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Connector of the Month

SEPTEMBER

meghan21webMeghan Simington
Founder, Reinventing M Network
@reinventingm @momincmovement @coquitlammommy

Work: Working Mom meets Entrepreneur. Founder of the Reinventing M Network, Western Canada’s go-to resource for connecting Working Women learning opportunities. Hosting this years mSummit, featuring Arlene Dickinson & Tamara Taggart on November 16th. Occasionally moonlighting as a social media business advisor for solo-preneurs.

After Work: Mom of 2. Adventure seeker, hiker, skier, and road biker. CoquitamMommy.ca founder, planning community events, evening social events and hosting a weekly outreach for new moms in the Tricities.

Fave Networking Events: Conferences are the top of my list. These are the hub of my business and an opportunity to connect with businesses and experts that are passionate about what they do. But my main business inspiration comes from hosting, blogging and attending local community events, and Social Media/Business/Blogger workshops. All of these get me thinking outside of the box and inspiring growth in my business and network.

Networking Advice: Find the food! No one can resist an introduction over a cocktail and goat cheese topped bruschetta. But most importantly, take the time to prepare for events and tweet other attendees before hand asking them make time to grab a chat and not feel rushed. Be authentic when building relationships and take the time to listen to what they have to share, everyone has a story. Taking time for a quick chat can offer insight into their industry or a chance to build a valuable relationships.

AUGUST

my red suit picMaria Kritikos
Founder, Ladies Who Lunch
Sales Advisor, Rennie & Associates
@Maria_Kritikos  @LunchWithMaria

What you do for work: I lead a movement to inspire women to realize their limitless power & not be suppressed & paralyzed by inaction when it comes to achieving their dream. We do this through a series of exclusive & inspirational networking lunches called Ladies Who Lunch…oh, & I sell homes in my spare time.

What you do after work: Work is play for me & the two are so effortlessly interwined that it is a pure delight to not be able to distinguish.  They are one and the same, so essentially, my life is a playground filled with doing the things that make my heart sing on a daily basis.

Fave networking events: airport lounges & waiting for the valet. I talk to a lot of strangers.

Networking advice: To be interesting, you have to be interested.  Often people listen but they don’t hear – Actively listen to the other person & genuinely be interested in what they have to say…and if you find yourself drifting, repeat back what they said to you…often easier said than done. Try it.

Quote to live by: It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything

Strive to have a life so full that you don’t have time to worry about the things that don’t matter – me

Business book recommends: The Hell Ya Diaries, Suzanne Evans

JULY

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Jeff Booth
President & CEO; Co-founder, Build Direct
@Jeffbooth

Jeff is the CEO and co-founder of BuildDirect, the leading online destination for heavy weight building materials. Jeff is a visionary leader who built an impressive team to reduce cost and simplify the building industry.  Jeff is also an active member of Young President’s Organization since 2005 and is a frequent speaker to industry groups throughout North America.

Jeff is a dedicated husband and dad, committed to life-long learning and to creating lasting benefits in personal, educational, and commercial endeavors.  Read more about Jeff and his thoughts on the building materials industry by reading and subscribing to his blog, Building Into the Future.

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I came to know about who Jeff Booth was through Twitter. I honestly think he came up as “recommended people to follow” in my twitter feed one morning so I hit follow. I liked what he had to say, I connected with it. Then a few months later, Jeff was featured in Marc Smith’s ’30 Day Adventures – 30 People You Should Know’. I read his interview and I could just tell Jeff was a genuinely great guy. Even as a CEO of an incredibly fast growing company, he made the time to connect and even mentor people from the community that had no direct connection to his company. I have complete respect for this. Jeff has a wonderful reputation in Vancouver as being honest, genuine, brilliant and an incredible business leader and after spending only 15 minutes with him to ask him a few questions, I understand why.

He is a values driven leader. In fact, one of Build Direct’s core values is “Empathy for All”. How often do you hear multi-million dollar companies incorporating empathy into their business model? We were honoured to feature Jeff Booth as our “Connector of the Month” for July.

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Networking in Van had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff and here’s what we learned!

What does the word ‘networking’ mean to you?

To be honest, it doesn’t evoke the warm fuzzy feelings. Early on, I had a rather negative impression of networking. I did get out to a lot of different events but what I was finding was that people just seemed to be interested in your title, not who you were. This turned me off networking and I took a long break from it. A little later on, I discovered the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and that changed my opinion. I discovered that there were people out there that wanted to build meaningful relationships and not just exchange business cards.

You are well entrenched in the Vancouver business scene and are widely followed on twitter by over 100,000 people.  How do you use social media for networking?

I think that is the inherent flaw of social media. I appreciate that I have a large following on twitter, but I don’t necessarily think that makes you well connected. You may have a lot of contacts, but how many of those people are actual real connections, real relationships? I definitely use social media to talk about personal interests, what our company is doing and it does give you the ability to connect with people, just in a different way.

Did you have mentors throughout your career?

I have had hundreds of mentors. I had many people that provided good advice and were there as a sounding board but there isn’t one particular person I would say that was a mentor to me. I did learn a lot from reading business books.

What are some of your favourite business books?

I read somewhere between 40-60 business books a year. I am an avid Jim Collins reader. I like Seth Godin’s books too. “The Only Way to Win” (How building character drives higher achievement and greater fulfillment in business and life) by Jim Loehr is great. I also recommend “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.

Any networking advice for us?

It might be cliché, but Be Yourself. Seriously. Don’t try to pretend to be something you’re not, people see through that.

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