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I first met Amanda Delaney of We Can & We Will at a LeanIN event, probably about 18 months ago. It was only a fleeting meeting, a handshake and a couple of pleasantries. But even from that brief encounter, I knew she was dynamic and full of energy.
We Can & We Will – An Interview With Amanda Delaney
This week, I got to interview Amanda and I wanted to get the lowdown on her ‘high trust network’, We Can & We Will. I wasn’t disappointed and this lady is possibly powered by Duracell. She abounds with energy and passion, both for what she does and for her community.
In order to get some background on why Amanda Delaney set up her network, I asked her to tell me a little bit about her background. Originally she was a beauty therapist and had a salon for many years. All of her networking was within her own domain, so she decided that she needed to widen her network and develop new skills, gain new contacts to help her within her business life.
The experience was frustrating, daunting, intimidating, overwhelming, exhausting – probably a lot of adjectives to describe how many of us have and do feel when we first start networking. She felt like an outsider, skirting around the perimeters of the room, cup of tea in hand and shaking with the trepidation of having to ‘break into’ a group to start a conversation. She’d make headway, chat a bit and come away jaded, uncomfortable, and feeling underwhelmed with what she felt were poor pitches delivered about her business. She didn’t feel comfortable with the lingo, the business jargon and in essence it was just awkward.
What Came Next?
As with any good entrepreneur, when you can’t find a solution that fits your need, you make it happen yourself. And this is where her network was born. She invited a few people to a lunch in the Red Cow Moran Hotel. On the first day, a lady came with a candle (product from her business) and it had the words, ‘I Can and I Will’ on it. This is what inspired Amanda’s business name, ‘We Can & We Will’ and a new chapter commenced.
She was inspired by her values of honesty, loyalty, kindness and respect. The group grew from strength to strength, but with it the dynamic changed and it was becoming a lot like many other networks. Amanda tired of people coming in to hand out business cards, push their business and just come with the purpose of selling. This irked her immensely, or as she would say herself, it ‘got up her goat’! So something had to change and Amanda stopped doing these meetings as they were configured at that stage.
At one of the meetings, someone had asked Amanda what her own goals were. Upon reflection she said she wanted to get better at public speaking. When others attending the meeting heard this, they also said they wanted to achieve this goal. A new strand to Amanda’s business was born. She runs her We Can and We Will Talks every 6 weeks and it’s open to everyone. Initially these began in the Montrose branch of Bank of Ireland, where she would bring together 4 speakers to share their story and this would be mixed in with some relaxed networking. All of these sessions have successfully moved on line.
Amanda now runs a speaker school. She collaborates with speaker Gerry Duffy to run workshops and training to help people become more focussed, clear and confident in delivering their messages and conveying what their business does and how it helps people or solves problems. The We Can and We Will speaker school runs two or three times a year. As she says, ‘facts will tell, stories will sell’.
A key skill in any successful networker is the ability to actively and openly listen. As Amanda Delaney listens to her tribe and the problems they are trying to solve, she develops and runs workshops to deliver a solution. She delivers exercise classes, has collaborated to run workshops on computer skills, social media development, confidence building with Nicola Connolly-Byrne and more. As she says herself, she collaborates with leaders and experts to deliver solutions that are necessary and vital to her community.
The Gala Dinner
Last year, Amanda hosted a Gala Dinner in the Lucan Spa hotel. Members of her facebook community and her network at large, nominated each other for prizes and awards. Amanda Delaney simply beamed as she spoke of her pride at bringing her tribe together. She’s not sure if 2020 is a runner due to the current Covid19 circumstances, but if it can happen, there is nothing that is going to stop her bringing her stars together to celebrate in style!
Passion to Profit Academy
A year ago in 2019, Amanda set up an academy where she runs a couple of times a year. It’s a 90 day programme to help business people get the foundations right for propelling their business to success. She helps business owners show up with purpose with her Passion to Profit Academy.
It tends to be a lot of women, but it’s open to both men and women who simply want to have a coach who is no-nonsense, open, no-jargon orientated and who passionately wants to see her clients succeed. And she is succeeding herself. I asked Amanda how 2020 is panning out for her and she said her business income has tripled this year. It’s her most successful year to date. Said with pride and a great sense of achievement.
So what’s Amanda’s secret sauce? Well, it all goes back to her values of honesty, respect, kindness and loyalty. Her community trust her implicity. She was daunted by networking and overwhelmed. She did something about it. To start a group, to learn, to push herself…she has walked the walk, and not just talked the talk. She makes her members feel safe, and gives them the foundation to become more confident…and with that comes empowerment and success.
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