face and just have an honest conversation with them. I think that has probably helped me faster in business opportunities far more than any phone call I've ever made.

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

I'm actually newer to the sales side of things. I've really been doing a lot of training and networking myself, but some of that advice I would offer is to say yes to almost everything. I think there may be certain instances where there are non-value add opportunities being offered to you, but 95% of the time, there's something to learn or some connection to be made. If that's seminars, webinars, podcasts like you offered up to me here, guest blog opportunities, happy hour events. Anything like that networking groups or associations, all those things are going to introduce you to new people who can help you and you're just limiting yourself and you're not going to grow by skipping out on them.

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

I think digital networking is something people need to get more comfortable with. I mean, I believe it's easier to engage with someone in person, no question. But that's not always possible. Again, obviously, that's true now more than ever, and we still need to be able to cope with that. So I'm a huge advocate for digital networking. I think if you can get that down and fine tune that approach, you just opened so many more doors than might otherwise be possible in a traditional physical setting.

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 join more groups and clubs. So, again, I would call myself an introvert. Even throughout college, I really feel like I didn't take advantage of the resources available to me. I would 100% recommend getting involved in employee clubs, peer networking groups, anything that can provide a real sense of community is ultimately going to help you grow and learn over time. And that's just something I didn't buy into at a young age.

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 6th degree?

I get into Academy Award season and try to watch all the best picture nominations and stuff like that. And one of the supporting actors who's cropped up in recent years and a lot of great movies is Sam Rockwell. And I would just love to connect with him. I think he's a phenomenal actor and storyteller and a really funny, dude. So I think picking his brain would be a lot of fun. I don't know If I could get to the sixth degree. We work with an entertainment marketing consultant who has a lot of connections out in LA. So I think I could at the very least get on the right track. But to get to that level and get into those Hollywood inner circles that might take me a long time.

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

I'll say the only way to grow your network is to flex that muscle of doing new things, trying new activities, getting out of your comfort zone. For me, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is how I've started to frame that in my mind, and that's helped give me a lot of confidence to dive in.

How to connect with Greg:




May 20, 2020

Meet Elena Nunez Murdock

Elena Murdock is the founder of Ascend Communications, specializing in PR, strategic partnerships, & branding for startups, venture capital, and private equity groups. She managed a 350 million dollar brand, rebranded a 1.5 bil-dollar company in 6 weeks, developed GTM strategies for multi-million dollar tech products, & creates branding strategies for CEOs. Elena is giving a talk at the Stanford Business School titled, "Leveraging Your Brand as a Young Executive." Networking is her superpower.

What are some tips that you can share with someone that actually hates networking?

My two top tips are, number one, research the event beforehand and the event you go to, now virtual, and just see who's going to be going and then message them on LinkedIn. If you don't have LinkedIn, definitely get a LinkedIn and start messaging them so you have at least five to ten people that you already know before going. Then secondly, I would also go with a friend. So it's just you. If you still feel uncomfortable going, find a friend to go with you, and then bring them along. And that way you'll have at least somebody to lean on for support.

How do you avoid or get out of any sort of awkward or uncomfortable conversations that someone might be in a networking event?

So the really great thing about networking events is that they always have food at them. I know this might not be a standard “get out of jail” free card, but I always get a little bite of something to eat, but don't fill up your plate because then you can always be like, oh, I have to go throw this away. Greet someone and then excuse yourself to go throw your plate in the trash. Then go and fill up a plate, but if you fill up your plate, you're kind of stuck there and you're just awkwardly nibbling on the plate. So just always have a little bit around and just kind of circle the room. And for me, that's always worked.

Let's talk about social clubs a little bit. What are social clubs and why are they important?

One of the things I talked about when I was at Stanford is the importance of social clubs. And it's a little bit hard, especially during this time to go out and socialize. But hopefully when the world gets back to normal, I really advocate for people becoming a part of social clubs. A social club is basically a community that you pay a membership fee to go to and there's three tiers. Tier three being the lowest and what I would see as like the Soho house, if you've ever heard of the Soho house, they have them in select cities all around the world. And it's more for the creative types or if you're in communications or marketing, it's a great place to go and meet other creatives, directors, actors. Tier two social club would be a golf club. They're like mid-tier professionals and all the directors. You can find very senior executives there as well. And it's more formalized as there is a dress code. Then level one would be something especially in Los Angeles on the west coast called the Jonathan Club. There's also the California club. In New York, for example, there's a University called the New York and similar clubs like that. And those memberships are typically upwards of $60,000 a year or more. I would highly recommend if you're a senior level executive that can afford that kind of membership to do that.

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

So one of my favorite ones is something that happened to me last year. I had heard through the grapevine of a community that I'm involved with that this billionaire who has this company at the time was worth 1.5 billion, that he was looking for somebody with the exact services that I do. So I specialized not only in PR but on LinkedIn getting clients trending on LinkedIn and the topics and also in the news section. And I had heard through maybe a 10th degree connection, like in passing, this guy was looking for somebody like me, and I was like, I have no idea how I'm gonna get in contact with this guy. It turned out that my friend knew him personally, and had known him for over 10 years and made a direct email intro pretty much the next day. And then, because of that email intro, I had a phone call with him, which I was super pumped about. It was an amazing call and he ended up becoming a client. And he was the company, the $1.5 billion company that I ended up rebranding in under six weeks.

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

One thing I do is after meeting someone, I will write a handwritten note which is pretty common not overly done but I got this custom wax seal which has like two initials for E&M. And then I have like the wax kit, and then hand stamp it and if I can also hand deliver it to the office or to the person. That's something that people have really noticed but that's something that I love to do.

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

I would say that I would always find a way to serve other people. If you're just getting started in networking, or if you're coming out of college, or you're just in general trying to expand, I would say, always try to find a way to serve the other person. I've seen that too many people, when they go to networking events, just take and take and take. It's all about them. It's all about how they can grow their network. If you have no idea how to serve someone, guaranteed, you can find some way whether it's offering them a freebie, or something that you can offer that's not going to sell your whole business for free, but something that will help them just like a little bit. That's how ultimately they're going to come back to you and see you as somebody who's serving them.

Traditional networking or digital networking, which one do you find more value in?

I personally love traditional networking 100%. I love connecting with people in person and hearing their stories and there's ultimately no other way to substitute for the energy and passion that you have when meeting somebody in person. Now it's connecting to 10 to 15 people a week via phone, which is not as optimal but you know, we do what we can with what we're given and with the time given to us. But again, traditional networking 100%.

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 definitely would have been more intentional with my relationships. I think as a 20-year old in general, you don't really know what you're doing in college. But I would have kept in touch with the professionals where I did my summer internships. Just being overall intentional with my relationships and less so with forgetting about them in a sense because when you're 20 you take these classes and then go on, but if I had kept in touch having those networks open to me would have been beneficial as I was getting my MBA.

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?

So one of my top line goals for the next two years is to be the youngest woman in America to be named to a board of a publicly traded company. Currently, the youngest woman is 32 and I'm about to turn 30 later this year. So one of my goals was to find a mentor who could help me navigate that journey. So I ended up being at an event that one of the top hedge fund managers in New York City was at. And I knew somebody at about three degrees of separation who knew him. He was hosting a private event and I snuck in through the back actually literally stuck into the back to meet him. One of my friends was at the event who was able to introduce me, and I had been following his career. So I asked him would you be willing to mentor me? This is my goal. And he was stunned. But he actually said yes I'll be your mentor. He gave me his card. And that was a pretty incredible moment for me.

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

Just to find a way to be of service to your network. One thing that I would just keep in mind is keep in mind the top line goal. So just keeping abreast of like, who does what and like, what they're interested in and who they serve. So then if you have an opportunity to send them something that you know you can do at little or no cost to yourself. That's it. Spreading more kindness and serving others ultimately, and then, you know, hopefully they can do the same for you later.

How to connect with Elena:


Bonus Available:

May 13, 2020

Meet Violette de Ayala

Violette de Ayala is a Cuban-American serial and social Entrepreneur, Founder of FemCity, and virtual mentor to over 20,000 women. She’s also the International best-selling author of The Self-Guided Guru© Life Lessons for the Everyday Human. Violette has been quoted in Success, Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Fast Company, Thrive Global, Medium, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Small Business, Authority, Business Insider News as a small business expert overall.

Let's talk a little bit about FemCity. You founded this global women's networking organization, just tell us a little bit about that.

I started femme city in 2009. I myself was looking for community in my life. And even after going out to many, many networking events here in Miami that are all spectacular and great. I always left feeling a little depleted and like I was missing some sort of connection to others. And after doing that for a couple years, I just decided to start something very small, but it would be just for 20 women here Miami and we would just gather once a month and help to support each other in business and personal development. And throughout the years, because of pictures on Facebook that we initially posted and launching other chapters, we started watching more and more. And now we are a members only organization. We help women in business personal development, and we create communities around the world.

You've got a couple new chapters opening up in all different parts of the world. Would you like to share some of those places?

We moved out, so we grow very organically. And you can see our growth patterns starting in Miami, and then we kind of grew up the east coast and then moved over to the west coast. And then we started growing in Canada, in Toronto. And so it's natural for us to start launching in other countries as well. So before all of this started happening, we had started kind of having the conversations of launching in Paris and Madrid and in Dubai and we're excited to continuously grow and create communities for women with personal development, online resources, literally anything that they need in order to design and create the life that they envision for themselves.

So you're an international best-selling author. What inspired you to write a book while you've already got this global organization underneath your feet?

So it's actually a really funny story. Many years ago, some of our members kept asking me for a book, oh, you should write a business book. I started to write it. I reviewed it. I'm like, gosh, this is horrible. This is like a horrible book. I can't do this. So I kind of put that on the back burner. And then I had a goal of writing it by a certain time. And I thought I just need to write it. Let me just write it the way I want to write it in the voice that I generally use when I'm speaking or lecturing. And so I wrote this book, it's 10 chapters, with life lessons that I grew from and how I actually transitioned and pivoted my life stories from going from welfare to wealth stories of being married to someone for 20 years divorcing and getting back together. And just even like the stories of growing up with a mother who was a drug addict and suffered from mental illness. So all these kinds of stories that people knew about, that I lectured. That's where that book was really birthed from.

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

So I believe you can network anywhere, right? I think my favorite networking story is I was asked to be a speaker on a panel many, many years ago for Gymboree, here in Miami, which is where I live and I went and we networked a little bit before the panel started and then we networked a little bit after and I got the opportunity to meet the founder of Gymboree, she was also on the panel, Joan Barnes, and we just connected. It was like we had known each other our whole entire lives. And she ended up we exchanged information like cell phone and emails. And the next day we chatted, and we couldn't stop chatting and we were like texting each other like all these ideas and she really became an iconic person in my journey through being an entrepreneur. And that all came from networking.

How do you stay in front of or best nurture this network and this community that you've created?

I feel that each member that we have is a friend and they feel like I'm really responsible for their success. And every day I wake up like thinking to myself, how can I help more in a bigger way? What can I do to help others to grow the business that they envision for themselves to design their life to live life in a balanced way. And when you come across, anytime you're networking, when you come across from the point of view of wanting to serve and help others, it always comes back to you.

So what advice would you offer the professional who's looking to grow their network?

The advice that I would give is to show up all the time anywhere ready to create connections. So whether you're walking your dog, or going to the farmers market or going to a networking event or whatever it is that you have, you have the power to meet people that can pivot your life in dramatic ways. And if you keep your energy open to receiving that, and then giving, being a person to give of yourself to fully offer advice to be kind to others, those people will remember you forever and ever. And that's really when you talk about business growth. It's always about the contacts and connections that you have, and that they like you because humans do business with humans they like and respect.

Between digital networking or traditional networking which do you find more value in?

I would say both of them, honestly. Sometimes I've met friends on social media. So I think if you come across from the same point of view of being of service, being an asset to that person, oh, I thought of you, I got this invitation for this networking event, I thought of you or I have this contact, I thought it would be a great introduction. So I think a lot of that can occur in the digital world. If you have the heart in it. I think they're both equally valuable. I mean, at the end of the day, humans like to see each other's eyes, like to see each other and you can exponentially grow that relationship when you're in that physical place. But you can still really create great relationships through digital.

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?

Believe in yourself, that would be one that's been huge for me. There's so many years that I wasted and so much money lost because I didn't believe in myself. I didn't think I could do things on my own. I felt like I needed a crutch, I felt like I couldn't do this because I didn't have that degree from Wharton Business School and all these just ridiculous stories I made up in my mind that held me back. So that would be the biggest thing right there.

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

I'd love to connect with Oprah. So another mentor of mine, I met at a birthday party for our girls when my youngest was in kindergarten. We met and I was talking about Oprah. She must have just started her channel at the time. And I mentioned it and she said, oh, my gosh, I told Oprah that exact same thing the other day. I have a couple of those with Oprah like that one degree or two degrees. So I'm just hoping one day to get a chance to meet her. But it has not happened yet.

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

Be of service, follow up with people, stay connected, and you're not going to be able to do it all on your own. You're going to need people around you to offer mentorship and advice and referrals and recommendations and connections. So it's all about people and getting out there and the more people that you know, the more opportunities come your way.

How to connect with Violette:






May 11, 2020

Meet Janice Porter

Janice began her career as a teacher and was a corporate trainer and has now been in business for herself for several years. She found her niche coaching and training business professionals to network at a mastery level and turn their connections into new business. Having an innate curiosity, she has leveraged that into building business relationships, and teaches others how to do the same. Connecting people is a skill that Janice uses when needed, and only when she feels that it will be managed most professionally as she holds her relationships very dearly. LinkedIn training is a huge part of Janice’s business. She believes anyone in business or looking for a new position needs to have a professional LinkedIn profile, and that LinkedIn is a powerful, underutilized online platform for attracting new clients. You can listen to Janice on her relationships, rural podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher and most other podcast platforms.

Let's talk about relationships and specifically relationship marketing. What is that?

So whenever you think of the words relationship, and marketing, most people or I'm going to go with that 80/20 rule a piece that 80% of the people would think marketing first, and the people that I like to surround myself with and those that I train on such things, we talk about the word relationship more. We want to make sure that people connect with people in an authentic way and build an authentic relationship with them. It's not just about sending you my stuff, or connecting to add another number to my Facebook friends or my LinkedIn profile. It's about truly taking the time and interest and having the curiosity to find out about people and find out how they work and how they think and what can you do to support them? That's my idea of relationship marketing.

So why the focus on LinkedIn?

When LinkedIn came around, I was not sure what it was all about and so I asked a couple of people who were using it and one of them kindly put me on to this young man. She said call him as he knows all about it, and he will talk to you about it. Well, this young man was very knowledgeable. He was also a really good teacher. And so I got him to teach me all about it. And what I found was that this makes sense to me. This is logical. It's kind of left brain and it's also a business platform. I find it a much easier platform to deal directly with and to be authentic on it, because the majority of people on this platform are our decision makers, and therefore, it's easy to get to the topic at hand, to the business that needs to be done faster.

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

I met somebody on LinkedIn, who introduced me to somebody else on LinkedIn, because they thought that this person would be an interesting guest on my podcast. He's in Australia. And I have since chatted with him on Zoom a couple of times. He has been on my podcast. I really enjoyed this gentleman and he's very smart, but he gives back and he's very passionate about what he does. And through our conversation, I then introduced him to one of my mentors Kody Bateman who owns Send Out Cards, which is a company that I'm involved with. And Kody had a bit of a vision around children and card sending and showing appreciation. And this gentleman does all of that in spades and teaches young entrepreneurs and he has an online academy. So now I've introduced him to Kody. He's now been on Kody's podcast. And now we're coming back to me training him more on LinkedIn and goes around and it all came from just connection online.

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

One, mostly through LinkedIn where I try to stay visible, and that is by engaging with people on my newsfeed and posting things when I think it's appropriate or when I have something worthwhile to share, and, two, by my podcasts, and three, is by sending cards and gifts. But it has to be something tangible that shows that you've taken the time to write that, to send it, however, not just an email.

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

Where are your people? Are they on LinkedIn? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Twitter? Are they on Instagram? You need to be where your target audience is. That's the first thing.

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?

If I could go back to my 20-year-old self, I think I would have done something that I didn't know I had the opportunity to do back then, which was to go to law school. I don't know why, but I had this feeling now that I should have gone to law school, but I never thought it was an opportunity or an option back then I was always going to be a teacher. That's what I love to do is teach people. However, I think that I would take business courses, and I would have learned more about business even if I didn't think I was going to use it.

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 sixth degree?

I think you and I've talked about this before, and I think at that time, I said, Oprah, and I think I could do it within six degrees. I have a friend who knows Ellen DeGeneres. I don't know whether she’d do it. I'm just doing this hypothetically. Because I know one thing for sure, anybody who has famous people in their inner circle, do not take advantage of them. And that's something I totally respect. So just having fun with that.

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

It's important to be curious and to ask questions. And in doing that, you will make new authentic relationships and then it's about always reaching out and showing appreciation to them. I think that especially now when everybody and their dog is on the internet, we have to look at ways that we can make those connections.

How to connect with Janice:




May 6, 2020

Meet Emerald Mills

Emerald was born in Waukegan, Illinois. She’s a business strategist, culture builder and public health professional with almost two decades of cumulative experience. Emerald is also the founder and leader facilitator of Diverse Dining and events educational organization, whose mission is to cultivate courage, compassion and connection through meaningful conversations centered around diverse foods and cultural exploration. Diverse Dining strives to establish and maintain interpersonal and interprofessional relationships among persons of varying culture, economic, ethnic, political, racial, and social backgrounds. As a philanthropic initiative, Diverse Dining, which Emerald is now involved with full time is prominently been featured on Dear Milwaukee, On Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Spectrum One, Fox 6, Visit Milwaukee podcast and plenty of other mediums.

So why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about why you decided to start Diverse Dining?

I lived in Zion, Illinois. And it's just a very small community that was pretty diverse at the time that I grew up there. And when I relocated to Milwaukee in 1997, which was my junior year of high school, I kind of got a little bit of a culture shock at how separated it seemed that people were, particularly by race and ethnicity, but in other ways as well. I learned after living here for a while. So, I created a Diverse Dining as a solution to the segregation, racism. I really think even you know, cliques and just silos a solution to the silo problem that we tend to have where we have challenges connecting with people that are different from us.

Who inspires you? And why?

Martin Luther King and Oprah inspires me. People inspire me who just dare to do something different to break the mold. People who endeavor to find solutions to problems that seem that they have no solution are typically people that I draw my inspiration from. So, Dr. King, for sure will be one. There is another lady who is Joyce Meyer and I'm inspired by her. I am inspired by various different people in various different sectors, but mainly for the reason of breaking the mold or breaking past the barrier that is in place.

What advice would you offer to women that are starting their own business or considering doing it?

Well, I believe relationships are just key. And my business is focused around building authentic relationships. I really recommend that women are starting their own business, find spaces where they can be vulnerable, build effective partnerships and relationships with people who are like minded or who are supportive in some way or another of what they're endeavoring to start. And so, you can use that encouragement and support is fuel to keep going and to strengthen them when things get difficult.

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

An event that I had when I first got started. The networking was kind of easy, but it was with someone who came to an event that I had hosted, but their event organization did some similar work. And so the young lady who came to the event and myself actually were able to meet for coffee, have a conversation about ways that we could possibly work together but ultimately had built a pretty close friendship as a result of it. We support each other and anything that we're doing and also have support in the work that we're doing. So that was probably one of my most recent favorites experiences.

How do you stay in front of or best nurture these relationships that you create?

One of the things I had to do early on when I got started in my business was investing in CRM, which is a customer management system. And that would help me to keep track. I know that is something that I'll have to probably continually advance and improve over time. But that one of the things that I do to help me out a lot. And then also really knowing on the onset what I need or what need I'm addressing for people to kind of help me prioritize the relationship.

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

I would really advise them to be courageous. And just put themselves out there. I think just having a conversation with people, finding similarity or some kind of way to compliment a person or just something that you enjoy doing that someone else may do. I'd also recommend going into spaces where you're uncomfortable, or spaces that are not related to what you always are part of or always do. By going to an environment where there are people who aren’t in my field, they're seeing what I'm doing, it's more of an opportunity or something that's new, they may not have heard of it. I think that is just another thing to think about when you're thinking about networking is who maybe has a related field or related need or interest, but it's not exactly the same as what I'm doing.

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

I would tell myself to do less self-doubt and negative self-talk. I would do more risk taking for sure. More, just doing it and less trying to think about doing it or thinking about why I shouldn't do it or all the other stuff that we think about. And I would also do more networking. When you are confident in yourself and you're confident in what you bring to the table, then it changes the way that you look at networking. As I have something to offer you that is a value in service to you, and you have something that you can offer me that is a value in service to me, how can we exchange it?

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 sixth degree?

I would love to meet, and I actually did meet her but I'm going to put myself on the spot and I'm working on you know rekindling that conversation is Jennifer Bartalotta. I'm definitely within six degrees of separation with her. I would love to meet the Bucks president Peter Feigin.

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

I would just say you can do it. I know it sounds cliché, but I mean, just test it. You don't have to put a lot of money into ideas and concepts now so it's a great time to give something that is on your heart or something that you desire to try. Even if you don't feel like you have all that you need, be it support, the resources etc. I recommend that you move forward. I also recommend that it's important to build relationships to tap into your network and then expand your network so that you have the support you need around when times get challenging because they will get challenged.

How to connect with Emerald


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May 4, 2020

Meet Bill Bice

Bill Bice has always been an entrepreneur, starting his first company at age 14, putting on road races with corporate sponsors. At 18, he started ProLaw Software, the first integrated ERP for law firms. After selling the company to Thomson Reuters, Bill became a VC as a founding partner in the Verge Fund, investing in high tech, high growth companies in the Southwest. Bill is the CEO of boomtime, the Word of Mouth marketing company.

So you've built and invested a lot of businesses what's been the biggest challenge?

It really is that good of market I mean, that's the reason I started Boomtime which was my frustration in getting great marketing for the companies that I started. I mean, it's a tough thing to do really well. And it's really tough as business owners to make the necessary commitment behind marketing because just like always spending money and not getting results, and there's some key reasons for that.

What are some of the most common mistakes that you see people making in their marketing?

I think there's two really big ones. So what I consider the biggest mistake in marketing is talking about yourself because nobody cares. And marketing is so much more effective if you flip that around, and really pay attention to what your audience cares about. If you instead turn it into insight, perspective driven help that you're giving to your audience, it becomes so much more effective. And then you get to the really hard part, which is the second step, which is that you've got to do it consistently. There is no magic trick in marketing. It's actually really hard work that has to be done day in and day out for it to be effective.

You've done a lot of work in B2B sales, applying the challenger sale, what have you learned in doing that?

The challenger sale is all about creating new sales opportunities that wouldn't otherwise exist. If your business works where you can just be an order taker, then that's great. But if you're doing something that's complex and has multiple decision makers as high value, then then you need to be able to create new sales opportunities. Let's be consultative, let's make everything in our marketing have this perspective, insight driven approach, get your audience to think about the things that you're really good at, give them a different perspective. And if you do that you'll create new sales opportunities that didn't exist before.

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

I'm very much an introvert at heart, but yet to do what I want to do, I have to go out in the world and talk to people. I love LinkedIn for this very reason. Because it's like the perfect cocktail party, it's going to be a room full of only exactly the people I want to meet, I get to do it under my control, I don't have to eat horrible food at the same time, and I get to build a network of exactly the right people that I want to talk to. I found that if you treat that the same way that you would that cocktail party where when you meet somebody, you just don't dive into a sales pitch, you have to build a relationship first. If you do that same thing on LinkedIn, that works really well. It's been the perfect way for me to build my network and be able to get my message out.

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

If you do a regular flow, and this is what's really hard, quite frankly, is because 90% of the effort is great content. And most companies have a really tough time doing that internally, you've got all the ideas, but actually executing on it day in and day out is really tough. You got a business to run and sitting in front of a blank screen doesn't get you there. So you know what, the only way to solve that problem is to build a network of subject matter experts who are able to write that stuff. So I think you have to outsource it. The ideas have to come from you. The really hard part is getting the voice, right. But if you go through the effort of getting that model working, then you get the steady flow of really great content that lets you stay in front of your audience over and over again.

When it comes to someone that wants to grow their network? What advice would you offer that that kind of newer, greener business professional?

I just think it's so much easier to get going with LinkedIn. So let's say that you're focused in your city and you want to grow your network there. It's amazing how great it is when you've built that network online, how much easier it becomes to do so in person. Because now people have seen things from you on a regular basis, it makes it much easier to come up with things to talk about. So I really see LinkedIn as the entree to making all networking easier. The key is how do we do that really well in LinkedIn and putting the strategy you put behind that really changes how effective it's going to be.

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 was a complete idiot. I started my first software company when I was 18. Because I was 18, I thought I knew it all. And so the biggest mistake is that I didn't accept any kind of mentorship. And so we built a great software company, but it took 15 years. It took me a long time to figure out how to run a business. And so now I have a much better idea of how little I know. I always try to find somebody who's already done what I want to do. Someone's already done whatever it is you are setting out to do right now. So going and learning from them is the best way to speed up your process.

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?

So, who's on my mind at the moment, just because I read his latest book is Simon Sinek. I've always been a huge fan of his work. And I think what he talks about in The Infinite Game, which frankly, if you just read the first chapter, you'll get to get the concept but it really gets at the heart of all the good that we create with capitalism and how do we continue that and get rid of the challenge and you know, the problems that have crept in over the last few decades.

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

I'm going to hit the same tune again because the reason I talked about it is because it is the key to make marketing work, which is you need to pick a strategy that you believe in, that you will commit to long term. Because you're not going to get a return in month one, month two, month three, I believe you got to pick a strategy that you're willing to put at least a year behind in order to truly understand how it works. And the only way you can believe in that is to see the results from other places. Take a proven approach that is working for businesses just like yours, so you can make that long term commitment.

How to connect with Bill:




Apr 29, 2020

Meet Ian Moyse

Ian has been a sales leader for over 25 years and focused on the cloud computing industry for the past 13 years. Now serving as EMEA sales director for cloud telephony vender Natterbox. He sits as a non exempt on a number of industry bodies and firms and is a social influencer for a growing number of global brands such as Oracle, SAP and Sage. He's a recognized keynote speaker and blogger on cloud, social selling, and personal branding.

As a sales leader, what's the landscape of sales looking like right now? How is it changing?

So I think it's already changed and it will continue to change. And I think the reason for that is we've all changed ourselves. We now live in a world that's different. And it's different because of mobile smart devices, the internet, the World Wide Web, rather than the internet, the true definition social media. Our behavior as a buyer has inherently changed. So from a sales perspective, the game's changed. And it's changed years ago. And it continues to change both because of the environment we live in. Because of millennials and Zeds having grown up in that environment.

You're an advocate of social selling, what is it and how do you use it as a sales leader?

I think the name itself is a misnomer because when I speak to a lot of people they get well, that wouldn't fit our product or service. We couldn't sell that over the internet. You couldn't sell it over social certainly. Social selling isn't about selling over social. Social selling should be called something like how to use social media to get a first engagement conversation open that you turn into a real world conversation, then move on to use all your normal selling skills. But how do you package that? Social selling is about finding a way to engage authentically, with a potential customer or buyer that turns that into a real world conversation. It is not a quick fix. It's a sales nurturing methodology to try and get engagement.

What can you share with our listeners about what exactly personal branding is and why is it important?

Personal brand isn't some illustrious thing about you need to be a celebrity. It isn't something your company is responsible for in terms of branding of a Pepsi Cola or some big logo out there. It's pretty simplistic. It's about how you represent yourself. How are you viewed online? If someone searches your name, what will they find? And what will the impression give? Today's world, often the first impression is digital. Because if you're going to meet someone, it takes them five seconds to put your name in LinkedIn and just have a look. To put your name in and see what comes up in Google. And to take an impression of what they see. And you need to be cognizant of that. So think about your social profile your brand is how you look online. You have control of that to the majority. And it's not complex, isn't it? You can do it for free most times.

Can you share with our listeners, your most successful or favorite networking story that you have?

The traditional one is going along to an event and there's loads of strangers there. And I don't feel comfortable just walking up to introduce myself. What I always go back to is where I went to an event. And I sat down to listen to a speaker and I sat next to someone so I just started chatting to them. Which bit are you interested in today? Where were you from? And did basic fundamental question because I sat randomly next to this person. And it turned out they were the European CIO of a major brand organization. And we chatted, and I wasn't trying to sell to him. The conversation naturally just accidentally ended up in the right place. To the point that we said, well, we should talk after this. That progressed into meetings that progressed into me selling them across the whole of Europe and then traveling out to the states to meet the global CIO, etc.

How do you stay in front of our best nurture the relationships that you're creating?

I sat in with my team on the training. I've been doing this a long, long time. Sales leadership a long time. I didn't know this. And one of those things was around relationship. And it was what the difference between how many times we assume we have a relationship and what we have is rapport. And it was an eye opener to see how many times we think we have a relationship where what we have is a rapport because people have been friendly to us. And people aren't gonna be rude in a business or unless you're rude in the outset. They are going to be friendly; they are going to smile, they are going to have a conversation. It doesn't mean you've got a relationship. We assume relationship too quick.

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?

Always learn and be open. I think I'm more now because of the environment I work in, in cloud technology. You have to be open to change and agility because tech is changing so fast. We get programmed. And the longer we do something we get programmed into. This is the way to do it. We've become habitual. Because we've done it for so long. We will behave so in front of a prospective client, if they see 10 people, how many of us just behave very similar. We ask the same questions we go the same approach. How boring must that be for them as opposed to Is there a better way?

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

I think that the tip key today is about engagement. It's about providing value, what everyone's looking for is insight. You know, and customers are looking for insight. What can you add value to that business? What’s a personal value that I can give to that individual that can help them in their day to day job and build. And that's where I think you can help build, go from rapport, and step towards relationship, because you're giving them something.

How to connect with Ian:



Apr 27, 2020

Meet Ian Reynolds

Ian Reynolds is a Partner and Chief Solutions Architect at Zibtek, a software development firm focused on helping businesses of all sizes in the US solve their core problems with software. They empower entrepreneurs, growth companies, enterprises and visionary firms to achieve greater profitability and efficiency, valuation and ultimate success by building the right tools through custom software.

What is it that your company is doing to innovate and stay on top of the latest technologies?

We have a select group of engineers who are just looking at a sort of smattering of the biggest and sort of most available trends and technology, mostly AI and these sorts of things. Just dedicated research to see if they can come up with any sort of projects that are going to be interesting, going to solve problems for our clients that we can then turn around and present research. We see the market going this way, here is something that we really feel will be of benefit to you and hopefully, of course, a benefit to us internally as we sort of provide services to the workplace.

Can you talk a little bit about the types of clients that you help?

There are three major categories that we serve. The first category is small businesses in the United States, which accounts for 90% of those firms as maybe 20 to 25% of our business. And these are folks who either have an idea or have a need for a piece of software that doesn't exist, and they're sort of bringing something new to market. Then we have midsize businesses, which account for the majority of our business. And they don't necessarily have that team in house that can solve that complex engineering problem that they have, that would resolve the core issue in their business or would basically allow them to focus more on operations. And of course, we have enterprise clients like Google and Adobe, that we serve, and we're building and supporting enterprise projects for them in house. And those are those are much more structured.

Can you describe the process of building custom software and how a company goes about doing that?

So building custom software is very much like building a house, you have to have a plan. You also have to have certain access to certain things. So we start with really sitting down the client understanding their needs. We had people come to us with literally just napkins where they have an idea. And so we have to take that translate that into a formal or textual document. We then go into a design and architecture phase, where we're actually reviewing the technologies that would be best fit for the solution. And then we're designing it. Sometimes we'll do a discovery phase, that's a couple weeks to really kind of test and make sure build what is called like a POC a proof of concept to see if this can be done. We then go into principal engineering where we pair a team that has built something before together. And then depending on the nature of the project, you have QA teams to make sure that the quality is sort of meeting our standards.

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

I was actually revisiting a college campus. We were doing some recruiting. And I had bumped into a colleague that had basically made a pretty wild transition in their career and we just caught up very briefly. That conversation sparked a chain of referrals, which I found out later, where I had just sort of talked about what I was doing. And I took rather a sort of unconventional career path, started a chain of conversations on that person side. And then I find out years later, that they had actually come into also my circle of work, doing engineering, largely because of this conversation that I had with him.

How do you stay in front of or nurture your networking community that you've established?

I've taken an approach of trying to write very thoughtful pieces. And share those directly with a group of individuals, to a select group. I'll send it to people that I feel would be most relevant for just to share my thoughts on a topic. And what I find is real engagement, rather than sort of community or social engagement. It generates real conversations and lends itself to deeper, more meaningful, more thoughtful discussion about certain topics. And it's a lot more work I'll say that, but I would say it has generated much deeper sort of friendships.

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

My advice would be determine what type of communication you're comfortable doing. Then try to leverage that and get really, really good at that one type of communication, that one type of network communication that you prefer, and do that do that on steroids. And if you can, do it consistently. It'll work better than trying to be a man for all seasons.

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

I'd say the, the digital networking is much more valuable. And I'd say by and large, because we have an increased sort of transaction philosophy in society with the use of technology people are out and about and they can be anywhere when they're working. And so it's much more, I guess, kind of consumable to present yourself digitally, than I think it is to even go to or be present at some of these networking events.

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

If I could go back in time, I would probably tell myself to start a business sooner than later. Working in a professional environment was helpful, but not necessary. You can learn pretty much everything you want to learn if you just kind of jump feet first into the problem, and sort of make the problem your own and want to go consume the material.

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?

it would probably be the Seth Klarman at Baupost Group. He's an individual investor guy living in Boston and totally unrelated to the field that I'm in. But he wrote a book that is no longer in print. And just a pretty interesting guy. He's got a unique perspective on the market, and has a long term view of where things are going. So I'd love to have chat with him if it could ever be arranged.

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

Being personal being yourself is the most valuable thing that I have done and the most valuable thing I would encourage people to do and be comfortable in your skin. Just be comfortable with who you are. Be a little goofy be a little nerdy. That's me. And just put yourself out there.

How to connect with Ian:




Apr 22, 2020

Meet Dr. Matthew Waro

Dr. Matt Waro is a family practice chiropractor that specializes in athletes. He works with his practice members to reach their goals by championing them through chiropractic care. Dr. Matt uses functional movement assessments to determine how best to correct the spine, arms, and legs to increase athletic performance, prevent future injury, and rehab current or old injuries. He loves working with people of all ages and levels of activity at Core Chiropractic, his practice in Oconomowoc.

What exactly is a chiropractor doing?

A lot of people think that I'm a bad doctor that you come to me when you have low back pain or headaches or neck pain, but what I treat is the nervous system. So the brain It's up top and sends down the nerves in the spinal cord. And when a bone in your back comes out of place your body braces out with inflammation. And that inflammation can sometimes irritate that nerve root, which causes the back pain, hence why people come to see me with back pain. But I'm not actually treating that back pain, I'm more concerned about something else. All that extra fluid in the area can put compression on the nerve roots. So my job is to go through the spine and make sure that all of the pressure is off those nerves so your body can function on its very best.

Why did you choose to specialize in sports chiropractic?

It makes my day interesting. So each different type of athlete has a different need. I work a lot with hockey players. It's their legs, their shoulders. For the goalies as their knees. For runners we have to deal with feet, ankles, knees, hips, just different. Different conditions that pop up each day. My job interesting.

What about cyclists?

So cyclists are actually pretty good. I'd say a big part of it is the pressure that's always on your pelvis. And then also, of course, we got the hip motion though. The ankle motion and the knees as well.

What other projects are you involved with outside of the clinic?

Outside of the clinic, I have a couple different things going on. One being I do corporate care practice. I actually go into corporations around the apartment area and deliver chiropractic adjustments to their employees on site. I'm actually just launching another project called Plants for Local Partners and this is based off of Dr. Anna Koeck idea. It's having to do with small business owners and people that typically don't offer insurance benefits but giving them an option that their employees or themselves can buy into to have regular care.

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

I like networking events that aren't necessarily common to the reader card to people, right? Because that's very impersonal. In all fields, people tend to do business with those that they know, that they like, and that they trust. And at those events where you're just handing out cards, you're not building that trust. You're barely even getting to know somebody. So one of the big ones for me is actually eWomen's Network, which is kind of funny because I'm a man. But the eWomen's Network is very inclusive of males. But you go there, and you just feel like family.

As you continue to create new relationships and build your community, how do you stay in front of or best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

It comes down to consistency. So a lot of these networking events, these gatherings of people, they happen at a set interval. So you make sure that you are always at those events. You talk with all the people that you've already met, and make sure you pick up a couple new people. So you can start building more relationships. Outside of that, it's connecting with them maybe on LinkedIn or connecting with them on Facebook can and pushing content so that way your face stays in front of them and they recognize your name.

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

I grew my network pretty slow. And that's my own decision. That's how I decided to do it. I find more meaning and relationships that are closer and more personal. And you can't that you can't push that. It can't be done super quickly. So just get out there, meet people. Actively listen, and take an interest in who you're talking to, because they're a person just like you. They have a story and everyone can learn from each other.

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

I personally find more value in traditional networking. Being, I can't physically be with somebody through digital marketing, or digital networking. And when I'm taking someone out to coffee, we shake hands, make eye contact, it's more personal, and people are more likely to remember that.

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?

My 20-year-old self was studying at UW Stevens Point. And at that time, I hadn't decided exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I studied vocal music education for a while, I ended up with a minor there. But it took me five years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So really, it's just I wish that I had more focus when I was a student, so that way I could accomplish everything a little bit sooner and get more years of practice in.

I'm always interested in hearing what books or podcasts my guests are reading or listening to for their own personal growth and development.

So on the business side, I've been listening to the Empowerment Project, which is a podcast I listen through Spotify. It's a chiropractor down in Greenville, South Carolina, that likes to talk to other business owners and get their story. Typically, business owners, we just see their storefront, we see what they do in the professional community. But there's so much hidden behind that. And she explores that and I really appreciate it. On a personal note, I am reading a book about someone in Oconomowoc named Ramon. The book’s title is Ramon: an Immigrant’s Journey. He is an immigrant from Mexico. And he's someone that I have contact with very often through Rotary and other organizations in Oconomowoc. Learning about the people that you interact with every day. And his book is extremely eye opening and very much an emotional roller coaster. But that's his life. And that's his story. And there's a great appreciation that I have for it.

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

It comes back to always be consistent. Make sure you schedule your time appropriately. There are a lot of events that come up, sometimes on the same day. You need to pick ones that you are extremely interested in, you like the people that are there, so you can continue to show up and grow relationships with them.

How to connect with Dr. Matt:


Phone: 262-204-7007


Apr 20, 2020

Meet Rylee Meek

Riley is the founder and CEO of the Social Dynamic Selling System, which turns dinner seminar marketing into a science. After responding to a small add on crisis in 2009, Riley was introduced to a new concept of selling, one in which radically changed his life forever. Having just $673 in his bank account, but more importantly, a burning desire for more, Riley went on to produce over $80 million in sales over the past eight years. Now that he has perfected his model, through continual trial and error, he is sharing this learned wisdom and is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their revenue goals that they have to live the lifestyle they desire. Everything he teaches, is tried, tested, refined, and proven to create a predictable, sustainable and scalable selling system.

Can you just explain what Social Dynamic Selling is?

At the core of what it what it is, is it's gathering a group of people in person in which there is a social dynamic happening. No different than if you were out at a restaurant or a bar, there's a social dynamic happening. What we do is we create a setting or an environment in which we gather people together, that allows us to create an environment for the host of that event to have listeners eager to hear what they have to hear about a topic in which they are the expert in their industry, and then they have the ability to deliver a presentation. And then ultimately, try to obtain sales or make sales after the fact.

Why does this work so well?

I do think that in person, kind of touch we'll call it is something of the last art in the in the sales world. I think you're gathering people in a in a neutral environment in which they're not feeling pressured coming into a retail store or something along those lines. It's usually an environment in which they've been to before or they know well, and they're not threatened. It's not like they're in that high-pressure sales environment.

In your bio, it states that you offer predictable, sustainable and scalable selling systems. What exactly do you mean by that?

My background was always selling one on one. And it was this constant struggle of lead supply or lead flow. That feast and famine kind of lifestyle in the in the direct sales world. Where was your next lead was coming from, how you were obtaining that and then ultimately making presentations to close deals. And so this system really allows us to have a constant supply. For instance, if the business owner is in San Diego, California, and they're looking to expand into the Phoenix, Arizona market, but they don't have a brand or any recognition, any wherewithal, within that industry they could call upon someone like us. We then could host events and have a room full of qualified prospects eager to hear what they have to talk about whenever they're looking to expand into any particular market.

What specific industries are you working in? Or have you worked in?

We're kind of all over the board. Financial advisors, they were kind of the pioneers of this. I have to say that I'm not the creator of doing dinner seminar sales by any means. I do feel like I have perfected it taking it kind of out of solely in that financial industry. We've expanded into the home remodeling market, general contracting into the medical world cosmetic surgery, dentistry, regenerative medicine, into the travel world, into investment clubs.

It sounds like it's very heavier focus is on the business to consumer side of things?

Yeah, for the most part. Part of the reason is we do a ton of direct mail. I do hundreds of thousands of pieces every single week. And it's easiest to buy that data and send that direct mail piece to that end consumer. If I'm looking to go b2b, typically the business owner, and it's not always the case, but the business owner usually has that gatekeeper, we'll call it, that's actually collecting the mail for themselves and it doesn’t get into the proper hands.

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

I ended up joining a group, a mastermind called board of advisors, and it led to an introduction of Kevin Harrington, who is one of the original sharks on Shark Tank. He ended up hiring us on to fill some events and do some networking events for him throughout the country. It was really cool to be able to make that connection and that's opened numerous doors for us not only in his network, but just others that have seen that we've done business with him as well. It's added thousands and thousands of dollars to our bottom line. It took a little bit of investment for me to get into the group, but from there it was very fruitful thereafter.

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

I travel a ton, but I love doing podcasts like this in general. There's obviously groups online that I'm a part of, that I can contribute to. And I think looking at looking at it, like can I contribute versus always looking at it, on what I can get out of something. Find your core platform or what it is that you want to focus on, and be very, very good at that, versus trying to be the end all be all for all things, I think is key, and being able to always provide the proper support for your community.

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

We tend to always think about okay, what can I get out of this? Or what can I get from this person? But changing that mindset into what can you give? Because everybody is looking for that and if you can come at it with that approach, I think it's it is a breath of fresh air for people.

Between digital networking and traditional networking. Which one do you find more value in?

Obviously I do a ton of traditional fit, you know, face to face. As I mentioned, I think that really is a lost art which is the society we live in now everything is online, group meetups and webinars and things like that, which is it's a beautiful thing. I mean, we're very blessed to have this type of technology in this day and age. But I still, to that point, there is still what I feel people crave is that personal connection that being able to look somebody in the eye and shake hands and sit across the table from each other break bread.

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

If we're not growing, we're dying. And I truly, truly believe that. I’ve believed that since I was 15 years old, and that's why I constantly looked to whether I was reading personal development books or seeking out mentors. I was a sponge early on and I still am so if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. If you can step out of your comfort zone and do the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. You're gonna go big places in this world.

How to connect with Riley


Apr 15, 2020

Meet Steve Fry

Co-founder of a number of businesses, including two that have made the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 Lists. Today, Steve spends his time matchmaking organizations that genuinely want to grow or increase collaboration with a team of experts in E-Commerce, M365/SharePoint and Digital Marketing. Steve serves on a number of boards where he gets to see up close how non-profits work. Having been to about 70 countries, Steve loves to travel with his wife, Jan. They have two grown daughters and live in suburban Des Moines.

Tell us a little bit about your company and what exactly it is that you do and introduce the company in general?

We have a couple of companies, but they're all under the banner of spindustry. And we're based in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa. And we do really two major things. The first would be large scale web application development. And as a part of that would be replacement parts e-commerce. We do a lot of that. And then the other side of our business is Microsoft Office 365. And as a part of that platform, we do a lot of work with SharePoint, Teams, Power BI, and some of the tools within that suite to move businesses to the cloud. As people are working more and more remotely, that is a platform that is very busy for us and serves our clients well.

How did you get into this space and tell us a little bit about your background?

It started about 35 years ago, when I first got out of school, I went to work for an insurance company and then I moved to Iowa back in 1990. I was involved for a number of years with an exporting business. We sold old firefighting and safety equipment that was manufactured in United States, but all of our clients were international. And I, for a number of years, covered Asia Pacific. So, from Japan down to Australia, and then back west to India, and got to do a lot of traveling. And that was back in the day when we didn't have email. And we didn't have the ability to communicate like we do today. And then in in 1996, we started a new company. I met a guy when I was working in a product fulfillment business, Michael Bird, he's my business partner. And he helped us in the exporting business to automate everything that we were doing. And he just did a wonderful job and he was entrepreneurial. And my business partner and I and other businesses decided to, you know, let's start a new business.

Where do you see the future of business going today?

So I in my business career, I have seen incredible change. I remember When I was early in my career, the fax machine became a prominent feature in most offices. And that was a revolutionary tool that you could actually send something, a piece of paper for from one office to another. And we do so many things that I couldn't have thought of 30 years ago, even 10 years ago, we do things today, we wouldn't have thought of. And I think looking forward there's more change. I think there'll be careers that people do 10 years from now that don't exist today. I know a lot of people are involved in social media work today. Well, if you go back maybe 10 or 12 years ago, that's really when that all started and there was nobody working in social media today. That's a big, big business.

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

I have belonged to a breakfast club for several years now. It meets twice a month, and this is going back about 10 years. One morning after we had our bimonthly breakfast, one of the members that I had just met but didn't really know him very well came up to me and we were chatting and he said he thinks he may have a client for me. It was a hog farmer in northwestern Iowa. And I looked at him and I said, Jim, do you know what I do? And he laughed. And he said I think you'd be surprised, and I thought, I don't know how we're going to help a hog farmer in northwestern Iowa. But I will tell you in the 10 years since, between that relationship and about three or four other relationships, this same gentleman has referred me to and networked with me to find these opportunities. I'm going to say we've done at least a couple of million dollars’ worth of business for those clients. And it's all been I joined that breakfast club.

As a global traveler has met a ton of people throughout your professional and personal career, how do you stand in front of them best nurture these relationships that you've created?

Our business follows the attraction program or entrepreneurial operating system, EOS. And I have quarterly rocks. And I think almost always one of my rocks is that I have to meet with at least one influencer a week for lunch. Sometimes it's two or three people in a week. I also will sometimes bring people in for lunch, bring them a box lunch and just showcase some of the things that we do so they can have a better and better understanding of what our organization does to serve clients and companies. I send out a monthly e-newsletter. That's a private email just to my group of influencers. It's just like, I always put just two things, two points in there that I want to let them know. And it's just a way to keep our business front of mind for those for those folks as they go.

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

I think the key there is just always be looking for ways to get connected and involved. And so places that you might do that would be business associations. There's a lot of associations for every business. There's community leadership programs, we have a statewide leadership program. And it's great to be able to get connected with people on a on a broader network across every industry. I play golf. I belong to a country club, and I play golf, and I get to meet a lot of people that way. And there's nothing better than spending four hours playing golf with somebody to get to know them and then have a beer afterwards. That's a great way to get connected otherwise people might not ever be able to, you might not ever get a meeting with somebody but I've had the chance to golf with some people that are pretty cool and have helped me out a lot.

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

They're both equally important in my world, and I'm one of the oldest people in the office. I do things from a traditional standpoint, like handwritten thank you notes that nobody else does anymore. I still think they're important. And then I get good feedback from those. I do those sorts of things. And I do use the phone and I do go to lunch. When I to do a networking lunch, it's often how can I help you get connected to somebody else? Because if I take care and help you match-make to an opportunity, long term, I know you'll think of me when the time is right.

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 think I always mimicked the best people in the business that I was associated with. When you talk about networking, it's just getting to know people and not being afraid to ask for a mentor to ask how do you do things? How have you asked successful people? How have you gotten to where you are, and they're always willing to help you, particularly when you're young and when you're young, or you're starting a new job, or you're in some new space within your current job, people like to help. So don't be afraid to ask for help. And so look for opportunities, get involved, jump in, even when you don't know anybody or you're uncomfortable.

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

If you will approach networking with the idea that you're trying to give more than you are to get, you'll end up getting plenty. It's just like when you give Christmas presents, I don't know about you, but I think for most people, it's more fun to give than to receive sometimes. And I think that same thing is true for networking.

How to connect with Steve



Apr 13, 2020

Meet Brian Weaver

Brian serves as CEO of Torch.AI and has more than 20 years of experience leading mission driven high growth technology focused companies. Torch.AI helps leading organizations leverage artificial intelligence in a unique way via proprietary enterprise data management software solution. Today Torch.AI supports clients like H&R Block with fraud detection and mitigation. And the US Department of Defense with machine learning enabled background investigations for all federal employees, supporting the determination of an individual's trustworthiness and security credentialing.

So how did you end up starting your first company?

So I was sort of a serial entrepreneur even an employee. I got out of college and I conned to this guy to hire me, no experience, I was the youngest employee that they'd hired a company called the Kansas City Star. I had a normal day job and I've always considered myself someone that really enjoyed working with others and trying to solve problems for others and in a business development or sales capacity as a 21 year old kid, but I always had kind of this curiosity and this bit of a creative spark. And so I then left that job and actually followed the guy that had hired me right out of college. And I was a manager over a whole group of people. But the way my first business started, I actually got in trouble at that job. I NASCAR came to Kansas City. We did a great job on NASCAR’s project. And it went very well. But my employer didn’t like it and I was written up for the project. So I went actually went to the NASCAR guys that had had the project and asked would you guys be willing to hire me? And I'll start my own company, and you can be customer number one, and they agreed.

What has been one of your biggest lessons that you've learned as an entrepreneur?

So in order to grow and actually in order to build a real business that’s financially viable where you can have resources and innovation as a function of the business and actually solve problems for big companies and even maybe make a difference in your community, you have to have a little bit of a different attitude because it's a living, breathing thing. And you ultimately need to figure out very quickly how to put to build teams. And you might be as a business owner or an entrepreneur, you might be like the hero CEO type, where you've got a lot of charisma, you can make a sale and you can kind of keep the thing going. But the real measure of success is can you build an organization that is sort of independent from you and that skill set or character trait?

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

I think the way most people network is like a complete waste of time. So I think I'm a good I'm a good candidate to help share some information. I think your relationships and your reputation are everything. I find that the way I do it is maybe a little different. I don't like going to a networking type of events. I've never been wanting to join a chamber of commerce or another organization. I always approach it is that I am looking for opportunity. I have a desperate need to solve a problem. So I'd say number one, I'm self-aware of what I need as a human being. And believe it or not, I think that that's directly applicable to your success. I think the more you know who you are and are comfortable in your own skin, the easier this whole thing will be because you won't be asking yourself to do something that you're just not naturally inclined to do.

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 think it would be don't stress so much. It's easy to say and I just think I'm wired to sort of be hyper motivated and sort of driven by fear. The wisdom that I found doing this for over two decades and having failures and great successes and the whole bit is that actually the journey is super fun if you can just be open and relaxed. The bad times aren't as bad as you think they are. And you don't realize it and you can't even understand it until you're way past it. And you can kind of reflect on it.

I found that meditation is really helpful with that. Have you done any of that?

I totally have. And the problem for me is my brain is always on and it is a curse. I am a frustrated creative type. My brain is on overdrive all the time and that's my challenge with meditation. And I think what I figured out is how I can slow down and be contemplated is to garden.

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

Just be brave and try and do something big with your life and with your company. We have purpose. Our company has purpose and I can live my life with that purpose. And I think the more you find that whether it's a mission for your customer, whether it's a mission for your family, whether it's whether it's just being deliberate about how you live your life. Whether that's eating, sleeping, exercising, you know, whatever it happens to be how that manifests feel for you. Absolutely try and find it.

How to connect with Brian:


Apr 8, 2020

Meet Tim Fulton

Tim owned and operated several small retail businesses in Miami. He also taught as an adjunct professor and served as the interim director of the Family Business Institute at Florida International University. Tim was a Vistage chair for 16 years, retired from Vistage in December 2018 and currently enjoys chair Emeritus status. In 1992, he started his own small business consulting firm, Small Business Matters. He has an award-winning newsletter and has self-published two different books and co-hosts a popular podcast. He also hosts one of the largest annual events in Atlanta for small business owners.

What are some of the entrepreneurial myths that you're aware of?

There are some myths about entrepreneurship that just tend to pervade no matter what. And so, an example, many of your listeners may be familiar with the book, The E-Myth, one of my favorite books of all time, written by Michael Gerber. We tend to think that most small businesses are started by entrepreneurs, you know, people with great ideas and initiative and drive and vision. Kerber found that it’s not the fact that most small businesses instead are started by, by the term he used was technicians. A technician is someone who has a particular skill and expertise and experience that causes them to then want to start a business around that experience. So that the technician is the chef who opens up the restaurant or the attorney who starts as his or her own law practice. And so that's how most small businesses get started not by the ideal so to speak entrepreneur, but by the technician.

So entrepreneurship is on the decline in the US. Why is that?

One is, health insurance, which is always kind of a hot topic. But when they study that they found that fewer people are starting businesses because they're afraid of losing their health insurance, because maybe they have a pre-existing condition. We've also got an issue around immigration. But the reality is we have more restrictive immigration policies today. About 30% of new business startups can be directly tied to immigrants, people who have just joined this this country. About 30% of new startup activity due to immigration. When we restrict immigration, it just makes sense that we're also restricting small business. The third factor that comes into play is capital. When businesses first get started, many of them need startup capital. And for some, that means going to relatives, family members. For others, it means going to a bank. And ever since the recession in 2008, bank capital has become increasingly difficult to acquire.

Any suggestions for those that do have a business and helping them grow and take it to the next level?

So a couple ideas around growing the business. One is the importance of having a plan. You've got to have a business plan. But the reality is that the SBA has studied this, the Small Business Administration, fewer than 20% of all small businesses have any type of plan. Again, you look at failure rates in small business it's more than 50%. And some judge it to be 75-80% of small businesses fail within five years. I think there's a connection between those two, that if a business does not have some type of plan, business plan in place, they’re at risk of failure.

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

There was a book that was written, you may be familiar with it. The book is called Netweaving. It takes a very different take that weaving suggests or ask the question, when I meet you for the first time, what can I do to help you? What in this short conversation, what could I learn? That would put me in a position where I could be a benefactor of yours? So maybe it's connecting you with someone within my network? Or maybe it's recommending a book? Or maybe it's inviting you to another event that might be advantageous, but it's just turning the table.

How do you stay in front of and nurture all of these relationships that you've created over time?

It was doing what I think a lot of people do and it was attending different networking events or the Chamber of Commerce, or an industry group in today's world or maybe using LinkedIn to just reach out to people. Rather than going to events. I began hosting my own events. And it started six, seven years ago, I began hosting a conference here in Atlanta. It's called the Small Business Matters conference. And I thought, wouldn't it be neat to have my own conference and I could invite people maybe who've never met, and they'll get a chance to meet people from this group, get to meet people from another group. And I'll bring in some speakers and just have a one-day event where instead of me going to try to find people, people are going to come to this event. And once a month, I host a networking lunch. And I invite people to come to lunch and I bring in a speaker.

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

One would be, I would want to be very strategic. I want to try to be as strategic as possible. Am I looking for a certain professional? Am I looking for attorneys? Am I looking for engineers? Am I looking for people older than me? Am I looking for people younger than me? I'd want to be very strategic about what that might look like in terms of growing my network. I'd want clarity around the return on investment. Am I doing this for more sales? Am I doing this to add value to my business? Am I doing this because I just want to enlarge my sphere of influence? But I think I want to be really clear about my rationale, my purpose for expanding the network.

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've been a prolific reader over the last decade. And I think back to my early 20s, that was not the case. And I have found that to be such an integral part of my life now in terms of learning that I would have been more mindful of reading and of learning. That's one. Two so when I was young, I just felt like so much had to be done alone by myself. And I didn't know that there was a vistage group. And if I had I'm not sure I would have joined it, or a peer group just didn't seem natural. Through my 20s, maybe into my early 30s, I began to understand the power of having peers and leveraging those peers. So I think I would have done that earlier. Also, if I were to go back to my early 20s, I would have started taking a month off a sabbatical sooner.

How to connect with Tim:




Apr 6, 2020

Meet Peter Yawitz

Peter Yawitz is a management communication consultant helping individuals and groups at global companies communicate more effectively. His website has videos, an ask-dad column, and a podcast, giving tons of practical and humorous advice on how to manage life at work. His book, Flip-Flops & Microwaved Fish: Navigating the Dos & Don’ts of Workplace Culture, is full of advice and humor for young professionals and anyone else whose questions are rarely answered in the workplace.

So let's talk about your book little bit. Why did you write it and who exactly is it for?

It's for young professionals entering the workforce, but it's also for anyone who feels a little bit disenfranchised, going into a work and feeling they don't fit in. I just found that over the years people would start asking me questions that they were not getting answered from the HR department or of any kind of orientation session. And these were just things that no one had ever told them. And it could be something simple about, well, how do I construct an email? Or what should I do in the subject line? Or how does my tone come across? But then it got a little bit deeper. And people would say things like, well, what happens if you're talking to somebody at work? And that person is totally hot? Like, how do you focus?

So let's talk about the young professionals right now. Gen Z is officially entering the workforce. How would you recommend they start building a network now that they're just starting out?

So the first thing I would say to people who are starting out is chill, just chill a minute. I mean, it's nice to develop a network, but it's not necessarily the first thing you have to do when you start a job. Start your job and learn to do your job well and develop a little bit of credibility about what you do. And then once you've done that, then try to look for people just to get to know and to let people know what you're doing.

I'm sure you've been leveraging the digital space a bit to grow your audience, what's been the most effective social medium for you?

I say the most effective thing is hiring someone to do it for me. That's been the most important thing I would say. So I would rather provide content and have someone tell me where to put it or how to design it. So I know that I'm doing it in the best way.

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

I've had a lot of success with my alumni network. Who from my college, who from my grad school is around? Who is doing something interesting or working for a company that I want to target that I should just contact. You never know where things are going to come from. I would just say, don't be afraid to be assertive about what you're looking for. And just be polite about how you're doing it. 

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

I don't want to be so self promotional, I guess I'm more self promotional now because I've got a book to sell. So I will have a MailChimp list. So if there is an Ask Dad that I find interesting, I'll email it to those people. I also post on LinkedIn and use other social media. If it's interesting, I try not to jam it down people's throats, but I figure I'm only going to do something if it's a topic that I think a general population might be interested in.

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

Definitely traditional. I think it's my generation. And I would rather have coffee with somebody and schedule an actual meeting because you get more done that way. But even if I'm trying to network with a junior person, or even let's say some of these young CEOs that I am trying to get on my podcasts, I will approach them first on email, but then I'd like to have a phone conversation. And if I can do something in person, I just find you develop relationships better. 

A lot of companies are really trying to embrace the work remote policies. So what is your opinion on that?

I think it's wonderful that companies are flexible about at home time. And I've had a lot of comments from people whose workplaces have changed from offices, to cubicles and now total open plans. I think the downside of a total virtual network is that you miss that human interaction of even the small talk or the water cooler talk or just to get people to really sense of what you can do besides just basic tasks.

Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting their network?

I would, again, reiterate never be shy about this, people like connecting into networks and especially if there's a shared experience or shared people that it sort of gives you the imprimatur of acceptability. And that could be that you work at a certain place, or you worked in a certain industry or you went to a certain school, there are always some kind of shared affinity groups.

How to connect with Peter:




Instagram, Twitter & YouTube: @someoneelsesdad


Apr 1, 2020

Meet Dr. Wayne Baker

Dr. Wayne Baker is the author of All You Have To Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success (Jan 14, 2020). He is the Robert P. Thome (“Toe-May”) Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, as well as Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations. Wayne is a co-founder and board member of Give and Take, Inc., which develops technologies based on the principles in his new book.

Why is asking for what you need such an important skill for success?

We found that people tend to be very generous at work and in their lives and they're very well regarded for that. Most people want to be helpful and will help when they can. But they don't ask for what they need. And because they don't ask, they don't get the inflow of all the resources you need to be successful. It could be knowledge, information, referrals, ideas, contacts, Any kind of resource that you need to be productive and to do well at work.

So why is it so difficult for people to ask for what they need?

There's a couple of reasons. One is that people are concerned or they're worried that they'll appear to be incompetent, weak that they can't do their jobs. Another very common obstacle is that people figure no one can help. Many, many times I've run different events and activities using the tools in my book, and people will take me aside and say, you know, I'm not going to ask for what I really need, because I know no one could help me. And I always tell them the same thing, which is to never know what people know, or who they know. Until you ask.

What can people and teams do to build social capital?

The most important thing is to give yourself permission to ask and to realize that asking is an essential part of the equation. So if everyone wanted to be a giver, and everyone wanted to help, nothing would happen. So what we found that in the workplace is that most people are willing to help. In fact, the studies there show up to 90% of the help that is given in the workplace is in response to a request, but most people don't ask, so therefore, nothing really happens. 

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

Well, I think the one I would have to relate goes back a number of years. When my wife and I were coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary, I said to her, you know, what would you like to do? She said, I want to be on Emerald Live in New York City to celebrate our anniversary. I was participating in the orientation program for all of our incoming MBA students here at the Ross School of Business. I said, you know, I'm gonna take my own medicine I'm gonna make a big request and I use the "smart criteria." Like five people came forward and said, one person said, you know, I know someone who's dating Emerald's daughter and I can make an introduction for you. We were connected.

As you continue to build and grow your network and community can you share how you stay in front of over best nurture these relationships?

There's a couple of things that are important to do. One is to stay in contact, but stay in contact in a meaningful way. Look for opportunities to share something of value. It's like a little investment. I just think it's part of the importance of building a network is that you want to be an investor, you want to help other people, you want to be generous. 

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

I would say it would be three parts Join. Give. Ask. So it'd be to
join a meaningful group. It could be join a LinkedIn group, or there's so many online communities. Then look for opportunities to give, you know, a few, almost every conversation, you can listen with that intention in mind. And then of course, whenever you need help, to ask for it whenever you need a resource to get your work done, to solve a problem, to ask for what your needs. So it's those three things to Join. Give. Ask.

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

It's kind of hard to answer because I think they each have their place. Traditional networking occurs in the daily grind of our lives where we interact with and meet people. And in those encounters, we can look for ways to help. And also ask when we have a need or goal we're trying to achieve. And then the digital networking. It's a small world now it really expands our whole universe. I think they both have their place and I I kind of look for more opportunities to use digital technology as a way of investing in your network and then asking when you need something.

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 it within the six degree?

I've always wanted to meet Bill Gates. And there are two people that I'm connected with on LinkedIn that I know know him. So that I guess would be two degrees of separation. 

Can you share with our listeners what book you're reading right now? Or maybe a podcast you're listening to?

So one is that I am re-reading, Give and Take by Adam Grant. Adam was one of our PhD students from about 10-12 years ago and he is just an incredible person who has done wonderful things out there in the world. I've learned a lot from him. And then the other side is that if I have a vice it's science fiction. So I'm currently reading The Lost Colony by A.G. Riddle. It's the third in a in a series.

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

I would say to become more active on LinkedIn. And to look for ways to find interesting things and share it or re-post it on LinkedIn. 

How to connect with Wayne:


Book Website:

Personal Website:

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:




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:





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.

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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, a Wayzata, MN-based search firm. He’s also an active blogger and partner of and,

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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