One of my favorite activities from Day 1 was networking BINGO where we were handed bingo boards and tasked with finding others who matched various characteristics to fill them in. This unique approach deviated from the standard introduction question of “What do you do?” at networking events. Instead, we engaged strangers with more personal questions about their upbringing such as if they’re a runner or whether they had a pet. The resulting conversations fostered connections based on shared interests and experiences, making the networking experience far richer and more memorable.
Here are my favorite takeaways from Day 1
- If you pretend at something long enough, you get pretty good at it
- Don’t be afraid to try just because you might get hit by the pitch, rejection and failure are a necessary part of the process
- Distinguish what’s important from what’s urgent
- Know your non-negotiables, and set appropriate boundaries for healthy work habits
- Consider the intent and the goal before you send a work email or message
On Day 2 of the conference, I opted to sit at a brand new table with unfamiliar faces. My intention was to actively apply the tools I learned from Day 1, rather than defaulting to what most would normally do. As humans, we tend to like routines, but stepping outside of my comfort zone, was worthwhile as it further expanded my network and set the tone for curiosity and growth during the final day of LEAD Cle.
Day 2 Speaker Lineup
- Diane Helbig – Chief Improvement Catalyzer at Helbig Enterprises
- George Sample, MBA, SPHR Principal Consultant at Blue Streak Consultants
- Mark Hamilton, President at Versa Culture LLC
- Ira Kaplan, Executive Chairman at Benesch Law
- Laura DeMarco Senior Director of Content and Corporate Communication at Greater Cleveland Partnership
- Chrishawna Cunningham, PHR®, CDE® Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Union Home Mortgage
- Dominique Burney, MBA Student at John Carroll University
As Day 2 unfolded, the momentum continued with three speakers and a panel discussion. Diane Helbig, shared valuable insights on mastering the craft of selling, advocating for a shift from a selling mindset to a learning one. George Sample, provided invaluable tips on understanding workplace culture, emphasizing the significance of unwritten company rules and likability in career progression. Mark Hamilton’s presentation on effective collaboration highlighted the importance of clearly defined goals and expectations while working with a team. The panel discussion on bridging generational divides offered a nuanced exploration of values, communication styles, workplace challenges across generations.
Here are my favorite takeaways from Day 2
- Shift from a selling mindset to a discovery mindset and be genuinely curious -> you will learn so much more this way and be able to build trust with others
- Networking is for the long-term, you won’t typically see instant rewards
- Always send a post meeting re-cap with a summary, action items, and who’s responsible for what
- Don’t let the meeting be the first time the Executive team hears about your new idea or proposal, have a pre-meeting with key influencers in the organization first so you can revise it, improve and already have support from stakeholders before the official meeting is even held
Navigating through the LEAD CLE conference felt like stepping into a real-world guidebook for professional growth. Now, while I’ve made strides toward the legendary 500 LinkedIn connections (no promises on that one!) this conference was so much more than a pocketful of presentation notes. In all seriousness, the depth of insights and connections I gained was beyond my expectations. Engaging in authentic table discussions and embracing the networking opportunities allowed me to develop new connections with fellow young professionals, adding a genuine layer of value to the entire experience.
With these newly acquired leadership skills in my arsenal, I find myself on the brink of shaping not only my professional but also my personal growth within the vibrant city of Cleveland.
In a city filled with opportunities, LEAD CLE has unfolded a new chapter in my leadership journey. Carrying these new insights, I’m curious to where else I can apply these tools and skills, embracing more opportunities whether through my work at Staffing Solutions Enterprises, volunteering, or taking on leadership roles in the community. Still learning, growing, and eager to connect with anyone I can learn from, here’s to genuine progress, authentic connections, and exciting possibilities that lie ahead!