Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Accelerated Networking

Speed Dating, speed pitching and other quick quip-occasions where you sell yourself (personally or professionally) have been gaining momentum for a population that's short on time and attention. The latest characterization of this style of meeting and greeting to hit the streets of New York is eWomenNetwork's "Accelerated Networking" luncheons. Held at Avra's on Wednesday, February 27th, eWomenNetwork managing director Linda Levin was quick to explain the rules. You were to sit next to someone you didn't know one of the seven tables. Each woman was given 30-seconds to deliver her elevator pitch. Meanwhile, the other women would take notes on the back of their business cards and if they had a contact or lead for the speaker, they were to hand over their business card so the speaker could follow up with them for the lead. After one round of this a sumptuous lunch was served family style and the thirty women listened to a video tape of eWomenNetwork founder & CEO Sandra Yancey and then workshop speaker Roni Abrams, who is president of her own firm and founder of the Center for Networking.

I had the privilege of sitting with consultant Margo Hansen, Morgan Stanley financial advisor Kathryn O'Hagan, Meadows furnishing solutions Rebecca Ellington, The Consulting Group managing director and Exelcior bookkeeping services president Mila Harris at the first table. And then, after the speaker spoke (as they are wont to do), we all switched tables. Over dessert Carol Long (who does mortagages), MetLife Wall Street Planning Association agency director Sunita Bajaj, event and board governance consultant Jodi Kass-Tracten and Faulding Architecture's Margaret Davis and I exchanged our pitches at a second table.

In addition to eWomenNetwork's actual events, their online network is a growing database of women who believe in supporting other women-owned and operated businesses. While some of us wished there was a bit more time on switching tables and actual networking as opposed to hearing a sales-y pitch on the power of the organization, everyone had a great time and made some solid contacts.