Monday, November 28, 2011

Dani Zandel Shares Her Networking ABC’s – Always Be Connecting

I hope Thanksgiving treated everyone well and you enjoyed your time with family and friends. Now that the holiday "season" has officially begun, I'd like to remind you of great opportunities in front of you.

Yes, this is the time of year for shopping sprees and eating and drinking way too much. Don't worry, I'm not about to pitch a gym membership. In fact, I'm going to encourage the shopping sprees and food/drink fests. Why? Because they will provide prime opportunities for networking. And as Lynnette, Larry, and our wonderful LA Fellow advisors will remind us, networking is the key to many wonderful opportunities.

Have you joined any professional groups yet? Many will have December "meetings" as holiday potlucks or minglers. Are you a member of some sort of a social or even support group? They may be having parties, too…and if not, why not suggest one?

In December, I have four events lined up before any school or family-related commitments: The International Association of Business Analysts, a professional group I joined this year, will have its monthly meeting as a dinner and wine sampling mingler at a restaurant. The yoga studio where I take classes will open their doors to a holiday potluck. The Beer Homebrewers Club, a social group I joined when I was let go from my job, will be having their annual Christmas party. And as wacky as it may sound, my surgical weight loss support group will be holding its annual potluck event. These are my personal networking opportunities (and still looking for more!) to show you that you may have holiday events you may not even realize to be good opportunities for meeting people AND building relationships with people you have met.

The importance of networking is in the fact that you don't know who people know. I have so many personal stories of six degrees of separation - as obscure as a woman in my support group having 1. worked with one of my dad's cousins, 2. worked with a former classmate, and 3. having a hairstylist who I met through my best friend....and that is ONE connection of mine! I'm always happy to share my stories if you ask, but there is one that occurred right within LA Fellows: I met David Berkus at the Reunion Picnic in October. He was telling me about the work he used to do, and some companies he used to work for. My response was to ask if he knew someone whose name I will not mention. Not only did David know this person, but they worked together for over 15 years. This mutual connection is a man who was like my father's brother. He is so close to my family that he was in the hospital visiting my dad more than my dad's own brother. His family is like family to mine - to the point that our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions include dinner with each other! How is that for a small world?

Networking can open many doors - though hopefully to jobs, your next connections can lead to making other new connections, or learning new skills. An informational interview may lead to your ability to join a professional association, or a professional association may lead to your ability to take a discounted skills or certificate course. Stepping out of the professional realm for a moment, for those of us who are single, networking may lead to meeting Mr. or Ms. Right - and provides a much better experience than internet dating! Heck, once upon a time, I met a great hairstylist at a social networking event! You just never know.

And don't forget to maintain the relationships. Attend the meetings/events throughout the year so that the faces and names become familiar. If they don't see you, they can't think of you when they find out about jobs! For people you have created relationships with, don't forget the big gesture a short phone call or email can send. For those you are even closer to, meet for a cup of coffee or a happy hour. Maintain an appropriate follow-up for the relationship you have built, but you MUST follow-up! Be active. And continue this activity AFTER you have found a job. It can be easy to slack off when juggling work and family, but we all know how not-so-great it is to be unemployed, and if it happens again, we all know how much easier it is to find work when we have connections who can lead us to our next destination. Make time, even if it is for one event per month. A-B-C: Always Be Connecting!

For those who are intimidated to go to an event alone, ask someone to go with or meet you. For those who don't like large groups of people, find smaller groups. Keep in mind that the first time you attend anything, everyone is a stranger. Keep going. Keep building the relationships. All you need is to feel as if you are walking into an atmosphere where there is ONE person whom you could say HELLO to.

And for those of you who know me to be advocating networking and all of the activities I have just mentioned...You don't know how FREAKED OUT I am for the first few minutes in anyplace where I don't know people. After losing my job last year, I had to force myself to reach out, and in doing so, attended a Beer Homebrewing Club party with 300 people, knowing no one. The only person I "knew", I had met at 2pm the day of the party. It was an uncomfortable evening to say the least, and a step I needed to take. But over the past year of attending social opportunities and monthly meetings with the same group, I look forward to this year's big Christmas party. And I know I will not know MOST of the expected 300 people there this year, but I do know enough faces and names to mix and mingle and have a good time.

So, advocating the importance of networking is one of my long-winded topics...but very worthwhile of the share. Don't forget A-B-C: Always Be Connecting. You never know who people know and you never know where your next connection may lead. As this festive season begins, get out your best outfits, go ahead and shop (for canned goods and gifts to donate to charities), eat, drink (safely) and be merry....If you're comfortable to do so, be someone's wing-person...and if you need a wing-girl, give me a call!

Happy Holidays LA Fellows and Job Training Staff!


Dani Zandel
LA Fellows, Cohort 3

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are You an Entrepreneur? Yes, You Are!

Wendy Stackhouse of Cohort 2 is working as a Social Media Consultant in the Recruiting and Environmental Services industries, as well as in Public Relations. She learned about Entrepreneurship from Dr. Virginia Green at the LA Fellows: "No matter what industry or field you work in, whether you work for a multinational corporation, a mom-and-pop storefront or in your home office, you are an entrepreneur. Congratulations!",_You_Are!/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joy Gemberling shares how the hidden job market worked for her!

I’m proud to announce that I’ve landed as a consultant for Plus Delta Consulting Firm, a LA-based firm specializing in leading organization development and change initiatives to produce better business results.

My story is very different from the majority of LA Fellows Cohorts since I started my job search in a new environment having relocated to California less than a year from attending my first LA Fellows class. In 2009, I reconnected to a high school buddy through Facebook and we fell in love. We both grew up in New Jersey; he’s been living in the SoCal area for quite a few years while I was still living in New Jersey. We had a long distance romance for several months. In January 2010, I was laid off from my Jersey (pronounced “Joisey”) job, relocated to California in May 2010 and got married in August 2010. During the Fall 2010, I began my California job seeking adventure, joined the Los Angeles chapter of the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) and attended locally-based job seeking groups to network and learn more about companies/organizations within the area. Through the ASTD-LA’s LinkedIn group, I saw Allison Silver’s posting regarding the LA Fellows program and thought it would be a great opportunity to expand my network, partner with a nonprofit to gain new skills and expand my job seeking skills.

Being new to the SoCal area, I needed to make friends and expand my network. During our first LA Fellows class, I met Victor Beauchamp and Monqiue Carroll who both lived nearby in Pasadena and I suggested that we start a carpool. During our drives to and from classes, we commiserated regarding our job seeking woes and how it was affecting our families. Being so new to the area, I didn’t have any close friends to talk to and their friendship came at a perfect time in my life.

Back in Jersey, I was active with a variety of nonprofits and was looking forward to my LA Fellows internship. I had chosen three nonprofits that I was interested in working with, but wanted more information. I decided to contact LA Fellows who had interned at these nonprofits through our LA Fellows LinkedIn group. I was excited with the outpouring from many Cohorts graciously offering their experience and advice. I decided to accept an internship at Chrysalis where I recorded and edited 24 videos of their core classes to create 10 train-the-trainer videos in order for new volunteers to successfully facilitate specific Chrysalis classes to clients. I reached out to Ana Gamboa, who was in Cohort 2, had interned and now has a full time position as an Employment Specialist at Chrysalis. I hit a few bumps in my internship and Ana was very sympathetic and generously offered her job seeking advice. I also met Kimberly James, who was in Cohort 1 and also interned at Chrysalis. We’ve become friends and will be serving as Co-Directors of Community Services for ASTD-LA in 2012. Now remember, I’ve only lived in California for just over a year and have met some great people who have become friends all through the “joys” of networking (yes, a pun IS intended).

Since attending the LA Fellows Program, I significantly changed my job seeking philosophy and strategy. This job opportunity happened though my LinkedIn network. Having been an active member of my professional organization (ASTD national & ASTD-LA chapter), I decided to join ASTD affiliated LinkedIn groups. I read a posting on the ASTD-LA LinkedIn group from the owner of this consulting firm, checked out his LinkedIn profile and company website. Per Lynnette Ward’s advice, I sent a personalized cover letter seeking a consulting position with his firm along with my resume. Within 10 days, I was offered a consulting position at his firm. Before the LA Fellows program, I wouldn’t even have thought about seeking a position that wasn’t posted on a job seeking website. The recession has made it quite challenging in seeking a full time job. Through the LA Fellows program, I realized the value of the hidden job market, being open to endless possibilities and the power of networking.

There’s no good luck charm or one size fit all solution in finding a job in this turbulent economy. However, I hope sharing my story will open your eyes to new opportunities and possibilities towards your job search.

Joy Gemberling, Cohort 4

LA Fellow Honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals

LA Fellow Jo Ellen Krumm, a nonprofit communications professional and grant writer, was honored as a Medallion Recipient by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater San Valley Chapter, at its National Philanthropy Day event on Nov. 3. Jo Ellen, a member of Cohort 1, volunteered many additional hours after her internship at Valley Village, a nonprofit that serves developmentally challenged adults.

National Philanthropy Day Medallion Recipient
Jo Ellen Krumm, an LA Fellow from Cohort 1,
with Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian at the awards event.