Jennifer’s Career Stories
When did you get your first Big Break? How did you get it? How did it go?
I wouldn't say I had a BIG BREAK. I had a series of opportunities that built on each other. I also had people who took a genuine interest in me to help me grow in my career. I'm the type that likes a good conversation and I'm one of the first to get a convo started, with this comes the exchange of ideas, interests and dreams myself and others may have. I've had A LOT of big breaks come out of ad hoc conversations I've had some where I've connected some one...or others have connected me with someone who can nurture my interest and dreams. Opportunities come at you fast, all the time. If you don't pay attention you'll miss them. Believe me when I say this, you DO NOT want to say yes to all of them. Figuring out what to say yes/no to can be really hard. Having a strong career, spiritual and personal network and mentor(s) to guide and help you figure out what's best for you is a HUGE help. Fail often. Failure is actually a really good thing. Its a sign you're preparing yourself for the next step. Failure teaches you so pay attention, stay mindful and always reflect on them. I can't stress enough how much value there is in a failure. Don't avoid it. I'll also add, big breaks are usually scary. Expect fear. If you feel fear or terror that's usually a good sign its a Big Break. Listen to your gut, leverage your connections and say yes.
How did you start building your network?
First I made a conscious decision to build my network when I started my career. Still do today. I dedicate at least 15% of my time per week networking. Activity to build my network includes: 1. Having lunch with an acquaintance to get to know them. What they do, whats important to them, how do they have fun, etc. 2. Reach out to my contacts. To keep a network thriving, it needs to be fed and cared for. Reach out to people and touch base. Maybe its by text, phone, email, social media, etc. Ask them what's up! 3. Be a conversation starter. There is nothing more terrifying than walking into a room of strangers. There is nothing more powerful than saying "Hi I'm Jennifer, how are you?" from there it takes off... Keep in mind...the convo may fizzle and that's ok, its not because of you so don't take it personally. Move on to someone else and start again. 4. There are no restrictions or boundaries when it comes to a network. Talk to everyone and treat them like a person regardless of rank, job title, or relationship. Don't let a CEO title stop you from introducing yourself. Today, my network is my equity. It's my gold mine. It's where I live and have fun. At times I have to pull in some favors...BIG favors like "help me find a job" favors...its super important and so worth it.