Monthly Archives: October 2011

Misguided Networking

Misguided Networking

I have used this word alot lately, but I’m really beginning to think that it has lost its meaning and power. 

What word, might you ask? 


I began to reflect on my usage of the word after an interview with Success Formula Monique N. Caston. Monique pointed out that many times when she meets people at happy hours or networking events, they are not in a position to truly help others get new opportunities or help people get to the next level. Now, of course you do not have to GET something from socializing with people, but that’s exactly why I think the term networking has lost its value. Most of the time when we are “networking”, we are actually just socializing. 

I think the concept of networking is meant to be an intentional interaction geared towards meeting a person or people who you feel have something that can help you to advance a certain aspect of your life. The overuse of the word networking implies that, as a society, we are intentionally looking to GET something out of our interactions with people instead of just enjoying their company i.e. socializing. 

The word “social networking” was added to our vocabulary to further explain the difference between regular networking (business-oriented) and networking solely focused on increasing people resources. Although I appreciate this distinction, I think my irritation is actually rooted in the word “networking” in play and/or action. 

Often people have “networking” events and nothing about the atmosphere promotes meeting new people. Effective networking is rooted in courage and humility: be courageous enough to meet new people and engage with them, yet humble enough to allow people in your space. 

Below are a few suggestions on how to be more intentional with your networking events

–          Use colored wrist bands to distinguish fields, interests, or another aspect that will encourage people to connect. For example, all people in marketing may have on yellow wrist bands. I could easily decide if I wanted to connect with the people wearing those bands.

–          Speed networking- It may take a certain type of person to enjoy this, but speed networking for 30 minutes of your event can ensure that your guests have the OPPORTUNITY to meet new people.

For individuals attending networking events I suggest the following:

–          Put your best foot forward- even if you are arriving to the event directly after work or after a day out with the kids, you want to make sure that you portray an image of effortlessness. Nobody wants to be drugged down by your negative energy or the perception that you do not want to be present.

–          Make a commitment at the event AND do it right there (i.e. I’m going to have my coworker contact you; email your co-worker on your smart phone at that moment)

What are some of your ideas on how to effectively increasing professional networking events and opportunities? How do you feel about networking with people who may not have “power”?

Below is the link to a site that helps young professionals plan the best networking events.


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Community Asset: Global Girls

There are a number of reasons as to why this organization should be on your radar as a Community Asset.

Below I share just a few.

#1- Everyone involved in the organization is a risk taker, especially Founder and Executive Director- Marvinetta Penn. There is no topic that is taboo to the girls and young adults that take part in the organization and this honesty, and sincerity among females has created life changing dynamics for communities in both the United States and abroad.

#2- The organization has proved it is sustainable by surpassing the business start-up phase (5 years) and is currently celebrating over 10 years of incorporation. What does this mean? Its worth your time and investment!  Global Girls has a model that works and is being expanded on.

#3- Global Girls is a mixture of performing arts, leadership development, media training, and womanhood claiming. HOW COOL IS THAT?????

#4- The participants have fun! Yes, there is pressure to excel above the rest, but what more can you expect from an organization that is preparing women to be global citizens in todays competitive society. Through it all Global Girls leadership ensures laughs, hugs, tears, and personal success for every developing female involved.

#5- Global Girls participated in atleast 3 trips to Africa, where the youth volunteered in various communities with local families. Hence the name GLOBAL GIRLS.

#6- Global Girls is an AMAZING organization headquartered in Chicago, IL. For Global Girls, the Month of October is “Lets Talk Month”. Global Girls will be sponsoring a FREE performance, workshops for daughters and adults, lunch and facilitated discussions on October 22nd. The title of the event is: “Talking with Your Parents/Kids about Sex”.

I can go on and on, BUT, I think you would benefit more from checking out the Global Girls website and by learning more about their upcoming events. There is not a female in the Chicagoland area that should be unaware of this Community Asset! If you havent already done so, tell a friend about this organization.

The press release for the upcoming event is below and it includes the Global Girls contact information.

October Is Let’s Talk Month
Global Girls Sponsors Local Workshops on Talking with Your Parents/Kids about Sex
Let’s Talk Month is an opportunity for children and parents to learn to communicate in an open and honest manner about health, sexuality and other sensitive issues. Such discussions can help young people delay sex and avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Research shows that adolescents prefer their parents to be their sex educators. Moreover, teens often need more information, guidance and open discussions with their families.
Families can play a pivotal role in helping young people make healthy decisions about sex. Most parents want the opportunity to share their values and provide their children with accurate information about sexuality. But often parents and other adults feel uncomfortable discussing sexuality. Often, they need assistant and support in starting meaningful conversations.
Global Girls is sponsoring a performance, workshops for daughters and adults, lunch and facilitated discussions October 22, 2011.
What: How to Talk With Your Parent/Children about Sex
When: Saturday, October 22nd at 11:00 a.m.
Where: Grand Crossing Park, 7655 S. Ingleside Ave, Chicago, IL
Who’s Invited: Daughters, Parents, Grandparents, Foster Parents, and Other Care-givers
Reservations required for this free event: Contact Global Girls, 773.488.7557 and ask to speak to Shannon Woods or email
The workshops will offer youth, parents and other care-givers practical advice on communicating with one another about health, sexuality and sex. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to identify areas for individual assistance, practice skills, and craft a plan for starting conversations after they leave.
* For more information, press should contact Global Girls Executive Director, Marvinetta Penn, 773 488-7557 or
Like us on Facebook: Global Girls
Follow us on Twitter: @globalgirlsinc1



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“Later” or “No”- ASCW (life plan 4)

The most important part about writing down your goals and planning for your future is REVISITNG your plan and goals. As a consultant I have worked on a lot of business plans for clients and it is amazing to see how invested I become in their futures by engaging in their work. I have noticed that the longer I stay away from my personal and professional goals, the less connection I have to them.

Recently I reviewed my life plan. And I want to share with you all my Volunteer Category. As you will see below, I think volunteering is a mutually beneficial opportunity for the volunteer and the organization or persons seeking assistance. At the time I drafted this section in early March everything below was true.


Purpose: To bridge resources for causes that need assistance

Outcomes: “Ashley contributed countless hours of service that assisted in building individuals self esteem, decreasing homelessness in urban cities, and redirecting youth to become social agents for community change.”

Vision: I volunteer 2-3 hours a week of my physical time on site. I volunteer my skill set 2-3 hours a week off site to help improve the sustainability of an organization. I learn about new opportunities and meet new people who help increase my perspective on the organizations I support. I complete one-time, short- term, and long- term projects. My volunteer life is secondary to my income activities and the needs of my loved ones. I will not have more than 2 volunteer projects simultaneously.

Reality: I physically volunteer about 2-3 hours a month. I volunteer about 10-15 hours a month off site to help improve the sustainability of organizations. People refer me as a volunteer for my skills and reliable reputation. I am willing to volunteer to learn new skills or enhance existing ones. I have had to cut back on my volunteering due to rising gas prices and re-prioritizing.

My current update is that I am trying to align my volunteer activities with my studies and professional experiences. I am interested in a lot of topics, but looking back at my life plan reminded me of what I made a conscious decision to become involved in. For a person like me, compassionate, always wanting to help, and easily intrigued, it is important to have a guide that allows me to know what to say “no” or “later” to.

As I was write this, I recall hearing friends and family say that they are learning to say “no” when asked to assist with certain projects.

I do not want to always say “no” but instead want to be able to say “later” or figure out a schedule that will allow me to take on an additional opportunity when the time is right. So many issues and people are correlated and sometimes you can’t learn about one without engaging with the other.

What helps you guide your volunteer choices or other decisions that dictate your time?

Below is an article that discusses why you would say “no”. It is also provides some insight on the benefits of saying “no” and offers strategies to help you do so.


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