Do you want to know a secret about me? I have a love/hate relationship with networking events. I love the snacks, the drinks, meeting new people, discovering different professions, and all that jazz. But I also hate them! Not so much the events themselves, but the nerves they give me! I get so nervous just thinking about meeting new people and having to introduce myself and what I do. I know what you’re thinking. “Lisa, how do you expect to grow if you don’t put yourself out there?” Or “You have a blog and podcast because you love to talk, how this makes you nervous?” I know, it makes no logical sense, but putting myself out there to a group of possible peers makes me so nervous it makes me sick. But still, I suck it up and go to the events.
I truly believe that the nervousness I feel is because I know I’m doing the right thing. I’m opening myself to new people and opportunities, so of course, it’s scary. But growing is supposed to be scary; it is supposed to make you uncomfortable. That’s why this year, I promised myself I would attend as many networking events, conferences, and meetups as possible.
So when my mentor sent me the information for the Women in Media networking event, I signed up right then and there. The WIM Global: A New Year’s Media Mixer was no regular networking event. This felt like a professional retreat! I’ve never attended anything like this. I won’t walk you through the entire event because I could go on for hours. From start to finish, it was phenomenal. It was the first time in recent memory that I was in a room that was brimming to the top with pure magic. There is no other way to describe it. So many women of color, from different walks of life, doing the damn thing! From the event organizers, the speakers, the vendors, and the guest in attendance, everyone was just shinning. It was also intimate enough that you felt really close to everyone, and in no way out of place. I felt so empowered just being there with all these amazing women and also felt like nothing I wanted was out of my reach.
I attended with my close friend Taliah, of Taliah Vibes, and was so happy to be there with someone I knew. While the point is to meet new people (which we both did,) it is great to have someone with you to compare notes with, and afterward, recount what you learned. We spent the hour drive back home with no music on, just talking about our favorite parts of the night, and what we will be applying to our own businesses and personal lives.
I wish I could have recorded the entire thing because there was so much great information and advice! But even if I could have, it wouldn’t have captured the essence of it all. Instead, I have compiled for you some of my favorite quotes/advice from the night.
“When someone gives you a seat at the table, don’t make them regret it.”
This gem came from Danielle Jeter, who is the founder and president of Women In Media, also known as WIM. In her speech, Danielle was giving a shout out to her mentors, those who have helped her, and had given her opportunities she would not have had otherwise. She advised us to be present and confident when we receive those opportunities and to make those who offered it to us proud. That someone believed in you, so it is up to you to show everyone else what that person saw in you.
“If you built it once, you can build it again”
This was another great tidbit Danielle shared with us. She mentioned how at one point she had to rebuild WIM and how she didn’t give up. You already know the formula, so you can definitely do it again and again.
“Time for yourself (self- care) doesn’t have to be all-day thing, it can be a few minutes of your day”
During the Q&A portion, someone asked about how the speakers maintain a work-life balance. Aundrea Cline-Thomas, an NBC Philadelphia reporter, shared with us that taking care of yourself can’t always be an all-day event. Sometimes you have to utilize the time you have. Whether its five minutes or an hour, you have to make the time.
I was able to ask a question during the Q&A, so I asked Mina Say What and Bex On Air what someone like me, who has created a podcast, can possibly do to get into the radio industry. Their answers backed up the conclusion that I already had that the radio industry might not be the career path for me. However, the advice they gave was still very useful and I was very appreciative of it.
“Don’t just network, make relationships”
Rebekah, known as Bex On Air from Today’s 96.5, advised us that we shouldn’t just be networking but building relationships instead. Those relationships can make a difference.
“Reach out to people”
Mina Say What, who is now on FOX29, advised me to reach out to people! She said she always takes the time to check her DMs or email, so others might too. She said to be reasonable, but to offer to come in and shadow someone if available or sit in on a segment. She also advised that if someone is willing to work with you, be grateful and express that to the person giving you the opportunity.
“Make your own path, don’t think you need to go the ‘traditional’ route”
After my question was answered by Mina and Bex, the floor opened up for another person to ask a question. Brittney Shipp, NBC10 meteorologist, and author of The Meteorologist in Me, answered that new question, and then she returned to my question about pursuing a career in radio. She told me to not feel like I need to go the traditional route. “You already have your own podcast so you can stay doing that and keep growing.” She also shared with us her journey of publishing her first children’s book, with no prior experience in book publishing and stressed that sometimes, you need to do it yourself and on your terms.
After the event was over, I made it a point to go speak to her and thank her again for coming back to my question after the moment had passed. I told her that it meant a lot to me that she did that, and we spoke more in-depth about the pros and cons of pursuing my passion in the traditional route vs doing my own thing. She was so friendly and approachable, I felt like I was talking to an older sister. The conversation we had felt like a sign from the universe that I’m on the right path and to continue what I’m doing.
Overall, this event was such a great way to keep the momentum of the new year going! I’m so glad I attended and am looking forward to the next event. I made so many new connections. And if you have any great memories or experiences from a networking event, share that in the comments!
Featured Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/alcohol-beverage-bow-celebrate-261460/
Other pictures: Taken by Lisa De La Cruz