Picture if you will a venn diagram. Woman A is in the left circle, a nonprofit executive who is trying to engage professional women in supporting the organization’s work. Woman B in the right circle is a corporate executive, busy with work and other obligations, trying to find ways to support other women while finding some balance in her own life. At the center, where the circles intersect, is Cynthia, supreme networker. What makes Cynthia unique is that her interest is not only in networking for her own personal gain, but more so to connect women who have shared interests. As a beneficiary of Cynthia’s networking proficiency (SWSG has gained many volunteers and financial support through connections she has made on our behalf) I have made the following observations of what makes Cynthia’s networking so successful for those she connects. Here is my take on Cynthia’s top 5 networking practices:
–          Networking Practice #1: Follow up.  A voicemail introduction is often followed up with a more detailed email and a promise to call back in a certain number of days. And she always does.
–          Networking Practice #2: Preparation. Cynthia carries with her not only her own relevant information (business cards, resumes when appropriate) but also information about the organizations she supports (often focused on women and girls or the arts).
–          Networking Practice #3: Participation. Cynthia not only makes introductions, she often joins those she’s connecting at their first encounter.
–          Networking Practice #4: Generosity. Cynthia will share information and resources readily and believes in the ‘what goes around comes around’ philosophy that if she gives she too will receive.
–          Networking Practice #5: Advocacy. Cynthia will advocate for a friend or colleague in a networking situation. For example, a friend of Cynthia’s is interested in joining the SWSG Advisory Council, a non-fiduciary group of leaders who help the local organization achieve development and outreach goals. Cynthia has taken the time to write up a bit about the friend and why she thinks she would be a good addition to the Council.
Recently Cynthia introduced me to someone she thought should get involved with SWSG. Although unable to attend that first meeting, Cynthia had contacted both of us that morning to make sure we were still planning to meet and to reiterate why she thought we should connect. While this new contact and I were meeting, another contact of Cynthia’s walked into the restaurant. It turns out the woman I was meeting with had met this other woman just an hour before, again thanks to Cynthia’s introduction. We were standing in a circle, the three of us, talking about our shared admiration and respect for Cynthia. She had given all of us the great gift of meeting each other and we were so grateful to be part of the Circle of Cynthia.