Christine Breck, founder of Texas Wall Street Women, called this week with an invitation to present at the Dallas chapter's October meeting.
We brainstormed critical topics to address: leadership, career management and networking -- all wrapped up under the umbrella of busy career time constraints. How does one cope with work, home, family, fitness, a touch of social life and still find time to sleep???
It's risky to have all of one's eggs in one basket. A byword of career planning is to network before you need to. And advancement often requires relationships and outreach in industry circles beyond one's immediate department, according to author and career expert Dr. Helen Harkness. Yet, in a post-downsized world, bandwidth is limited. It's not uncommon for an individual to be doing the work of more than one.
What's the solution? Women in particular need a career and relationship strategy that delivers efficiencies. It's all about synergy -- mixing business and personal realms.
Men have been doing it for years. Drinks at the 19th hole after a game of golf. Football and baseball outings. Poker groups. We now have executive women golf initiatives. But you don't have to undertake sports if you're not athletically inclined. There are many other paths.
Here are some points that I will address:
1. People do business with those they like. Become friends with your clients.
2. Saying no is an important as saying yes. Don't get saddled with commitments if they are not going to give you an effective ROI. Or if they're not enjoyable.
3. Delegate and outsource -- don't try to be the homemade cupcake goddess if you are a time-crunched road warrior.
4. Seek alliances that can deliver multiple outcomes.
5. Find fitness outlets with friends.
6. Target organizations where your customers are -- and your competitors are not.
When I was single in my 30s, I always built relationships with the wives of male clients. My pro bono community work was always in support of their special charities. When I married, my husband and I became friends as couples with many longtime clients and co-workers. We are trusted advisors to one another. We network. We refer business. We help each other.
On Saturdays, I always look forward to Lisa Ann McCall's Body Balance class. It's a wonderful regime and as a bonus, it's a catch-up session with friends and colleagues from Texas Women Ventures (4 of us), Second Wednesday Book Club (3 of us) and Women's Leadership Exchange (4 of us), as well as a women's financial breakfast series where I first met Lisa Ann!
Texas Women Ventures Fund has been highly rewarding. We are a mezzanine fund that invests in women-led businesses. It's an impressive network of professional women -- and some men, as well -- who provide funding as well as expertise and connections, as needed, by the portfolio companies. It's a for-profit organization for the investors, but one which also does good, as the companies are creating hundreds of jobs in their local economies. Many friendships and business relationships have been forged, as the group prepares to raise a third fund this year.
The key is to find The Perfect Fit of outreach initiatives that work for you and your career goals.