Continuing the Conversation, AFTER the Conference Ends

Building RelationshipsI am back in Missouri after spending several days in sunny California at the BoardSource Leadership Forum.  The conference was attended by over 800 nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers.  This year’s themes were about bold leadership, taking risks and thinking big!

I always come back excited and energized.  The information, networking and joy of spending those few days with successful nonprofit leaders can’t stop when I get off the plane.  To keep the momentum alive I jotted down the steps I am going to take to continue to network with these amazing leaders.  I thought I would share them with you:

1.  Pull the cards I have collected out of the bottom of my bag.  Yes, I did have to write this down.  How many times do we come back from a conference or meeting and forget to pull the business cards we collected out of the bottom of our swag bags?  I take the cards out and write on them where I collected them from.  In three months when I come across the card on my desk, I will know when and where I got it.

2.  Send out personal emails.  When I collect cards at conferences, I usually write a note on them when I get them so I can remember what this individual and I were talking about ( I always think I will remember and I don’t) so I write it down on the card.  RIGHT AWAY!  So when I pull the cards out today, I send a personal email letting people know how much I enjoyed meeting them!  Hopefully the conversations we had can continue!

3.  Become Colleagues on LinkedIN.  I LOVE social media, so this is the perfect opportunity to reach out and LinkedIN is the perfect place to do it!

4. Don’t wait for a conference to do this next time!  I try to follow these basic steps at the end of every week.  It doesn’t always happen but its a great way to stay connected.

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The Best of the Entrepreneurial Spirit

87540617 (1)When I was a little girl spending time with my Grandma Dolan, she was always bragging about my cousin Johnny.  ”That Johnny, he’s an entrepreneur.”  He was selling cigars out of his car, buy hey, he was an entrepreneur.  Her praise for him alway stuck with me.

According to the dictionary an entrepreneur is a person who organizes, operates and assumes the risk for a business venture.

Nonprofits do this everyday the only difference is they aren’t working so hard assuming all the risks for stockholders to make money, they are doing it to build strong communities and in some cases, save lives.

Nonprofits have had to organize, operate and assume the risks all at the same time they have had to be innovators and leaders in developing solutions.  Sometimes without support or resources.  If Grandma Dolan were still here, I hope that she would see me as an entrepreneur too, not for starting a business but for organizing, operation and risking it all to help families and communities throughout Missouri.

For a little inspiration this morning, I encourage you to read, Innovation, Inspiration from Nonprofits.  Are great article that reminds us of the human spirit’s need to be a good neighbor.


Innovate or Die, Lessons Learned From My Son

Rebecca Gordon and her son Jared on the first day of senior year 2013.

Rebecca Gordon and her son Jared on the first day of senior year 2013.

Today is the first day of school here in Jefferson City.  Each first day I have made my son stand outside of our house while I take  ”first day of school” pictures.  This year, I took my final photo and sent my son on to start his senior year in high school.  What a bittersweet moment!

As I happily waved him away ( I cried after I shut the front door) it got me to thinking about the lessons an adult should take away from watching children grow.  From Jared’s first day in kindergarten when his pockets overflowed with Hot Wheels to this final picture, when he drove away in his own car, children are personal innovators, moving through the stages of childhood, not afraid but full of life’s great new adventures. They are always moving forward, growing, changing, learning and building toward the adults they will one day become.

Today I am going to apply this lesson to my business, looking forward to the adventure with an eye on innovation.  To help me along I read this great post from Ryan Holmes, CEO at HootSuite.  Innovate or Die: 3 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Curve.