Networking has become a dirty word. It conjures up images of after-hours events with cheap wine, mozzarella balls and hummus, business people exchanging cards and the odd keynote speaker who is either directly or surreptitiously selling their wares.
IIBN member Kelly Hoey has a different take on how networking should work and be leveraged to your advantage and her book 'Build Your Dream Network' was published earlier this year.
Another IIBN NY member, Susan O'Brien, founder of Smigin, has lived the advice that Hoey gives in the book and the two together tell an interesting story of the true possibilities of non-random acts of networking. Here's how this real-life role play came about and how it impacted both of these IIBN members's professional careers:
O'Brien first met Hoey several years ago at a typical industry networking event in San Francisco. They exchanged information and as both are believers in the power of your network and the benefits it can wield, they were determined to keep in touch - one as investor and the other as founder.
They met a second time about a year later and O'Brien shared some information about her then startup Smigin and the fact that they were actively fundraising. Hoey was intrigued and a conversation ensued that ultimately led to her investing in Smigin's Angel round.
Having gotten to know a little more about each other, O'Brien discovered that Hoey had some Irish heritage and introduced her to the IIBN network. Soon thereafter she invited her to speak at the IIBN NY conference in 2014 to share her knowledge and insight into how to shrug off the shackles of traditional networking and go about surrounding yourself with powerful people who can help.
Shortly thereafter, in 2015, IIBN NY co-chairs Mary McEvoy and Susan O'Brien founded the LEAP program for young women and tapped their own networks for successful women willing to devote some time to the program on a pro bono basis, one of whom was Kelly Hoey who became an advisor to LEAP. Hoey subsequently found herself beginning to plan her promotional book tour and would need help getting in front of audiences to expand the reach of her personal network, and get the word out about her new book.
IIBN NY knew they could help and so partnered with the Dept. Foreign Affairs earlier this month and held a hugely successful 'First Friday Breakfast' event with Hoey interviewed by IIBN board member Mary Ann Pierce, thus helping to grow the potential audience for this networking expert and her new book.
This is just one thread in a string of personal and professional connections and commonalities between two IIBN members. How they each stitched it together to benefit their own professional goals and those of the IIBN is testament to the power of real-life networking and actively looking to pay it forward and support one and other. That's how networking can, and is supposed, to work. That's what Kelly Hoey talks about in her book. And that's part of the raison d'être of the IIBN.
See you at the next IIBN event - no hummus in sight.