Business networking, Career Women, Christine Brown Quinn, Female Capitalist, I owe you, Karma Networking, networking, Networking Karma, Women in Business, You owe me
Nugget of wisdom handed down by Christine Brown-Quinn, The Female Capitalist™. I met Christine via the Georgetown network-she participated in a Women in Business Networking Event the UK Alumni Club was organizing. In December of last year we got to know each other over coffee near St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City (for those non-Londoners, that is the financial district of London). It was very interesting to learn about Christine’s background-she used to work in International Finance, but last year decided to start her own corporate consulting firm. She offers workshops, one-on-one coaching as well as motivational speaking, and is committed to helping organizations reap the full benefits of female talent as well as helping professional women achieve career-family success. Christine was one of five panelists at the Women’s Networking Event, held on February 2011.
For my first post, I had to start with the obvious one, the one you’re always hearing about: networking!
I know, I know, everyone is always talking about this one, especially in business school. Christine, however, framed it in a way that makes a whole lot of sense:
Don’t see networking as a burden. It is a two-way street: I refer you and that helps me.
So, what Christine is telling us is….well, that networking works like karma.
That’s bloody brilliant!
Imagine it this way: you have two drawers, one to store I owe U’s and another one to store U owe me’s. The younger we are, the more I owe U’s we tend to accumulate, simply because we are early in our careers and don’t have much power or influence yet. The higher up we get, the more U owe me’s you accrue.
Let’s say you are interested in applying for job at a certain company. You happen to meet someone who works there (at a networking event, at a party, waiting in line for coffee…wherever). You ask to meet them for an informal chat so you can learn more about the company and perhaps make some more contacts. By meeting with you and sharing their knowledge, this person is taking out an I owe U from his/her drawer and transferring it to yours. The inverse applies to your U owe me drawer: you’re taking one out and moving it to his/her drawer.
Bottom line: What goes around comes around.
If you think of it that way, then networking might not seem like such a burdensome task but more like you’re actually doing a future favor for someone else.
Sarah (Ingalls) Sartori said:
I completely agree with this. When I first started out I had a number of mentors that helped me figure out what to do next, who to talk to, how to find the right information about a job or career prospective, and ultimately how to FIGURE OUT (and ultimately DO) what I “wanted” to do. Now I am that mentor. I help others with the same questions. Ultimately, this may help me it may not. But I get satisfaction out of paying forward what I learned early on. And you never know: what you do to help others might ultimately help you one day as well in another networking situation.
Great job, Alexa! 🙂
Sarah (Ingalls) Sartori
Miss Maven Muse said:
Isn’t it funny to now be sitting on the other side? Thanks for the comments Sarah. I also think it’s immensely satisfying to help others in much the same way I was helped previously.
Kacey Bess said:
Kudos to you for starting your blog. Sounds like a great topic. Have you caught up with any American Airlines people lately?
Miss Maven Muse said:
Thanks Kacey! I have actually been in touch with a few of them…there’s a big office here in London (well, on the outskirts of it)
Excellent analysis on the concept of networking! It’s all about building lasting relationships with individuals who come across your life. Everyone is a door to a future opportunity and, in turn, you are a door of opportunity to everyone!
Here’s a tip for you to implement. It worked for me when I began to seriously network outside of my job at the State Department in Washington, DC. I came up with the idea of organizing a monthly happy hour, which I called “The Worlds Collide” Happy Hour.
Essentially, I brought together all my social circles of friends and contacts for a once-a-month happy hour in some of DC’s trendiest bars. These social circles included people who I knew personally from within my Catholic mafia network, my politico wanna-bees (read Hill staffers), my Euro-trash (World Bank, IMF, etc), White-trash posse and, of course, the funnest group of all, la latinada (DC’s Latino in-crowd).
As a side note, I must confess that another major incentive for me to put this group together was to improve my dating scene. And while I did improve the love lives of others, my love life was a miserable failure. Why? Because with so many prospects, I simply could not keep my eye on the prize and would end up hearing that killer phrase at the end of each happy hour which all guys dread from the ladies: “I like you more as a friend.” I started to feel like I was the male version of Bridget Jones. Bummer!
Nevertheless, I soon came to realize that I had a number of friends from different social scenes which were not connected to each other. Hence the name of this informal group of World’s Collide.
Every month I would go to a bar and ask to speak to the manager and told him that I could bring him 50 to 100 possible new patrons. How can they say no to hosting that many people? So via email (this is of course pre-social networking) I would send out an email blast to my contacts to them where I would be hosting the next happy hour.
Before you I knew it I had gathered a rather a motley crue of amazing young professionals who were a few degrees away from me (think LinkedIn). Thanks to these contacts, I was able to find a number of job leads that actually led me to my successful career as Hill staffer who in the end has worked directly for over 24 Members of Congress.
So, if it worked for me, why not give it a try and see what happens?
Miss Maven Muse said:
Octavio, gracias, you’ve just handed down another nugget of wisdom for me to write about!
Pingback: Covert Networking… « Maven Musings
Pingback: Networking is misunderstood… « Maven Musings