Networking: That Miracle Word

The following post is an excerpt from Find Your Inner Red Shoes: Step Into Your Own Style of Success by Mariela Dabbah. Networking is very important - Though the following chapter is devoted to this topic, I’d like to share a few distinctions with you now for expanding your network.

Mentor

A person who guides you in aspects related to your career/job development. A mentor may be formal or casual and at different hierarchical levels provided that he/she is an expert you respect in the area in which you seek guidance. (For instance, many companies match more experienced people with newly hired employees to guide them from the beginning on how the company operates. Others pair young juniors with executives to teach them how to use social media tools.) Depending on the areas that you are looking to develop, you may want to have more than one mentor. If you own your own business you might look to other businesspeople as mentors, individuals who have sound companies and can share their experience on how to get government contracts, how to become certified as a Women Owned Business or Minority Owned Business, and how to manage employees, and so on.

Sponsor

If you hold a mid level position or higher, a sponsor is a person who is at the top of the ladder in your company or in a key position in your industry who may not know you personally but follows your career or knows of you and your achievements. They’re the person who suggests your name whenever a good opportunity comes along, and who can open up doors that were closed earlier. If you are at a lower level, a sponsor can be a mid level manager who can suggest opportunities for your career development.

Advocate

This individual may hold any job level and is someone who speaks well of you in your absence. Although sponsors are also your advocates, it’s not quite the same. An advocate admires and respects you and acts like your cheerleader. They cooperate in building your reputation by commenting on your latest initiative, pointing out how well you treated someone, the opportunity you gave him/her, how much you help the community or how you’re always willing to help others with their projects. I’ve acquired numerous clients thanks to advocates I met at conferences who recommended me to their bosses. They can be as important as sponsors!

Advisor

This person can be an acquaintance, friend or colleague who knows you well and who you can trust to inquire about specific topics you need help with. It may be timely to choose a board of advisors to seek advice on issues concerning your personal brand. Some of these advisors are hired professionals, like an agent or a lawyer; others provide advice out of good will or in exchange for a service you can provide. For example, I have a career advisor who helps me establish and meet my goals; a producer who advices me on media issues; a lawyer, a literary agent, an agent for my media career, and so on.

The Voice Of Experience

“Academically and professionally, my two most memorable mentors were African American males. My grad school professor, Walter Stafford, dedicated his career to race and gender equity and instilled in me a deep sense of respect and appreciation for fighting the good fight and seeking equity and social justice in all I did. A graduate member of the Board of Coro New York Leadership Program, a leading civic organization, saw something in me and thoughtfully tried to guide me professionally, gave me the most practical and sound advice on how to advance in corporate America, ‛Position yourself as a revenue generator because that enhances your value. Don’t go into HR.’ "I ended up borrowing lessons from both and building a career foundation on the business side which translated into a successful transition to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility,) diversity and inclusion. On a practical note, my mentors have also served as conduits of information, sponsors internally and externally, and have helped promote me in their internal circles. —Daisy Auger-Domínguez, Vice President Organizational and Workforce Diversity at Disney ABC Television Group

Your Turn

If you want to get rid of the knot in your stomach every time you hear the word “negotiation,” you can’t miss this date. Join Mariela Dabbah for her webinar "Negotiating Skills: From Negotiating Salary to Negotiating Your Next Career Move" as she shares the fundamental insights that will reveal old thinking patterns that are interfering with your own goals.

Some Key Learnings Include:

  • What does it mean to be prepared for a negotiation?
  • What’s negotiable?
  • How do I know when to walk away from negotiating salary?
  • What are some creative ways to negotiate that are being underutilized?
  • Plus a Q & A at the end.
  WATCH NOW ►   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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