The Power of Speed Networking in Northeast Indiana

December 4th, 2017

Emerging Leader, Established Leader Share Perspective on Speed Networking Event

Last month, the Emerging Leaders Alliance gathered with business and community leaders from the region to network and make meaningful connections. However, this was not your normal networking event: these two groups were able to maximize on the opportunity to learn from the generation opposite them by making connections using a speed networking structure.

Speed networking takes on a similar framework as speed dating. For this event, emerging leaders were paired with an established leaders and posed a question about leadership and professional development. Each group was given 3 minutes to discuss the question and then ding, the bell rang and it was time to move on to meet the next individual.

After the event, we asked two leaders to share their experiences at Speed Networking, one from the vantage point of a young professional and the other as an established leader. The following details the event from the perspectives of Allison Acosta and Christie Bowen.

Allison Acosta, Financial Analyst II at Johnson Controls

1. Do you feel you came away from Speed Networking with valuable connections?

I definitely feel as if I came away from Speed Networking with valuable connections. Each leader had a unique career path and it was truly inspiring to hear their success stories. Being an accountant in manufacturing a very common job, but I connected with a few leaders that come from a similar background, which made me feel like I am on the right path to becoming a business leader.

2. What was the most insightful response you heard at Speed Networking?

After connecting with many established leaders, a few had spoken on how valuable it is to have a mentor throughout their careers. After hearing the leaders share their experiences on working with a mentor, this is definitely something I could benefit from throughout my growing career. Another point that was driven by many leaders was to keep an open mind to change and always be willing to learn. Embracing those two important mentalities can open the door for so many opportunities.

3. How did this event change your perspective on business and community leaders?

Speed Networking helped me realize there is no "right" way to become a leader in the community. Some of the community and business leaders said they didn't feel "qualified" to be on the other side of the table. Hearing the leaders say this put it into perspective that they were once on my side of the emerging leaders table. While it may seem impossible at times to get ahead in your career, it can be achieved through hard work and dedication.  

4. What can Northeast Indiana do as a region to continue bridging the gap between established and emerging leaders?

This event was the perfect opportunity to have the chance to bridge the gap between established and emerging leaders – it would be great to have more of these events!  The most exposure I've had with established business leaders has been at my place of employment over the years. It was rewarding to meet with leaders outside of my field that were willing to take the time to share meaningful advice and offer up contact information to stay connected.

5. Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience at Speed Networking?

Speed Networking overall was a great experience! Being a new member of ELA, I wasn't sure what to expect but it exceeded my expectations. The leaders’ willingness to offer advice, and openly share their stories meant a great deal to an emerging leader like myself. The ice breakers were insightful questions that led to meaningful discussions and put a new spin on some topics I always wondered myself. I'm excited to reconnect with the leaders I connected with and maybe even gain a mentor out of this event.

Christie Bowen, Associate at Wilcox & Associates

1. Do you feel you came away from Speed Networking with valuable connections?

Yes, absolutely. It’s always great to hear about the different things that young people are doing in our community as well as learn about different organizations in the city and surrounding areas. I walked away with several names and business cards of people to follow up with and continue the relationship that began at speed networking.

2. What was the most insightful response you heard at Speed Networking?

I think everyone was articulate and insightful! I’d have to say that several emerging leaders had clear visions for their future and path to success as well as engaging questions. If I had to pick one statement, I recall one young lady discussing the value of transparency in leadership.  

3. How did this event change your perspective on emerging leaders?

I am hopeful for our future generations of leaders, but this event solidified my belief that young people are out there making things happen. They aren’t afraid to be movers and shakers, and they have the energy and insight to really create change and do good.

4. What can Northeast Indiana do as a region to continue bridging the gap between established and emerging leaders?

More events like this! I think established leaders are very busy, so taking time to connect with emerging leaders at a planned event (with food!) is a good way for established leaders to prioritize these relationships. I think emerging leaders should be encouraged to follow up with, or shadow, particular established leaders that they found they particularly connected with.

5. Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience at Speed Networking?

It was well run, well-organized, and a lot of fun!

For more information about how you can connect with the Emerging Leaders Alliance, please contact Rachel Stephens

- By Rachel Stephens, Regional Partnership Intern

Categories & Tags Emerging Leaders Alliance