Friday, November 21, 2008

Tears to my Eyes

I was blown away today.

After visiting the Hannah's Socks blog the other evening, I read about the opportunity to become a recurring donor. I signed right up. Today in the mail as promised I received a package that contained some Hannah's Socks goodies AND

a personal thank you note from 8 year-old Hannah.

Now, I'm sure you have received a thank you note from the charities you have donated money to -- it just makes good sense for them to go to the effort. But I must admit that I thought I would get a word-processed letter perhaps with Hannah's signature.

But oh no! This note was on cream-colored construction paper, with a beautiful crayon drawing of socks. In her third grade printing style, Hannah wrote this note:

"Dear Ms. Deby, Hi, Thank you for donating to Hannah's Socks. We have a lot of homeless people to take care of. I am glad you are helping me. Love, Hannah"

Now I ask you? Does this 8 year old have her head on straight?????

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I just finished reading a book, Gardens of Water, about how mistaken beliefs and innuendo can kill people. In this book, set in Muslim Turkey, a young girl commits suicide because her community has turned against her with lies and rumors.

Gossip hurts. Gossip makes people what they aren't. As grandma probably said, "Gossip is what people do when they don't have better things to do."

Gossip and networking certainly don't go hand in hand. If I am networking with you and you tell me something about someone else, it makes me wonder what you're saying about me to the next person. If you tell me something that I find out later is not true, then your credibility has taken a dive.

Gossip is easy. Promotion seems to be more difficult for many people.

I am a huge proponent of the philosophy of, "if you have an issue with someone, talk to them." When you tell someone else about the issue, it can't be solved and you've created an additional problem.

Just think of how much better our world would be if we all had open communication.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

They're Here!

You've heard me complain about how some people employee the "Black Widow Spider Method of Networking." That's where a networker backs you into the corner, wraps you in his web and then proceeds to talk about himself and why you should buy his product for the next twenty minutes."

So maybe I am exaggerating a little. Maybe it's only 19 minutes.

To make my message heard, that networking is about relationship development, not selling, I have had some buttons produced.

See them here!

I know that the very people that need to see the message will be blind to these buttons, but at least I'll feel better!

What do ya think?

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's a Poopy Day

Update #2

My friend Marcia, has been going through treatment for Ovarian Cancer. You can read one of the posts about it here.

While the journey has not been easy, Marcia has kept her perspective about her and has also kept her sense of humor.

After surgery in September to remove the cancerous tumors, she was having to manage a colostomy bag - albeit a temporary one, but in the moment that doesn't matter. Of all the medical issues she has had to deal with, this challenged her the most. But she got through it. And November 5 was a red letter day because the colostomy was reversed.

And in a conversation I had with Marcia on Friday, she was proud to report that, "Yes, she had already had a poopy day!" In fact, she had done the poopy dance.

Now, I ask ya', can that comment do anything but make ya' smile?

Even better are the test markers. At her caringbridge website she reports,

"At present the only marker to diagnose Ovarian Cancer is the blood test called CA125. For women who don't have cancer the average number is 35. Last Tuesday my number was 42!! The doc's will keep going with the chemo for 4 or 5 more cycles but I think the numbers tell an awesome story. (note: Marcia'a had been up over 4000 at one time.)

Words cannot express how grateful we are for your love and concern. Keep the positive energy flowing and the prayers ascending, and do the same for all you know who are dealing with this dreaded disease."

I am so proud of my friend, Marcia. She has been a mentor all my life and with this chapter in our lives, she continues to show the way.

Thanks, Marcia!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Update #1

It's update time.

Back in March of this year I wrote about my friend Mary Simmons' brother in this post. The basic concept was that because of my relationship with Mary I wanted to help publicize her sister-in-law's effort to raise money for Mary's brother's alternative treatment for his prostate cancer. This was treatment that insurance would not cover.

Last week Mary and I took some time to have coffee. Just so you know, enough money was gathered to send her brother to California for treatment. While no lifespan is ever guaranteed, her bro with be at Thanksgiving this year feeling pretty good.

Mary forwarded me an email that her sister-in-law, Gina, sent to her while they were in California.

"The doctors were thrilled with George's progress here, and believe that his journey to healing will be very successful. We are encouraged and optimistic!! It feels amazing to have this kind of support and encouragement in the midst of what has often felt like a very scary situation. He has a take-home regime of supplements and diet- all very manageable- along with the ongoing expertise and watchcare of the doctors here. We definitely don't feel alone on this path."

As we begin to roll through the month of November, I am thankful for all the friends I have and how full they make my life. The relationships add depth to my life experience. Mary's story is just one example of how that happens!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nose to the Grindstone

Part of networking is setting goals for what you want to achieve.

One of the students in my Certified Networker class shared one way that he keeps doing what he needs to do to be successful.

His fiancee is one of his accountability partners. Their commitment to each other is that on Friday night she asks him if he has done what he said that he was going to do for the week. If the answer is yes, they go out for dinner, if not that money they set aside for dinner instead goes to a charity.

He knows that she'll want to go out to eat, and while he doesn't mind giving money to charity, he likes to share time with this wonderful woman in his life.

It is simple and ingenious, because both accountability partners have something to gain in the process.

What systems have you set up to be accountable?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What I Learned From Mom

Every month I have been asked to give the networking tip at the GreaterFindlayInc's morning networking program called Fresh Brewed. I have just a minute or two, so I have to be clear, concise and hopefully memorable.

There is always a theme. Tuesday if was "Elect to be Involved." (It was election day in the US.)

So I decided to tell a story about my mother.

My parents moved 17 times in the first 11 years of their marriage. After the first three or four moves my very shy mother realized that if she didn't make a friend the day she hit town, that six months later she would be leaving without any friends. This was a challenge to begin with, but she became very good at it. In their heyday, my parents penned a handwritten personal message on over 700 Christmas cards every year. I guess she got over her shyness!

Fast forward to me making the move to Toledo in 1992 not knowing a soul except for my new husband. The first year I traveled out of town each week for business and when I went to the grocery store each weekend, I saw no familiar faces. Then remembering my mom, I decided to get involved in the community. My father-in-law recommended a group. I attended the first meeting one weekend morning. The next weekend I walked into the grocery store and my day was made when someone said, "Hi Debby."

I ended my story Tuesday by saying that we can elect to be involved for what we can get, but to remember that we need to reach out to those who are new and not connected.

You could hear a pin drop.

After the formal meeting was over, several people came up to me who have not spoken to me ever before and I've received several emails from people commenting. I think I hit a chord that is in all of us, that of being alone and left out.

So the general election is over for another four years. Even so, you can elect to be the person who says hello to those that really need it!

That's what networking is to me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Unexpected Resources

Last week I spoke at the Enterprise Ohio Network conference in Dublin, Ohio. It is the professional association of those who provide continuing and professional training. It is always interesting what I find out when I present at such events.

My talk, as always, focused on aspects of networking. This time I had been asked to speak about the various types of networking groups that these professionals could attend or join in order to get them out of their "caves." During the presentation, Dwain Henderson Sr., commented that if those in the room wanted to connect with the black community that there were plenty of club, groups and organizations that catered to this population.

After the presentation, Dwain chatted with me about one such group. He asked me if I had ever heard of I had to admit that I had not. This morning I finally had a few minutes to check out the site. It looks like a very good resource.

Additionally, the site tells about a conference being held in June 24-27 '09 for black community leaders, business people and professionals. It is billed as a the largest black networking event. If you want to connect to, sell to or are a member of the black community, this is something you might want to check out.

Thanks, Dwain, for the information.