In 2015 I released the book “The Ties that Bind, Networking with Style.” My intention and hope with this short business book was to help people in all aspects of life to become more comfortable and embrace networking. The book did better than I could have ever dreamed and provided numerous opportunities for me to spread the word that networking to form long-term, meaningful relationships was both beneficial and gratifying. It also gave me the chance to receive constructive feedback on the content of the book so that I could eventually make it better.
One theme that continued to come up over and over again was the difference in how men and women network. I had numerous conversations with successful females who asked me to present another side of networking. One that would address the unique challenges they, and many others, felt that I had personally never experienced. Things like being perceived as a professional by older individuals, deciding what clothing was appropriate, getting into and out of conversations, and many other situations. Not being one to back down from a challenge, I started writing.
The problem? I was writing about situations and experiences that I had personally never had. Being a father of two young girls, I wanted to become better in tune with these experiences and see if I could provide any real insights. But, try as I might, everything I put on paper didn’t sound right, didn’t seem relatable, or was just completely off of the mark. It’s really challenging for me to write about things I don’t understand and haven’t experienced.
Luckily, I have a network (shocking, right?) and a pretty good one at that. I put out some feelers, had some meaningful conversations, and was lucky enough to find a friend who could relate to these experiences. She’s been through them, she’s thought about them, and she’s been successful. It goes without saying that I am super excited to partner with Erin Thole Summers on an upcoming blog series about networking for women!
Erin Thole Summers is a business savvy nutrition expert. She is a Licensed Registered Dietitian who specializes in Sports Nutrition. As a dietitian Erin has worked with a series of recreational athletes to achieve client’s performance goals, organized a community service wellness program with University of Iowa student athletes, helped created a Governor's Youth Action Award for Iowa's youth, a conference speaker on leadership and networking, and is an active member of her state nutrition affiliate organization. Her position within her state nutrition affiliate organization, the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has transcended from member, Marketing Chair, to currently, President. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she also has her MBA and Project Management Professional Certification. Even though Erin's work as a Registered Dietitian is only part time, her full time work is within business operations as a project manager in addition to being a management lecturer at Iowa State University. Her passion is to impart knowledge on how to build a community within your workplace in addition to living a healthy lifestyle via mind, body, and spirit.
We’re going to cover those challenges that kept being brought to my attention whether in one-on-one conversations, at speaking events, or occasionally through an online comment section. I’m excited to finally have the opportunity to cover this topic and I hope you are too. Look for blogs in the upcoming weeks and if you have a specific question or experience you want addressed, leave a comment, send us a message, and let us know how we can help. That’s the entire point of networking for both us. This is going to be a fun adventure. We’re excited to bring you along!