#CollectiveWisdom: Say Yes. Respond. Act. + Maureen Kennedy

Maureen Kennedy is a brand and interactive marketing leader and proud risk-taker. She is also a current member of The Collective. You can learn more about her via LinkedIn.Maureen Kennedy Headshot

Dateline: Chicago.  August 15.

Off the SidelinesThe Young Feminist Conference

@otschicago #YFC2016 #OTSCHICAGO

Last week I said YES! to the pursuit of an opportunity to attend a conference. The conference was aligned with my values. I knew one other person that would be attending. Others were attending that I had identified as people to connect with.

The conference was full: no matter! I found a way and got on the list.

Then. . . I started talking to myself.

UGH!  Another networking opportunity.”

I dread the prospect. We’ve all been there. You do the pre-work checking out the subject matter, who’s speaking, plenty of business cards, sincere smile in place, small-talk ready, blah blah blah.

I wanted a different approach.

So my critical question during the The Collective last week was: “What has worked best for you in networking situations?”

The answers: Have an agenda, but be open. . . align mission with a business goal. Look for inspirations. Be available. Others’ passion will guide you. Stay tuned in to your energy. Energy will feed you. When you make the connection: Follow-up – right away. Tweet. Retweet. Follow. Demonstrate passion, sincerity.

Armed with great advice I was ready to RESPOND!

With my mind open and authentic self at the ready I arrived at #YFC2016. Getting off the elevator, I immediately heard my name called out in greeting by the key organizer of the conference AND the main person I wanted to connect with. I’m convinced this would not have happened without a little pre-work. A little pre-work goes a long way.

Throughout the morning I met incredible women doing incredible work. I asked for and scheduled a meeting with Ce Cole Dillon the co-founder of Student Loan 411, LLC, a recent startup providing a unique solution to student loan debt. RESPOND.

I reconnected with a former colleague I hadn’t seen in more than 10 years. YES! Who knew?

The action is ongoing even days later. I’ve connected through emails, LinkedIn, following, liking, retweeting. I am creating opportunity and “networking” differently, with a focus on ACT.

The next big ACT is getting on the calendar of Cook County Commissioner, 10th District and Off the Sidelines Founder, Bridget Gainer, about her passion around re-booting our neighborhoods and mine for reclaiming used spaces connect.

I’m on a roll. My new mantra is:  Passion will guide you. Energy will feed you.