Networking As™ Empowerment

by Megan Burke Roudebush

with

Stephanie Lewis, Shannon Tipton, Amanda Greenspon, William Munck, Jenny Martinez, Michael McCabe, Claudine Hollack

This August edition of Networking As™ focuses on Networking As™ Empowerment.  That is the inspiring, life-altering things that happen when people experience empowerment as a result of having strong and supportive networks. This issue was specifically inspired by the upcoming S.H.E. Summit Dallas conference taking place on August 29, 2019 and law firm Munck Wilson Mandala (MWM)’s empowering effort to bring this conference to Dallas last year and to bring it back this year. We spoke to the powerhouse team at MWM responsible for pulling off this fantastic conference (Shannon Tipton and Stephanie Lewis), several MWM attorneys who are proud to be part of a law firm that so strongly believes in the importance of empowerment (William Munck, Amanda Greenspon, Jenny Martinez, Michael McCabe) and to an Audit Partner at Deloitte (Claudine Hollack) who is traveling from Chicago to Dallas to attend the conference because she so strongly believes in S.H.E. Summit Dallas’ mission to be an empowerment event aimed at cultivating women and men leaders.

Networking As™ Empowerment

by Megan Burke Roudebush

with

Stephanie Lewis, Shannon Tipton, Amanda Greenspon, William Munck, Jenny Martinez, Michael McCabe, Claudine Hollack

This August edition of Networking As™ focuses on Networking As™ Empowerment.  That is the inspiring, life-altering things that happen when people experience empowerment as a result of having strong and supportive networks. This issue was specifically inspired by the upcoming S.H.E. Summit Dallas conference taking place on August 29, 2019 and law firm Munck Wilson Mandala (MWM)’s empowering effort to bring this conference to Dallas last year and to bring it back this year. We spoke to the powerhouse team at MWM responsible for pulling off this fantastic conference (Shannon Tipton and Stephanie Lewis), several MWM attorneys who are proud to be part of a law firm that so strongly believes in the importance of empowerment (William Munck, Amanda Greenspon, Jenny Martinez, Michael McCabe) and to an Audit Partner at Deloitte (Claudine Hollack) who is traveling from Chicago to Dallas to attend the conference because she so strongly believes in S.H.E. Summit Dallas’ mission to be an empowerment event aimed at cultivating women and men leaders.

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Shannon Tipton

Public Relations Director, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Stephanie Lewis

Marketing Manager, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Shannon Tipton

Public Relations Director, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Stephanie Lewis

Marketing Manager, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Shannon Tipton

Public Relations Director, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Stephanie Lewis

Marketing Manager, Munck Wilson Mandala

Shannon Tipton is the PR Director at Munck Wilson Mandala and a key planner of S.H.E. Summit Dallas for the second year in a row.  She leads public relations, marketing, and business development strategies with a focus on strengthening the firm brand in new markets, connecting with current and new clients, enhancing the firm’s social media platforms, and implementing results driven business development strategies.

As the marketing manager at Munck Wilson Mandala and a principal planner of S.H.E. Summit Dallas, Stephanie Lewis believes strongly in driving connections and harnessing the power of purpose, culture and performance. She leads marketing, communication and business development efforts, bringing 15+ years of marketing, public relations, client services and culture development experience.

How do you define networking?

SL: I define networking as connecting and engaging with those that you already know or those interested in what sparks you. Stepping outside your comfort zone, making yourself vulnerable, being willing to see the void where you can be of assistance to others, and then seeing where you can help too. It is a give and take.

ST: Networking is building connections that benefit your life…and your professional career.

What is S.H.E. Summit Dallas?

ST: S.H.E. Summit Dallas is a program that connects people who want to see positive change in corporate America through leadership. S.H.E. Summit is a program focused on building conversations and connecting people who believe that corporate America would benefit from more women leaders. The conference is about turning good intentions into concrete actions.

SL: S.H.E. Summit Dallas is a leadership program/experience designed to connect, educate and activate professionals to take steps to make concrete changes from where they are within their organizations and recognizing that the more diverse people in the room that there are, the better our ideas can be.

How, if at all, has networking been part of your experience working on S.H.E.?

SL: Networking has been the entire thing. If it had not been for keepwith® coming out to light the fire and teach our attorneys and team how to network, the inaugural S.H.E. Summit and in turn, this year’s second S.H.E. Summit effort would not be such a success.

ST: Networking is what has made us able to do this event.

Within the context of all the work that you and MWM have done to bring S.H.E. Summit to Dallas, and to bring it back for a second year, what does the term “Networking As™ Empowerment” evoke for you?

SL: The term Networking As™ Empowerment brings me back to what S.H.E. Summit is. It is a leadership program, based on panels and conversations… an empowerment experience, because of the way it makes you feel during the event and when you leave. The keepwith® networking breakfast this year will provide a new level of experience for people to get the most out of S.H.E. Summit. Every time you connect with others, professionally and personally, it evokes a sense of togetherness, which is empowering in and of itself.

ST: When I think of it, I think of how we do better together…we do better as a team than we do as individuals…that is how I look at Networking As™ Empowerment. When you are connected and focused on better opportunities for women, it empowers us all to make more intense and effective change.

Why is it important for people to network meaningfully at conferences?

ST: If you are getting sent to a conference, it is important to learn best practices, to connect with experts in the field, to see what other brands are doing, or what your competitors are doing. Knowing best practices and making connections with people in the market always makes you the best professional, as opposed to just going and staying in your hotel room and watching Netflix.

SL: Go to the keepwith® networking program the morning of S.H.E. Summit and find out why it is important to network meaningfully at conferences.

What is new at S.H.E. this year? What are your goals for this year’s Summit? What do you want attendees to get out of the experience?

SL: The keepwith® networking breakfast is new…That was one of the pieces of feedback from last year — the panels were so engaging, but the networking breaks were so short Attendees asked for more time to connect and discuss what they have heard with others in the room. Having the opportunity to learn how to network more effectively before the conference starts is key.

ST: S.H.E. Summit Dallas is being held at a new venue this year: the Hilton Anatole. Also new is a change to our program format. There are no breakout sessions, because the audience is better served staying in one big room. The key notes are shorter and the panels are shorter, so that networking breaks in between the sessions give attendees a chance to connect. One of the biggest benefits of S.H.E. Summit is that all people in the room are pretty remarkable…and getting them to connect with each other is going to make remarkable change happen.

How would you describe your personal approach to networking?

ST: What I do is I look at everybody as someone who can be valuable to me and I am very good at asking questions…so then what I do is after I have talked to people at an event, then I make sure when I get back to connect with them on Linkedln. Linkedln is a powerful tool. I have built what I would call a very diverse universe of different types of connections. My moms’ club; our children’s events; I have my professional group here at the law firm; I have my family…and then I try to make an effort to reach out to people. I look at my phone and my texts…and say “Hey, I haven’t reached out to so and so (in a while)” and I will just reach out to say hi. That is how I maintain a circle of connections that I call my network.

SL: I like cultivating relationships and finding meaningful ways to connect with people, even if they are a little outside of what my own space would be. I am always finding opportunities to connect…I go to monthly networking happy hours hosted by Texas Young Professionals to stay connected with people across industries.

Categorizing those…is meaningful too. They might not intersect, but they could all benefit eventually whether from your Mom’s Club, your alumni group, your work colleagues…I handle a lot of relationships for the firm…clients to vendors. A lot of those relationships have been helpful in planning S.H.E Summit. Those pockets of my network cross lines from personal to professional. Knowing how to maintain and further relationships is important. It is easy to connect on Linkedln, but if you never reach out, those relationships become dust on a shelf.

What else would you like readers to know about you, networking, empowerment, S.H.E., or anything else?

ST: What I have learned from being involved with S.H.E. Summit is that there is a lot of learning still to be done by women in terms of creating opportunities for leadership.

When you attend S.H.E. Summit and you listen to the speakers, panels, topics, the one underlying message is that women need to support other women. It is not always native to us. Not always our nature to do that. It starts from how we raise our kids…if you raise a boy and a girl with different expectations, then you are creating the issues that we are facing right now. Change will not be from one S.H.E. Summit or two S.H.E. Summits, but because everyone is in the room and having open dialogue and wanting truly to make change happen.

SL: I know what I want to say…I recently read an article about a Dallas County judge with half-shaved hair…She has the exact same haircut as me…she exuded authenticity. Being authentic and being your most natural and comfortable self is important. The article was talking about how it is easy to be impacted by the unconscious bias that happens every day, whether talking about people not looking the same in the room, or judging a book by its cover. Having those role models in power positions being their authentic selves is critical and so is not downplaying their responsibility to make educated professional decisions by judging their hair choices. For young girls growing up to think they have to have hair that looks a certain way, they do not. There are powerful pixies in the world too. #beauthentic.

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Michael McCabe

Employment & Labor Litigation Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Jenny Martinez

Complex Litigation Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Michael McCabe

Employment & Labor Litigation Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Jenny Martinez

Complex Litigation Partner
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Michael McCabe

Employment & Labor Litigation Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala
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Jenny Martinez

Complex Litigation Partner

Michael A. McCabe is a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee, co-chairs Munck Wilson Mandala’s employment and labor law group, and leads the firm’s employment litigation cases. A skilled trial lawyer, Michael is known for his meticulous preparation and attention to detail.

Jenny L. Martinez is a senior partner in the firm’s complex litigation/dispute resolution practice. Jenny is a trial attorney who previously worked at Godwin Bowman & Martinez PC as a named-shareholder, executive committee member, senior vice president, and co-chair of the commercial litigation section.

How do you define networking?

JM: For me, networking is building and nurturing professional relationships and not just within your organization but outside your organization. You cannot divide networking as either personal or professional. When I think about the most successful people I know, their friends are also their clients and they have a huge network. There is no distinction between personal and professional. To nurture professional relationships, you have to do it at a personal level to make a difference and make the other person feel comfortable.

MM: I would add that networking includes trying to build as many meaningful professional relationships as possible. This includes the people with whom you are in contact and the people whom those people know. One’s network is an ever-expanding web of individuals who can help you and whom you can help.

How would you describe your personal networking style?

MM: My approach to networking is multifaceted. Identify people you can network with…then try to find common ground so you can start somewhere familiar to each of you expand from that to develop additional relationships with different people. It is not scientific. It helps to find people that you do not already know and expand from there.

JM: I agree with Mike about finding common ground. If you find that common ground, people will like you and relate to you and if they like and relate to you, they will send you business and want to be around you. I do that by keeping things light and fun and making people feel at ease…I find that I need to be myself and not to present an image that isn’t me. Networking for me is being myself and making people feel comfortable and trying to have some fun.

Within the context of S.H.E. Summit, what does the term “Networking As™ Empowerment” evoke for you?

MM: If you have a network of clients, people who look to you for business and assistance, that equates to independence…you are not beholden to anyone. You can work as an equal among your partners. Having your own client base and making your own decisions — you have clients you accept and those that you do not. This equates to networking as empowerment… as a form of independence.

JM: For me, empowerment can mean so many things. I hope that people, particularly those who feel like they need empowerment, will walk away from S.H.E Dallas with more of a sense of independence in that they can achieve what they can achieve and not have to rely on other people for it. Empowerment is independence. I would hope that men and women would walk away from the conference with a better feeling of independence and being able to conquer some of their fears or do things they would not otherwise do to improve their professional and personal lives.

What else would you like readers to know about you, networking, empowerment, S.H.E., or anything else?

MM: A lot of the business and client relationships that I have resulted directly from networking. In a formal sense, where you are introduced to someone by someone, you nurture a relationship and you grow it. Networking skills are vitally important. I encourage it among my associates. As a partner, I support it and see that younger lawyers need to develop networking skills. Networking is important to the growth of law firms and lawyers.

The ABA is doing studies, trying to learn about gender equality in law firms. The ABA hired a consulting firm to do a study. As a direct result of me networking on the ski lifts, I was invited to participate in “Men in the Mix,” because the ABA wanted to get feedback from men, for purposes of trying to improve gender equality in legal departments.

JM: I would love to send a message to people who have never been to S.H.E. Summit that this is not your normal networking event. When I went last year, I was blown away by the energy and how different it was from other conferences. I have been to lots of conferences…and they can be bland and boring…The whole program is fascinating and there is an energy about it. I would encourage people who are on the fence or think it is just another networking event or another women’s empowerment event, that it is just different. They will feel different and they will feel excited when they walk away.

Send the message to get there. It is hard to explain until you are there. It is a unique and fun event. It can be life-changing. A lot of people walk away from it with a different attitude…and I sure did. I changed my job because of it. I changed law firms and joined Munck Wilson Mandala because of S.H.E. Summit. My whole life has changed and I can say the same about other people I know who attended the conference last year.

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Amanda Greenspon

Trademark Partner at Munck Wilson Mandala

Amanda Greenspon works by day as Munck Wilson Mandala’s easternmost trademark partner, leading MWM’s trademark practice. Her team helps clients protect, maintain, acquire and enforce their trademarks and copyrights. This spring, Amanda was admitted to the Florida Bar. She will soon open MWM’s first Miami office.

Amanda has been an avid supporter of the S.H.E. movement and an advocate for her law firm to be involved with S.H.E. Summit. Amanda has led a team responsible for all of the components that make a successful S.H.E. Summit happen — speakers, sponsors and attendees.

Alison Cuddy headshot

Amanda Greenspon

Trademark Partner at Munck Wilson Mandala

Amanda Greenspon works by day as Munck Wilson Mandala’s easternmost trademark partner, leading MWM’s trademark practice. Her team helps clients protect, maintain, acquire and enforce their trademarks and copyrights. This spring, Amanda was admitted to the Florida Bar. She will soon open MWM’s first Miami office.

Amanda has been an avid supporter of the S.H.E. movement and an advocate for her law firm to be involved with S.H.E. Summit. Amanda has led a team responsible for all of the components that make a successful S.H.E. Summit happen — speakers, sponsors and attendees.

How do you define networking?

AG: At the risk of sounding super cheesy, I feel like every relationship is an opportunity for something to happen. That is the whole point of relationship building generally. We have networks in every aspect of our life…when I can’t pick up my kids from school, I rely on my network to figure out how to get them home. If I can’t figure out how to use a particular piece of technology, I have a network of people to ask other than Google. Networking is relationship building.

What is S.H.E. Summit Dallas?

AG: I have a two-part answer: one answer is big picture and professional, while the other is more personal. Big picture, S.H.E. Summit Dallas is an opportunity to bring people together who might not have anyone who looks like them or thinks like them at their own organization. It is that chance for them to come together and have an external acknowledgment of their own reality and to create the opportunity for everyone to build relationships with someone who is going through something similar. If you are one of 2-3 female partners at your law firm, you may not have a regular opportunity to build relationships with other women going through the same experience. S.H.E. Summit allows us to all get in a room.

For me personally, I think of S.H.E. Summit as an extension of my time at Bryn Mawr… a women’s college…a place where I was not defined by my gender. I want to give back and provide the opportunity I had at Bryn Mawr College to other people. S.H.E. Summit is an experience where people are not defined by their gender or status.

Within the context of all the work that you and MWM have done to bring S.H.E. Summit to Dallas, and to bring it back for a second year, when you hear the term “Networking As™ Empowerment”, what does that evoke for you?

AG: So I have never organized a conference of any sort before this…I also would like to point out that I have zero background in conference and event planning. I am so excited about the content. For me, what was amazing last year was that I reached out to so many people for help in making the inaugural S.H.E. Summit Dallas a success. Through every platform to which I have access and every form of relationship. At last year’s S.H.E. Summit, my husband looked over at me and asked “is this our own personal event?” based on who attended— my colleagues, his colleagues, college friends, former colleagues, the photographer who took pics of my children in the hospital. I relied so much on the people who trust and know me, who came and enjoyed last year’s S.H.E Summit and are coming back this year. That was amazing for me personally…for me to be able to ask the people in my network for help and have so many people say yes made me feel empowered personally.

What is an example of an outcome from S.H.E. Summit Dallas that illustrates the importance of “Networking as Empowerment”?

AG: So way way back, ages ago, when I was living in Texas, I started playing tennis because I was looking for an activity where I was not a lawyer and was not a mom…I asked the pro at the JCC in Dallas, “who can I play with? I am a lawyer with weird hours and I curse a lot.” That was in 2013. I ended up joining this team of female attorneys who play USTA tennis on nights and on weekends. I really loved these women and stayed in touch with most of them. 

Literally, the first call I made last year when I started planning S.H.E. Summit was to Okon and Hannagan. I called Melanie Okon and said “I am putting together an event. The content will be great. Can you help?” And she bought ten tickets and brought a bunch of other clients to the conference and sat in the second row and cheered.

On April 29th of this year, Melanie and her partner Susan Hannagan decided that they loved their work but they were tired of running a law firm. Melanie called me and told me they were thinking about going to a larger law firm or being acquired… “when I was at S.H.E Summit I loved the experience and how Bill Munck spoke about you,” she said. Then she asked if I would take a meeting. It took

14 days. We acquired their whole firm: 2 partners, 2 other attorneys, and their staff. They could not even break their lease that quickly…because there is a 30-day provision. Now Okon and Hannagan were acquired by Munck Wilson Mandala and I get to work with a friend because I play tennis and I curse a lot.

She trusted me enough to come to an event I was hosting and liked where I work and Bill Munck trusted me enough to bring her in. In so many ways, this outcome resulted from networking.

How would you describe your personal approach to networking?

AG: I have zero filters and I like to talk a lot and I also like learning about new people. I really do. I find it fascinating. Seeing how their lives are different, I like learning about new people. For networking purposes, caring about other people gets you a lot further than people realize it does. I take an all-encompassing guerrilla approach to networking that is characterized by authenticity, a willingness to help, candor and an ability to connect people with the right other people.

What is new at S.H.E. this year? What are your goals for this year’s summit? What do you want attendees to get out of the experience?

AG: This year, we are offering attendees the chance to participate in a VIP breakfast, led by keepwith®, focused on networking best practices and networking mistakes to avoid. 

We wanted to offer something that was a lot more about learning a skill. Whereas a lot of conferences have “networking events” — such events are often useless, because people go back to how they think they know how to network…Get a bunch of business cards and connect with everyone on LinkedIn. What I am excited about is a VIP breakfast…where people learn how to network. I am very excited because keepwith® is going to be on-site for the whole day, providing attendees with support for their networking efforts. The other thing I find difficult about conferences is that speakers often leave right after they speak, which is a disservice to attendees. Conferences awaken people and the natural benefit of that is to get to talk about that. If experts run out the door after their speeches, that reduces the value of the community that is being built. Having keepwith® do the VIP breakfast at the beginning at the conference and stay on-site all day will be instrumental in activating community amongst conference attendees.

What else would you like readers to know about you, networking, empowerment, S.H.E., or anything else?

AG: I think that if you are unhappy with anything… your role in society, your job, anything at all…you have more power than you realize you have. It is about how you leverage your power. Your network is your power in a lot of ways. My network enabled me to organize S.H.E. Summit last year and this year. My network is also how I get my clients. 

Just under two years ago, I attended S.H.E. Summit Bacardi in Miami with Amanda. I was blown away by the caliber of the content and the engagement of the attendees. At the end of the day, I knew we had to bring this to Dallas. Organizing a conference is outside of our comfort zone but it’s been worth it. Last year’s inaugural S.H.E. Summit Dallas exceeded expectations and put into motion some really positive changes for our firm. For example, since the event, Munck Wilson Mandala has seen a substantial increase of female partners. I know that as a firm, we win when we have the best talent and S.H.E. Summit introduced our firm to some of the best talent in Dallas. As we host S.H.E. Summit for the second time, I know this momentum will only continue. I am excited to experience the conference and see what occurs as a result of it this year.

William Munck

Managing Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala

We thought it would be a good idea to feature a S.H.E. Summit Dallas first-time attendee in this article, to demonstrate the connection between networking and empowerment. Meet Claudine Hollack, Partner at Deloitte, where she is a leader in the Midwest Audit Practice for the Life Sciences and Manufacturing industries. Claudine is also the Chicago Area Inclusion leader for her practice, focused on the advancement of women and minorities and the promotion of well-being.  Despite her busy practice and other professional and personal responsibilities, Claudine is making time to travel to Dallas to attend S.H.E. Summit. She has been a true supporter of keepwith as we continue to gain traction and she is a leader who prioritizes networking, empowerment and wellness.

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Claudine Hollack

Partner at Deloitte

Claudine is a leader in the Chicago Audit Practice for the Life Sciences and Manufacturing industries for Deloitte & Touche LLP. She has held leadership roles in Deloitte offices across the globe including Costa Mesa, California, Prague, Czech Republic, the Tri-State area and Davenport, Iowa. During her 20+ year career at Deloitte, she has led some of largest and complex multinational audit engagements in a variety of industries including life sciences, manufacturing, distribution, consumer products and airlines. Claudine is the Chicago Area Inclusion Leader for her practice, focused on the advancement of women and minorities and the promotion of well-being.

How do you define networking?

AG: At the risk of sounding super cheesy, I feel like every relationship is an opportunity for something to happen. That is the whole point of relationship building generally. We have networks in every aspect of our life…when I can’t pick up my kids from school, I rely on my network to figure out how to get them home. If I can’t figure out how to use a particular piece of technology, I have a network of people to ask other than Google. Networking is relationship building.

What has prompted you to attend S.H.E. Summit Dallas this year and invite fellow colleagues to attend?

 CH: I have an inclusion and leadership role for Deloitte’s
Audit practice in the Chicago area, including Chicago, IL,
Milwaukee, WI, and Davenport, IA. Additionally, one of my own personal missions is to advance women and minorities in the business world. S.H.E. Summit seems like a natural  way to continue advancing that objective, keepwith®’s  personal involvement in S.H.E. Summit Dallas was a big draw.

What are your goals for this year’s S.H.E Summit? What do you want to get out of the experience?

CH: I am genuinely interested in hearing from the speakers. The S.H.E. Summit looks like it has a great reputation and is expanding. I view the conference as an emerging business  (like my clients) as it becomes more known…at a national level. I am interested in hearing the speakers because the speakers have different backgrounds. I want to know their stories and their goals. I am also interested in making meaningful connections; and I enjoy being in an environment outside of my day-to-day auditing life. Being introduced to something new is exciting for me.

Within the context of thinking about a conference designed to empower women and men to improve gender equity, when you hear the term “Networking As™ Empowerment,” what does that evoke for you?

CH: What it evokes for me is stepping outside of your comfort zone to forward the objective of advancing women and minorities and to advancing professional and personal diversity. What I have encouraged the women and minorities in my own practice to do is step outside their comfort zones in terms of speaking to people to whom they don’t naturally gravitate…and on the flip side, I view part of the empowerment as my own personal responsibility and the leaders in my practice to step outside their comfort zones and expand their experiences and conversations with people to whom they don’t usually speak. I encourage my teams to have conversations and experiences that they wouldn’t ordinarily sign up for.

If I walk into a room with 200 people, I am naturally an introvert, so my personal tendency is to approach someone I know or is like me (a female, who looks professional).

The empowerment aspect of it comes from being brave enough to look beyond that in a ballroom and speak to someone that does not look like me or looks like they do something else and have a conversation with that individual.

How would you describe your personal approach to networking?

CH: Networking has to be meaningful to me. An introduction or an event…there has to be something about it that is meaningful to me for me to want to invest some time in it. I have a family. I have a work schedule that keeps me engaged. If someone asks me to attend an event like a lunch with a speaker; either the speaker has to have a message or be associated to something meaningful to me; or I have to attend with someone that I want to sustain a relationship with or that I want to have a relationship with…I am not about networking for networking’s sake. SHE Summit is a great example. The event aligned with personal and professional perspectives; and I am supporting a female owned business that I really want to succeed. I look for networking opportunities like that.

How, if at all has networking been integral to your experience working at Deloitte?

CH: It has been really integral in both the business and personal sense. From a business perspective, I came back to Chicago in 2016, with really little to no external network outside of Deloitte in the Chicago community. Networking has been critical for me in terms of my own personal  development and the development of my practice. I would say my networking…the amount of time I spend networking and the amount of enjoyment I get from networking has far exceeded what I thought it would be when I returned. Some of the professional recognition I get in the Audit practice at Deloitte is largely because of what I am doing in networking.

From a personal perspective, networking has been equally important. When we moved here, my husband and I did not know a lot of people in our town and I think my and his ability to step outside of our comfort zones and meet new people has helped us immensely.

My comfort level in terms of talking to people I don’t know has exponentially increased. I started with talking to the person on the yoga mat or bike next to me at the studio. While one might not naturally think about that was networking, it has been empowering to me for the times I am in the big ballroom at a formal networking event. Networking this way has helped me to be braver in those types of situations.

What else would you like readers to know about you, networking, empowerment, S.H.E. Summit Dallas, or anything else?

CH: One thing I think is interesting is that I have historically had a natural aversion to networking. The concept of networking as I previously defined it was not positive. Now, it is one of my favorite things to do. I find that to be amusing. I think there is a large part of the population that defines networking in the way that I previously thought about it.

Why is it important for people to network meaningfully at conferences?

CH: It is easy to hand out business cards. You could hand out 100 business cards; but to me that is not meaningful.

I view networking as expanding and sustaining a group of long-term relationships I want in my personal and professional life. You don’t get that by handing out 100 business cards. You get that by having a meaningful one-on-one or small group conversation for a long period of time. More than 5 minutes; it can often be half an hour or more…and I think that is important, because at a conference, if you can come away having made even one meaningful connection with another individual, I would declare that success from a networking perspective…and the connection aspect of it and learning about someone else and what their background is…and what is meaningful to them and important to them, I find that to be an accomplishment in and of itself. Anything that happens after that is a bonus.

I don’t have a completely altruistic view of networking. I don’t network just to meet people. My hope is that some of these will translate into meaningful relationships over the long term. It may not be with that person directly, it may be with a connection point one or two people down the line.

As the second S.H.E Summit Dallas conference nears, keepwith® wanted to emphasize the linkage between networking (aka strategic relationship building) and empowerment. We could not think of a more poignant way to do that than by featuring in this article, the attorneys and professionals at Munck Wilson Mandala who have made the Dallas conference, with a mission to be an empowerment event aimed at cultivating women and men leaders, a reality. In our view, we also could not write about the connection between networking and empowerment without featuring a first-time conference attendee. When making strategic networking introductions, keepwith® often refers to the magic that happens when we introduce the right people for the right reasons. After writing this piece, we now know that the “magic” is the reciprocal empowerment that occurs when two people connect in a meaningful way.

About

Networking As™

Networking As™ is a recurring series of articles, blog posts and videos highlighting how networking is integral to a particular topic (for example, Networking As™ Wellness). Networking As™ publications may be accompanied by real-life networking events. Future issues will include Networking As™ Mentorship, Networking As™ Business Development, Networking As™ Parenting. Networking As™ Meatballs and Networking As™ Global Assignment, among others.

Have an idea for a future Networking As publication? E-mail megan@keepwith.com

Why

Empowerment

At keepwith®, we know that relationship building enables people to help one another and to help themselves to move forward in their professional and personal lives. Add in a backdrop of each individual’s life challenges and opportunities, and it is clear that strategic networking and empowerment are integrally related. The word “empower” is in keepwith®’s vision statement (“empowering people to network well leads to strong relationships that makes things happen”), which is why it is no accident that we publicly soft launched our company and our brand at last year’s S.H.E. Summit Dallas and why we are honored and humbled to return this year to S.H.E. Dallas in an expanded way. Munck Wilson Mandala, Claudine Hollack and Deloitte all “walk the talk” when it comes to empowering women and men and people who do not identify as either. S.H.E. Summit Dallas will bring people to the table to talk about how we continue to focus on strategic relationship building as a means of empowering others.

About

keepwith®

We are a company that teaches people how to network well. We provide tailored advice and education that empowers people to form relationships that matter. Said more simply: we teach networking.

Founder Megan Burke Roudebush values authentic relationship building above all else. From New York City and now based outside Chicago, she enjoys volunteering, mentoring and most of all, networking well.

Megan Burke Roudebush

About

keepwith®

We are a company that teaches people how to network well. We provide tailored advice and education that empowers people to form relationships that matter. Said more simply: we teach networking.

Founder Megan Burke Roudebush values authentic relationship building above all else. From New York City and now based outside Chicago, she enjoys volunteering, mentoring and most of all, networking well.

Megan Burke Roudebush

About

keepwith®

We are a company that teaches people how to network well. We provide tailored advice and education that empowers people to form relationships that matter. Said more simply: we teach networking.

Founder Megan Burke Roudebush values authentic relationship building above all else. From New York City and now based outside Chicago, she enjoys volunteering, mentoring and most of all, networking well.

Megan Burke Roudebush

Please

Join Us

Hire Us

Know an organization or team who would benefit from networking  education and advice?

Please contact Megan Roudebush (megan@keepwith.com) to schedule a brainstorming call to figure out how we can help.