No Longer a Networking Virgin: Happy Hour Mixer Sparks Conversations & Connections

I can proudly say that I am no longer a networking virgin.

Part of my “economic-recovery plan” (i.e., finding a job) includes taking advantage of networking events. I belong to the Business Professionals of Greater Harrisburg & Central PA LinkedIn group, but had not yet attended one of their mixers. I took the plunge, attending my first event on June 25, 2014.

Being the organized person that I am, prior to the mixer, I researched how to get the most value out of a networking event. I found a great suggestion – find a role for yourself at the event. So I grabbed my camera and offered to photograph the event, post the pictures on my website, and link to it on LinkedIn. It’s a win-win by hopefully driving traffic to my website and increasing interest in the mixers.

David Bruno, Account Manager, Guernsey – The Workplace Source, graciously and enthusiastically hosted the mixer at Guernsey’s offices in Middletown with approximately 30 people attending. About halfway through, David talked about Guernsey’s services, and his colleague, Tim, described the product samples available for attendees (Kresto Cherry Extra Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner and Stokolan Classic Cream Moisturizer). Next were quick “round-robin 30-second elevator speeches” and introductions from each of the attendees. On either side of these introductions, the attendees engaged in lively conversations.

Networking Time: Conversations & Connections

I apologize in advance to those whose names I didn’t get for the photos or if I misidentified you. Contact me at jconway0215@gmail.com, and I will update the page with your information. If you would like me to link to your company website, provide me with that URL also.

Mixer-20140625-001
(L-R) Bryan Hoover, Keystone Credit Solutions; Jim Barbush, Barbush Enterprises; Janet Bartelme, LegalShield.

Mixer 20140625 002
(L-R) Francois Houde, Keystone Credit Solutions; (name); David Bruno, Guernsey; Kristi Barcelona, The Performance Group.

Mixer-20140625-003
(L-R) Jennifer Epstein, New York Life; Kay Shuey, Kay L. Shuey Enterprises; Kang Su Lee, Morgan Stanley; Scott Schultz, Members 1st FCU; (name).

Mixer 20140625 004
(L-R) Tim Heckman, Guernsey; Jim Barbush, Barbush Enterprises; David Bruno, Guernsey; Kris Sandusky, PinnacleHealth System.

Mixer 20140625 005
(L-R) John Heins, WGAL; Janet Bartleme, LegalShield; Jill Cordan, self-employed; Lisa Heintzelman, Illuminations Consulting; (name), The Performance Group; (name), The Performance Group; Kristi Barcelona, The Performance Group; Bryan Hoover, Keystone Credit Solutions; Jo Ann Curado, Howard Hanna; Francois Houde, Keystone Credit Solutions; (name); Jennifer Epstein, New York Life; Kang Su Lee, Morgan Stanley; (name).

Mixer 20140625 006
(L-R) Francois Houde, Keystone Credit Solutions; (name); Jennifer Epstein, New York Life; Kang Su Lee, Morgan Stanley; David Bruno, Guernsey; Tim Heckman, Guernsey; Kris Sandusky, PinnacleHealth System.

Mixer 20140625 007
(L-R) John Heins, WGAL; Scott Schultz, Members 1st FCU; Kay Shuey, Kay L. Shuey Enterprises; Janet Bartelme, LegalShield; Jill Cordan, self-employed.

Mixer 20140625 008
(L-R) (name); John Heins, WGAL; Scott Schultz, Members 1st FCU; David Bruno, Guernsey; (name); Jim Barbush, Barbush Enterprises; Kris Sandusky, PinnacleHealth System.

My Review/Final Thoughts

David Bruno compared the advantages of participating in the Business Professionals of Greater Harrisburg & Central PA group to belonging to the Chamber of Commerce, minus the membership fee. If you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a group mixer, contact David at dbruno@buyguernsey.com. One of the skills not listed on my resume is teaching country line dancing, so I offer that up as an ice breaker or fun activity. Realizing you aren’t the only one with two left feet is a good way to get comfortable enough to strike up a conversation. Remember, find a role for yourself!

  • There were so many interesting and friendly people to meet and chat with that I stayed longer than I thought I would. In addition to my elevator speech, I also had an early-exit strategy ready, but I didn’t need it.
  • I made at least two good contacts – one of whom understands my love/hate relationship with WordPress.
  • David Bruno is a charming host who genuinely wants this group to succeed through active online and in person participation.

5 thoughts on “No Longer a Networking Virgin: Happy Hour Mixer Sparks Conversations & Connections

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  3. James Eugene Barbush

    Hello Jennifer

    I just found your post on “No Longer A Networking Virgin”. Well done. Very unique.

    As one who has a passion for blogging and writing, I find your post to be usefu and informative, getting out there to let people know what is going on.

    Did we meet at the July session? Of you’re not in the pics because you are taking the pics.

    What business are you focued on right now? Anything in particular? Maybe we could collaborate on something in the Social Media arena, blogging, etc.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Nauss Conway Post author

      Hello, James.

      Thank you for your comment and the compliments. You and I met briefly at the July networking event, but I think you were chatting with David at the time. And that is correct that there are no photos of me because I was the one behind the camera (safely tucked away in my “role” capturing what I observed while networking). Subsequent networking events with the group fell on dates that I had other obligations.

      My primary business focus right now is finding a job in HR and/or internal communications. Now that my unemployment has ended, I’m also exploring consulting/freelancing work. I have a blog in the works on the effects of PA’s unemployment regulations stifling entrepreneurship based on my frustrating experience with unemployment (compensation and the state of being unemployed).

      I’m certainly open to the possibility of collaborating. Let me know.

      Reply
  4. Lisa

    Thank you, Jennifer, for capturing and reflecting upon the impact of networking and developing relationships! How are you effectively growing your business and achieving results by engaging in networking that is consistent, strategic, focused, and measured?

    Reply

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