Tag Archives: networking

A Mixed Bag Monday

18 Feb
  • Baby Beez’ daycare is closed so I am working from home today and looking forward to a dinner out at the HBH with the fam tonight. Hello carbs! Good thing I’ve got a personal training appointment today.
  • We are in the process of doing all the things we need to do to get Baby Beez her passport for our vacation this summer.  Do you KNOW what a pain it is to get a passport for a minor? Getting a passport-appropriate photo of Baby Beez is also on my list for today. I have no idea how that’s going to go. It will likely end in tears.  (You try to get a toddler to stand still in front of a white screen and make a neutral face.)
  • I really want to go on vacation and have sunshine and no-snow. Now. Vacation however is many months away.  What do you do to get through the long winter?

bio_photo-There is no such thing as networking with the “right” people. Everyone is the right person to get to know. Don’t try to network “upwards,” move up, down, left, right, all around.

-It’s all about the follow up!  You’ve wasted your efforts meeting people if you don’t continue beyond the event.

-Send handwritten notes!  They are memorable and effective.  They are the best 46 cent investment!

No Name Players, SWAN Day and Taking Flight with @WePropelle

15 Jan

I’ve known about the awesome Propelle women’s networking happy hours for ages, but haven’t managed to make my way to one until last night. When I saw that the “guests of honor” for the happy hour were the No Name Players (Tressa Glover and Don DiGiulio), who are the driving force behind Pittsburgh’s SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day Celebration, I told myself it’s darn time I made it to that happy hour.
20130115-092221.jpg

Sandy and I had the awesome opportunity to be interviewed for this year’s SWAN Day, so I’m totally looking forward to see what art came from those interviews of us and other Pittsburgh women ages 9 through 65.  I wish I had some sort of artistic talent, but I really don’t.  I was thrilled that this project gave me the opportunity to be part of the artistic process, even without talent.

The No Name Players are part of a $2,000 challenge grant right now.  If they can raise $2,000, Martha Richards, the co-founder of SWAN Day has promised to match the funds.  You can contribute at the No Name Players Webpage!

The Propelle happy hour was great.  Even though it was a pretty large crowd, there was an opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves to the group.  And boy was this a patient group! Everyone was attentive and interested.  Introductions like that seem like such a minor thing, but there’s no way I would have made my way around the room to learn about everyone otherwise. 

I also loved how the introductions facilitated their own conversations.  You may not realize this, but I am painfully shy.  If I’m in a group of people I already know and am comfortable with, I’m loud and outgoing.  But a room full of people I don’t know is my personal hell.  Going into a networking event takes a lot of preparation and thought for me, because I am so nervous about it.  I think about thigs like “what kinds of questions should I ask people?”  “what should I do to get into a conversation, if it feels like people are already occupied and chatting?” “what do I need to do to make sure that I move around the room and meet people, instead of meeting one person, getting comfortable chatting with them, and then making them crazy because I follow them around all night?”    The introductions made it so easy for me to identify people I had things in common with, and strike up conversations on those topics. 

Propelle is primarily focused on women entrepreneurs, but they welcome you just as graciously if you aren’t in charge of your own business. I think it’s fair to say that Propelle wants to see women succeed in all walks of business, and be independent and strong.  They are really stepping up their game this year with a lot more interactive workshops and events.  I can’t wait to see what they have in store!

Reader Assignment: Go have fun in Pgh!

11 Nov

This coming week is one of those weeks where there is a TON of fun stuff going on.  As luck would have it, I’m going to be out of town doing lawyer things for most of the next week, so I am going to miss it.  But if I WERE in Pittsburgh, this would be the stuff I would be doing:

On Tuesday, Propelle (Helping Women Entrepreneurs Take Flight) is having their one year anniversary networking happy hour!  I’ve gotten to know Emily through the BlogMob events we’ve been co-hosting, and I have been really impressed by all the awesome things that Propelle is doing for women business owners in Pittsburgh. Propelle provides a unique and much-needed function for women in Pittsburgh, and this special birthday is cause to celebrate!

On Wednesday, Neil Gaiman is speaking at the Carnegie Music Hall (Oakland) as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Series.  Sandman? Stardust? American Gods? Coraline? Anansi Boys? Excellent. General Admission tickets start at just $15.

On Thursday, Pittsburgh twitterers are getting together for a monthly TweetUp at the Porch at Schenley Plaza!  Good people, good food, and drink specials! What’s not to like?

And finally, on Friday, it is Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh.  I’ve been living here for 12 years, and shamefully, I’ve only made it to Light Up Night once.  Baby Beez would love all the lights and festivities, but she’ll have to wait til next year.  Light Up Night marks the season opening of the PPG Place skating rink, maybe this year will be the year I finally get around to getting a lunchtime ice skating season pass!

Readers, please go out and have FUN in the city this week, there is so much to do! Tell me all about your adventures!
pittsburgh

40 Before 40: Call for Ideas

25 Oct

My 30 before 30 list will be drawing to a close in less than a month.  I have accomplished many of the things on the list.  There are a few I won’t get around to, but I’m not worried about it.  The point was to get myself to get around to actually DOING things I have been wanting to do.  Stressing myself over crossing everything off a to-do list isn’t the way to go.

Once I hit the big 3-0, I’m going to start on a 40 before 40.  I will probably carry over a couple unfinished things from my 30 list (see: go for hot air balloon ride).  But since I’ll have 10 years to work on my 40 before 40 list, I plan to have several more grand goals.  One goal I have in mind is to hike up to Macchu Pichu with Mountain Lodges of Peru (this will also involve me learning how to hike, and learning to LIKE hiking, which are no small feats for me).  There will probably be several travel goals on there, and goals to take certain kinds of classes (I’d love to take some cooking classes, particularly a knife skills class).  Maybe I’d even like to set a goal of learning something other than just the most rudimentary photography skills.  Of course I will also set some goals related to my career, whether it involves publishing articles or benchmarks on building my own client base.

What Would You Have on your 40 Before 40 list?

Completely Gratuitous Photo of my Kid Helping with the Shopping. Because She is Cute.

Social Media Power Practices for the Young Lawyer Set

18 Oct

My latest article for the Legal Intelligencer was published today: Social Media Power Practices for the Young Lawyer Set.

If you have a subscription to the Legal Intelligencer, the article is available online and in the print edition.

But you can also read it right here!

Continue reading

30 Before 30: Personal Style, a day of fashion at #PghStyleSummit by @WePropelle

15 Oct

My 30 Before 30 goal to “Develop an Identifiable ‘Personal Style'” is poorly stated. Personal style is a continuing adventure, not a stand-alone destination. The ladies of Propelle got me well on my way at this weekend’s Style Summit. The Style Summit brought together fashion bloggers, photographers, stylists, beauticians, and all kinds of other stylish people for an afternoon of trading tips and ideas.

20121015-213051.jpg

I was excited to have a chat with Terra McBride of Stylish White Female. I’ve been reading her blog for quite a while, and she always creates such unexpected and gorgeous combinations. We talked about how she finds inspiration for her color, texture, and fabric combinations. We also chatted about how she finds energy to put herself together so nicely, when just chasing around a little one takes SO MUCH energy. As with anything that is important, you just up and do it. Fashion is important to her, so she prioritizes it.

20121015-213030.jpg

Mandy Fierens of The Curvy Blogger wows the crowd

I really enjoyed listening to to the talks by personal stylist Rachel Valozzi. I’ve heard of personal styling services, but I didn’t know there was anyone in Pittsburgh who offers them! I’ve been working hard to lose the my-kid-isn’t-a-baby-anymore weight. As part of this, I’m hoping that I’ll need a wardrobe overhaul. I’ve promised myself that if I hit my goal weight (and yes, it may take a while), I’m setting up some quality time with a personal stylist to get my look in order.

I also had a hairstyle consultation and a chair massage with the ladies of Tula Organic Salon. They are MAGIC! The chair massage was amazingly relaxing and much too short. Tula is an Aveda Salon, but it’s prices are extremely reasonable. I’ve already got an appointment set for Sunday, yippee!

20121015-213039.jpg

Julie O’Boyle of Orchid Grey shares her insight

Kiya Tomlin also addressed the crowd as a special guest.  She talked about her custom dress business, and gave styling tips specific to looking polished and professional (my favorite adjectives when it comes to clothing choices!).  It was nice to hear that some of the more fashion-conservative principles I value about workplace attire aren’t entirely outmoded.

Propelle did a phenomenal job of putting together this exceptional event. It was really fun to talk to the bloggers I’ve been reading online, and to see the creative way people assemble their outfits. I’m so risk averse. My general fashion approach is an all-black outfit with some piece of a stand-out color. Sometimes I’ll throw a pattern in there, or sometimes I’ll go with brown instead of black. But when it comes to mixing together colors or patterns or whatever, I feel lost and terrified mixing things together. The women at Style Summit inspired me to experiment a little and mix things up. After all, it’s just fashion! What’s the worst that could happen? I look funny for a day. And that’s a livable consequence.

Weekend ahoy!

12 Oct

You know those weekends where it seems like every organization and entity has something going on, and you want to attend EVERYTHING!  I have those a lot.  This weekend is especially nutty.  I’m looking at my weekend plans, and I’m kind of tired already.  But these are all GREAT things I will be doing, so it will be a busy weekend but a fun one!

This afternoon kicks off with the announcement of BAR EXAM RESULTS! I am so nervous and excited for all my friends who took the PA bar exam this year! Here’s to hoping that you’ll spend the afternoon sipping champagne in joy (and if not, at least tip a few back in sorrow).

This evening is the Alumni Reception for my 5 year law school reunion! 5 years! Can you believe it! Where did the time go?

HAIL TO PITT!

Tomorrow brings the much anticipated Propelle Style Summit

I’m a little nervous about picking out an outfit…what in my closet could possibly be cool enough to wear to a gathering of fashionistas?

Saturday also brings the Annual Meeting for the East End Food Co-Op.  If you’re a Co-Op member, please be sure to attend! Election results for the Board of Directors will be announced (you can vote at the meeting, if you haven’t voted yet), and they’ll be giving updates on the state of the Co-op and its plans for the upcoming year.

On Sunday, Mr. Beez and I will be venturing to the Pittsburgh Opera for Rigoletto.  Although I’m a bit of an opera nut, I’ve never seen Rigoletto before.  It has gotten rave reviews, so I’m excited for an afternoon of music and drama!

What does your weekend have in store?

 

Pennsylvania Conference for Women Recap #PennWomen .@PennWomen

7 Oct

The Pennsylvania Conference for Women was exactly the shot in the arm of motivation and inspiration that I needed.  At PennWomen, amazing, powerful and INSPIRATIONAL women shared their insight for making the most out of your career and your life. This conference was all CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT. It was quite a lot to be packed into one day, and far too much for me to recap effectively in a blog post.

20121007-214726.jpg

The morning kicked off with Charlotte Beers, advertising executive powerhouse and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She shared the story of her ascent to success, and explained that in the business world, women need to focus not on acting “womanly” but instead focus on being “leaderly.” That, yes, there are differences in how women and men perceive and do things, but for career success, a woman should approach challenges from a perspective of leadership and fearlessness. I know a number of the keynote speakers were recorded, and I really hope that Charlotte’s talk is shared on the website, because it was phenomenally inspirational.

20121007-214735.jpg

Cheryl Strayed sharing her amazing story, explored more fully in her memoir “Wild”

I also loved the panel discussion between Alexis Sclamberg, Trenesa Danuser, Brenda Dennis and Lauren Berger about defining “success” for yourself. They discussed how success is a personalized definition, and steps that they have taken to reach their career goals. Trenesa, an executive with Estee Lauder, gave some phenomenal insight into how to balance family with a high-powered position that requires frequent international travel. My biggest takeaway from that panel was when Alexis shared that she has attended numerous conferences full of super-power executive women, and even they, at the highest rungs of business, don’t feel like they have made it to success. Those words made me realize how success can’t be an end goal, it has to be a process or a state of being.

20121007-214744.jpg

Cathie Black and Emily Bennington’s discussion on “Executive Presence” was also amazing. Cathie emphasized the importance of appearance– that you must look the way you want to be treated. If you want to be treated like a professional, you must dress like a professional. This is an issue I’ve been working on lately. I have a terrible habit of picking out my outfits in the morning when I am exhausted, and the only thing I want to wear is yoga pants and a hoodie. Although I manage to pick out passable attire, it’s not nearly as polished as the presence I would like to project. I’m making a habit of keeping my nails polished, and I need to pick out my outfits before I go to bed at night, when my energy is (marginally) higher. Cathie emphasized that when things get tough, put on some lipstick, because that’s when people are going to be watching. She also pointed out that women have a “gratitude problem.” I know that I am completely guilty of this. Women who ascend to a new position or meet a goal get wrapped up in being so grateful for getting there that they stunt their forward progress. Men, however, tend to meet that goal and immediately ask “ok, what’s next?” As women, we need to work on always looking forward, and not letting ourselves fall behind by getting so wrapped up in reaching the previous goal.

20121007-214802.jpg

Tory Johnson and Barbara Bradley Baekgaard chat about Baekgaard’s founding of the Vera Bradley company.

I felt like I had so much more in common with the women at this conference than the women at BlogHer. PennWomen is a career focused conference, and I’m definitely a career focused person. I definitely will attend next year (and the year after and the year after). The only downside I saw to the conference was that there was so much amazing content, it was hard to find the time to really get to talk with people. I think this conference would really benefit by a short speed networking session in the morning, where we can all have an opportunity to quickly meet people and exchange cards. The short period before the opening keynotes was intended for networking, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it remarkably intimidating to go into a room full of literally thousands of people and just start chatting it up. Speed networking would be awesome.

20121007-214754.jpg

This conference is an amazing experience, and it would be equally beneficial for men as for women. It is a jam-packed day, but it will motivate and inspire you like nothing else. On my drive home, I was full of energy and ready to go! I was ready to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!! Of course when my alarm went off the following morning, the energy had faded, but a number of the meaningful takeaways continue to bounce around in my head.

Pennsylvania Conference for Women

2 Oct

I just got back home from the Pennsylvania Conference for Women– what an AMAZING experience!  I’ll have more to say once I’ve had a few minutes to collect my thoughts, but for now suffice it to say that in comparison to the BlogHer conference when I felt like I didn’t quite “fit in,” the women at the Penn Women conference are exactly the kind of women I seek to surround myself with.  These women are intelligent, ambitious and driven.  They take their careers seriously, and strive to be leaders and mentors. What an inspiration!

The biggest treat of the day was Sonia Sanchez sharing her poetry.  Her poetry stars as a story, then the words surround you, and you see every word she speaks.  Her art is so beautiful.

These are the gems of wisdom I collected today:

  • You sell yourself first, your company second, and your product third.
  • Your failures may be precisely what you need in order for everything else to go right.
  • Failure is the stepping stone to success.
  • Make the best first impression, you do not have an opportunity to make a good second impression.
  • Carry yourself like you know where you’re going.
  • Guard your reputation, it is your life.
  • One of the gifts of a bad economy is that we are forced to be really creative.
  • What happens to our best work in the world really isn’t up to us.
  • You have that moment where you have a weight to lift that is unbearable. And in that moment, you have two decisions: You either lift it, or you don’t.
  • Learn to speak clearly, memorably, and persuasively.
  • Leadership is having the quality of persuading others to follow you.
  • You are not the same person at work as you are at home. Accept that and be liberated.

Networking/business building and breaking out of my shell

10 Apr

I’m a fifth year associate, soon to be sixth year (yeesh, where does the time go!!), so business development has moved from “something to keep in my mind to work on in the future” to “a key issue to work on now.”  Business development, especially when you’re a litigator, is not something you can do with immediate results.  When I was doing personal injury work, I was starting to get the hang of it– in PI, you build relationships with other lawyers, and they refer you cases.  With commercial litigation work, however, you are seeking very different clients, and since litigation needs are often unpredictable and often not immediate, the key (from what I have been told at least) is to build relationships with people, so that if they have a need in the future, they will keep you in mind.  Of course, this is all stuff I’ve been told.  When it comes to business development, I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  If I had a book of business, I could speak with authority.  I don’t.  I’m throwing ideas out here of things I plan to do, with the hope of something working out.

I’ve been up to my ears in speaking and publishing opportunities– I published an article recently in the Legal Intelligencer, I’ve been doing periodic e-blasts on commercial litigation for my firm, I presented to our Managed Care group yesterday about Out of Network Reimbursement litigation, and I’ll be speaking to reporters at the Pittsburgh Business Times this week about libel law and social media. I’ve got writing and speaking covered, what I need to work on is connecting with people.

I’ve identified three things to work on over the summer:

1.  Polish my “Elevator Speech.”  More like compose my elevator speech.  When asked what I do, I go on a long ramble about commercial disputes, distribution agreements, managed care, and director and officer litigation.  The tough thing for an elevator speech for me is that litigation is more of a skill than a subject area, and I litigate in a wide variety of subject areas.  It’s tough to condense the broad range of things I work on into a 30 second speech.  Difficult, but not impossible, and it’s important that I pin it down.

2. Change my perspective.  I hate asking other people for favors, but I love helping other people out.  I need to stop thinking about business building as asking others to do something for me (asking them to give me their business), and I need to start thinking about business building as me doing something for them (helping them out in whatever legal conundrum they face).  This change in perspective should help me get over the dreaded hurdle of “the ask.”  It’s not an ask, it’s an offer.

3.  Introduce myself, and ask questions.  I dread networking happy hours.  I hate walking into a room of people I don’t know and having to introduce myself.  I have the terrible habit of identifying the one or two people I know in the room, and clinging onto them for dear life.  That works fine for hanging out with your friends, but doesn’t help at all when I’m attending a networking event with the goal of networking.  Summer is a wonderful time in Pittsburgh for parties and events.  I’m already planning to attend Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants Party and the CFF Brewer’s Ball, and I’m sure many other fun events will pop up as well. My goal is to meet at least one new person (and not in that fleeting “hi how are you way,” I’m talking about meeting and following up later) at each event I attend.