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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stepping Out


One of my goals this year was to network more within the Triangle. I'm not sure exactly what I was looking for or knew how I wanted to approach it, but I knew I had to do it. Sure, I know tons of people within my industry, whether it is store owners, managers, employees, designers, make up artists and the many other people I run into or work with frequently. But networking outside of your industry and your comfort zone is the key to broadening your business opportunities. No kidding, huh? 

My networking search started with Meet Up, the online presence for every kind of networking groups for every interest possible. Whether it is business or social, there is a group getting together at all days and times. Somehow, I couldn't get in the rhythm of a group. I discovered that my preference is to feel the connection, so my search started me to talking to others to see what they doing. 

Through my friend Jen Bradshaw, the director of Shop Local, she gave me the name of a group of women called She's Connected. Locally, it's run by realtor Ashley Gronewald from Regan and Company. The group  meets twice a month at Piebirds, a great downtown eatery. The times are convenient for me and fit in my often busy schedule. Each meeting, Ashley discusses some sort of business strategy and then we move into brief small group discussions. The two I have attended has offered up some food for thought for me. It is always about then implementing those concepts. The goal of the group is to obviously connect to one another and refer to each other's businesses. Ashley herself is a very impressive young businesswoman. The verdict is still out for me as to whether this is the group I want to join, but I have met some great women so far. While working on my decision, I did a social event called Suzanne's Secret Style Solutions at Ashley's home. Members of She's Connected and a few other guests were invited to bring three garments that are a fashion challenge for them in some way. Whether it is not knowing what garment to wear with it, if the style actually works for them, or how to wear it differently, I offered my advice and solutions. Between the nibbles, the wine, and the relaxing environment, everyone left with a little more fashion knowledge. It was a nice group of gals. 

I have also visited with a BNI group in Durham. Again, nice group, this time predominantly male. It's a large and very active group that makes sure there are enough people to talk to and network with by stating as a part of membership you need to send someone in your place if you cannot attend. I suspect the policy keeps the group fresh and provides many opportunities to meet new people. 

In the next week or so, I will continue my hunt and visit with other networking groups in between writing my Wake Living column, getting my book published, my client work, doing the photo shoot for my book, and actually having a personal life. I'm finding truth in the statement that networking is vital to help grow and develop new contacts in any industry, and it just takes work to figure out your best match. In the meantime, if you have or know a group that would benefit from having me do a short session for items in your closet that are a challenge, feel free to send me an email

1 comment :

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