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NetworkMe Podcast – Episode 1 – An Introduction to Your Host
Click here to listen to this week’s episode or if you prefer to read about my background, keep on reading!
Hello, and welcome to the NetworkMe Podcast. I’m your host. My name is Jean Evans, and in Episode One, I wanted to give you a little bit of background on what to expect in the upcoming episodes. So we’re going to run a solo episode, and then every second one is going to be an interview episode. And the topic is networking, business networking. What does it mean? What does it feel like? How can you network more confidently, strategically, with intention to get the right impact for your business, for your career and for your life?
So in order to set the tone, what I thought I’d do is give you a little bit of background and tell you a little bit about myself. And why am I talking to you about networking? Okay, so my background is I was 22 years in tourism and business tourism. And I was actually interviewed on somebody else’s podcast recently, and I was asked about who I was as a child. And what struck me was that I spoke very little about my childhood, and the first two decades of my life, and the host took me right back, and he said, ‘Hold on a second, you’ve just lost over two decades of your life within 20 seconds’ and I respond well, there’s not an awful lot to say.
I was pathologically shy, I couldn’t talk to anyone, I would have crumbled. I was like, it would like be like being an egg crashing and falling on a kitchen tile and just lashing everywhere, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to a soul and I would have gone as red as a tomato. I literally had zero confidence. I was so shy, so scared all of the time. But within that, I also knew that there was a bit of fire in me.
And one of the things I learned very early on, and even though I couldn’t articulate it or explain it, when somebody told me I couldn’t do something. I was like, well, don’t tell me what to do. And it lit a little fire inside me. But another thing that happened was that when I started I was in my career, as I said 22 years in tourism and business tourism.
I was working out in Italy, and I lived there for many, many years. So I taught English in Turin to schools and companies. And then I worked up in Milan, and I lived there for four and a half years. And I had a fabulous years there. I did my work through Italian. We, I worked for Bord Failte, the Irish Tourist Board. So I travelled all over Italy. We also were head over Greece, Malta and Cyprus. And it was fabulous. After six years in Italy, I decided it was time for a change. So I had gone for a job in New York one was the same as one of the jobs I was doing in Milan. And the order was different. So I wanted to go for the business tourism job. And I got it because my alternative plan was to go to Spain and learn Spanish but got the job in New York. So I headed on over there. And after about a year in New York, and things change, I had got the offer of a job back in Dublin. So I ran the Convention Bureau in Dublin for five years. And then I got approached again to go into a company where I ran a department and I became what’s known as a professional conference organiser.
One of the things that is was sort of common through all of the roles that I had was that I had to do a lot of presenting. I was working in representing Ireland, Irish tourism, be general tourism or business tourism, for conferences for incentives for meetings, and I have to do a lot of presenting. And as I said, at the start of this episode, I was extremely shy. So it made me start coming out of myself. It made me start learning how to articulate and communicate messages. And I got to enjoy it.
But also what I realised was, I was selling a country and a message, but I believed in it. So I was able to do that. And the content was important and it wasn’t about me. So fast forward, then to the end of 2017. I got made redundant. And for many of you who have been in the shoes, I’m being made redundant. It’s never great. So I was coming off the back of maternity leave with my third child. So I was still feeding. I was hormonal. I have two other toddlers running about. And then I was told here’s your papers, you don’t have a job anymore. So it wasn’t amazing timing. Or so I thought at the time.
And what happened then was I had to reevaluate and look at myself. And I thought, right, what am I pillars? What are my transferable skills? And also bear in mind that I worked in tourism and I thought I was going to be doing this for life.
I thought I was going to have this career forever. I was a career corporate professional. I loved what I did. I travelled the world, I got to meet amazing people. I just loved it. It was stressful. There’s no days of biters, it’s one of the most stressful jobs in the world to be an event or conference organiser. but. I loved it. So when I was made redundant, I really had to think oh, my Lord, what are my about? So I thought, right sales, marketing management, they are my three sort of core pillars. And my partner has his own business. So he has a business in managed print services. And quite frankly, what I knew about printers was they printed, and in my previous lives, a printer either worked or it didn’t. And if it needed to be fixed, I didn’t know how it had to be fixed. It just had to be fixed. And I was going to get a cup of coffee. And when I’d come back, it would be fixed. But going into work in Brian’s business, I had to learn about printers, about the technology, about the brands about scanning, document management solutions, leasing asset financing, a load of stuff that I never thought I was going to ever need, quite frankly, I did that for a couple of years. And I did the marketing blogs, I did sales, I did a lot of networking.
And so a few things. And I’ve got to pull in a few strands of why this matters. Because when I finished on was made redundant for anybody who has been made redundant, you are going to go through an identity crisis, because have the T shirt on it’s got holes in it.
And who are you? And what I realised was I needed to understand my voice and what my voice stood for, what are my beliefs? What are my values? What was I? And what am I unequivocal about? And that was really important for me to explore and understand. Another observation was that when I stepped out of tourism having been made redundant, I didn’t know anyone in general business, and that was an eye opener as well.
So what I did was when I started working in Brian’s company, I started with networking, and I joined a local chamber. And then I joined a female networking group, and another group and another group and another group between 2018 and 2019. I was in probably about eight or nine different networks. I loved it.
Some of them were early mornings, and lunchtime some evening. Some were once a week, several once a month. So it was a whole myriad and variety of networks that I was involved in, and I really loved it.
But I saw people struggling, I saw a lack of confidence, I saw a lack of awareness. And I thought, Gosh, why isn’t anybody helping these people? So fast forward to COVID, the world implodes and March 2020. And all of our lives changed because of COVID-19. And I got furloughed, and cue, another identity crisis going, Oh, my Lord, what am I going to do? I have always worked. I don’t know what it’s like not to work. So I had been running a network, I had set up a couple of groups. And I had been doing a lot of things in the background. And that was keeping me ticking over.
But by September 2020, this finished. And I went into, right what does the future hold for me? And one of the things that I knew about myself is that I am resilient and adaptable. And I have been faced with lots of changes in my life. And I knew no matter what I would be able to pick myself back up. I then stood on when what is my passion, what we’re really want to do.
And I thought networking, I want to teach, and mentor and coach and help people and train them how to network strategically with intention to get the impact and influence they need to grow their career, to grow their business to grow themselves, because it is so powerful. So I decided to set up my business NetworkMe.
Now I’d also set up a blog. And part of this was in the background that I’d started writing in May 2020. And honestly, I didn’t have the courage to tell anybody about it. And I didn’t even tell Google and press it live till September 2020. I started getting more confident. And I started realising I have a message and a voice and a perspective on networking that can help so many people. And that’s why I wanted to start this blog because networking, for me, is a game changer. It is unbelievable in what it can do for you, personally. So who’s my target audience? Well, if you have a growth mindset, if you are ambitious, and if you want to be your best self, then networking is for you. Now I’m not what I have not said there is that you have to be super confident, I have not said that you need to know how to do it all. And that’s what I’m going to work on in the episodes is to show you and give you some of the tools and ideas and tips for how you can network with and for success. Because it is a game changer, it matters.
And what I have realised is that if you can network and grow yourself personally, you will grow professionally. But if you don’t know yourself, don’t know what makes you tick, don’t know your values, don’t know your why don’t know how to make yourself known don’t know how to articulate what you know to other people, you won’t get that job, you won’t get that promotion, you won’t get invited on to that project, you won’t get that sale, you won’t develop that strategic partnership.
So if you think you don’t have the skills, or you would like to improve the skills, then this podcast is for you. I want to talk to him ambitious people who think right, I’m not there yet. But I know I have that fire that Jean spoke about earlier in the episode, I have that fire in the belief that I can do better. And I want to do better. Because I want to build my business. I want to build my career. And I don’t want to not be able to connect with other people because that’s what networking is about. It’s about connecting with other human beings.
But networking is a skill. And this is something that people don’t realise because it’s not taught. Networking is a skill. You can learn it, you can perfect it. You it’s so nuanced to everybody’s background to their socio demographics, their education is so nuanced. So everybody’s journey is going to be slightly different. But here’s the thing, it’s a skill, you can learn it. And if you want to succeed in business, if you want to succeed in your career, you have to learn how to network. So I want to take you on a journey in the coming up with those through interviews. We’re gonna talk about networking, the impact of career, we’re gonna talk about imposter syndrome. We’re gonna talk about leadership, we’re going to talk about so many different aspects that you have necessarily thought about. But networking is core to everything.
I mentioned also that I am shy or that I was very, very shy, and shyness and something that goes is you learn to manage it. Is it social anxiety? So is it still there? Yes. Have I learned manage it? Yes. And I’ll talk to you about that in future episodes. But the other thing that I’d like to point out is that I am an introvert. I come across so many introverts that don’t think that they can network. And one of my messages is you absolutely can. And networking, when you learn to do it will become one of your superpowers. So we’re going to explore that in quite a bit of depth.
Because there’s a lot of labels, there’s a lot of myths that I want to debunk, I want to demystify networking. I want you. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, the first of the NetworkMe Podcast.
What’s Coming Up in Episode 2
Next episode, we’re going to be talking to Siobhan Fitzpatrick from The Networking Hub. So I look forward to bringing that interview to you. If you would like to rate, to subscribe and review the podcast, I’d really appreciate it. That’s how it’s gonna get out and about.
Share The NetworkMe Podcast
If you feel that you’ve got a colleague, a friend, another business owner, business bestie, who could benefit from following this podcast and learning a little bit more about networking and expanding their horizons and how networking can be understood and interpreted. Please do send them to the NetworkMe Podcast, I would be delighted to have them in the audience and to help transform people’s perceptions of networking. So once again, thanks very much.
I’m your host, Jean Evans. This is the NetworkMe Podcast.
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