In Networking, I get to…practice the art of conversation.
When did you join PWN? October 2009. I was referred in by Breeze Carlile.
Why are you still a member? I like the people in PWN, and I enjoy learning about the different businesses and operations. I tried BNI but found it to be cult like. It was very robotic, “you must have this many leads”. PWN is not like that at all; it’s very much do-your-own -thing.
What inspired you to start your own business? Prior to launching my business, I worked in non-profits, finance and fundraising campaigns. It was a “respectable” career; I had an office that I went in to every day, but I was not happy with it. It got to the place where I wasn’t happy when looking at myself in the mirror. Starting your own business is a pain in the butt, but I could make life work better for myself. I got to be myself without someone else getting me to fit into a corporate personality. I don’t have to impress the bankers and the lawyers, who would take one look at my paisley tights and combat boots and go “What?”.
What do you enjoy about it? The organizing: it’s full of variety. I like being able to go into different settings, seeing different types of houses, meeting different types of people. It’s never the same twice.
I also enjoy being able to manage my time differently; it’s not 9 to 5. And then there’s the self-discovery, I’ve grown my aptitude in dealing with a range of personalities, from hoarders to those close to death.
What are some of your secrets to success? I was never one to follow a script. I think you get to define success yourself by looking into yourself. There were a number of side-ways looks at me for doing my own work. It’s not been easy, it was hard to decide to create my own life. For me, it’s worth it. “Do your own thing.”
How do you think being a woman in your profession has been more or less challenging than your male counterparts? I can answer this question through gender differences. There aren’t many men in my industry. As a woman, I’m very, very, very aware of personal safety, as a man may not be. I’m more vulnerable than a man, and my skill in sizing up people is useful. I’ve also taken courses in non-violent communication; de-escalation a conversation is another way I stay safe.
What role has networking played in your business? It plays a tremendous role. So much of what I do is working directly with people and directly with their relationship to their stuff. I have to size up their personality, “Is this client a good fit for me? Are they open for intervention with their stuff?” Through networking, I’ve learned how to deal with people you don’t often see in an office. In networking, I get to practice talking with a range of women and men and practice the art of conversation.
What do you enjoy outside of work? Beer, road trips, camping, and building teardrop trailers. It’s really fun for me to design, layout plans and build. In building a trailer, I get to organize, arrange space and consider how to use space.
Can you share something about you that PWN friends don’t know? I built one trailer, and I”m now building a second one.
Do you have a strange or funny work story to share? Again, I have a different perspective. Nobody knows when you’re screwing up. No one knows your business; they’re all trying to keep their heads above water and aren’t looking to closely at you. For things to go off well just keep going.
What’s your favorite lunch entrée? Since I’ve yet been to Delancey Street, I remember a lunch in the café at the Hotel Adagio when their new chef presented a buffet with a choice of beef, chicken and tasty vegetables.