Networking Nova, October 2010
Each month the SSWBN Membership Team recognizes a member who exemplifies the qualities of a Networking Nova, a person who embodies the Network’s core values of coaching, contacts and collaboration; someone who is visible at many SSWBN events and who treats others with respect and dignity. In addition, this person utilizes the Network to build his/her business and helps others do the same.
Rebecca Coletta, of Coletta Law Office
I joined SSWBN in March of this year. My first breakfast included presentations by Hank Phillippi Ryan and Janet LaBerge. What a morning! I was motivated to join the Network after hearing Janet’s tribute to her mother and by her “pay it forward” motto.
The group seemed to have great, dynamic energy, and I was looking for a place to grow my business. I had recently opened my own law office -- I had physically hung the shingle in January. Although I had been active in town government and service activities, I was not connected to many of the businesses on the South Shore. As a business attorney, I had practiced for the majority of the past 20 years in the New York and Connecticut areas. Now it is time to get out of my comfort zone and engage in business development locally.
I consider the Network a home base for networking. I regularly attend the monthly breakfast and lunch events, and I have started getting to know some of the members through repeated contacts. Last May’s Professional Development Day Conference on Social Networking served as a great venue for gathering new information and for making further connections. This educational event helped me to think of how I wanted to position my marketing. Then I tested out my non-existent golf skills at the Golf Outing, which allowed me to have fun and network at the same time -- not to mention securing a weekend at a great house on the Cape during the live auction!
I have also followed up with some members on one-on-one meetings and collaboration. My first one-on-one was with Darlene Calcagno, which helped me get comfortable with the Network and learn about her business as an in-home chef. At the September luncheon I took advantage of another membership benefit — the three-minute presentation -- which gave me the opportunity to introduce myself and my law practice.
The Network has become a part of my business and how I do business. I have a couple of clients from the Network now (thanks to Janet LaBerge and Stephanie Lipinski); but more importantly I have made some connections that I foresee lasting for many years to come. In addition, I have found some great service providers, including Patty Funder of LaserLight, Stephanie Lipinski of Hanson Insurance, Jim Della Volpe who leads a mastermind group, Lori Cook of Bryantville Deli, and Laura Willis of Willis-Works Communications. When my officemate Beth York and I hosted a photography exhibit and Open House this summer, several members of the Network stopped by to give their support and partake of yet another networking opportunity.
The Network reinforces what I have learned in my life overall — relationships take time to develop through shared experiences and support. There are many experiences and stories to be shared among the many members of the Network. Take time to explore as many as possible.
Yes, people come to the Network to market their services (it is a great place to work on these skills), but there is also camaraderie and educational sharing. I am heartened by the number of businesses that I find women involved in, and the number participating in the Network — real estate, banking and accounting provide critical support services, but the range of businesses within the Network is what I find truly impressive. We have pest control, photographers, caterers, temporary staffing, IT services, financial planners, realtors, artists, a travel guru, florists, coaches, home designers, alternative health providers, personal trainers, nutritional coaches, home health services, college representatives, non-profits, marketing services and many more. I look forward to learning from their experiences and visions.
Among other things, I am from New Orleans. Which means that some time between Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras, you can be sure that I will be hosting a Mardi Gras party. Introduce yourself before then, and I’ll include you in the Taste of New Orleans!