Connector Beth

Non-profit professional. Care deeply about family, friends and community. Love to problem-solve. Love to laugh. Love to read. Love to learn.

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In Case You Didn’t Know It, Networking Is Really Important…

So y’all…. .don’t know if you knew this, but I happen to be the Queen (or at least the Duchess) of Networking in southeast Minnesota….. AKA….. A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met.

For the purposes of this post, please take a few minutes to read what I have written, then feel free to come up with your own conclusions…. ūüôā

This has always been my creed, my strength, my motto……

Gallup (you know, the people who publish all those polls….) put together something called¬†the Strengths Finder several years ago. I took their online test. My biggest strength – no surprise to those who know me – was Win Others Over (WOO)….. in other words, I am the person that sits next to you on the 2-hour airplane ride and learns your entire life story by the time we land.¬†

Some people have criticized me for this, have called me “bossy” and “intrusive.” Funny, though, I am neither. In fact, I would¬†prefer to retreat into reading a book or a magazine on the afore-mentioned flight. But that doesn’t usually happen. Generally, people want to be heard, or understood, or known.

So, often, it takes only a couple simple questions like, “How are you doing? Where are you travelling?” for people to open up and completely dump their guts, for lack of a better phrase…..

Sometimes, I really don’t want to hear people’s sacred and deep stories. Most of the time, though, I do…..¬†

In 2007, I was named the Spirit of Winona, a huge honor from¬†several local businesses, organizations, etc. – it was based on my efforts of helping our community recover from a violent flash flood…… During¬†that time, I had many opportunities to reflect on how important relationships are and how important networking is.

And the answer is….. “Relationships are Key, No Matter What You Do.”

Fast-forward a couple years to when our son joined an international student organization…. he came home during spring break and said – with a straight face – “Mom, I don’t know if you know this, but networking is very important.” Yes, I earnestly agreed with him, and only started laughing hysterically about 10 minutes later. Son and I still agree – with rueful laughter and grins – that this is important.

And, fast-forward again to today….. son sent me a link to a free webinar about how to make 6 figures in your consulting business. Of course, this is something I would be interested in – I hope and want to be successful in my new business of consulting for and with non-profit organizations!!! – so I dutifully signed up, and logged in.¬†

The great thing about webinars is that they can play¬†on your computer while you accomplish other tasks. Good thing I did that yesterday…… the webinar about “Making 6 Figures While You Sleep” (or something)….. told me, after 51 minutes of my life (while I was making to-do lists and e-mailing people I wanted¬†to connect with)…. that building relationships is the key to building a business.

Wow! I am so impressed… that I have actually held this¬†key to success myself, for all these years! The great news is that I hold this key, and that I don’t have to start from scratch. And, son Nic, thank you for being so honest and earnest with me during your early AIESEC years!

Don’t get me wrong… I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this free webinar…. Overall, though, it will be fantastic when I am able to truly start trusting myself and my instincts when it comes to my business of helping non-profit organizations become even more successful in what they are doing to help their clients and to improve our communities…..


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Batter Up! (Cue Up My Most-Loved Summer Sound.)

(Up-front disclaimer: My least-loved summer sound is that of tornado sirens wailing. That eerie sound punches me in the gut. Every single time.)

My most-loved summer sound – on the other hand – is happy, and simple: baseball games on the radio.

Tonight, I’m so glad to listen to¬†the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star Game on the radio. Sure, I could stay inside the house and watch it on TV. But that wouldn’t be quite the same. To be authentic, in my memory, means I need to listen to it – or hear it in the distance – on the radio.

We are not, and never were, a sports-oriented family. But, we always loved our baseball.

My brother played this game for several years (and was really good at it!); my dad LOVED it. The rest of us grew to enjoy it as a great summer past-time.

One of my first Рand most long-lasting Рsummer sounds is baseball games being broadcast on the car radio, as we traveled through various cities and states.The radio also played the games as background in the various places (on the deck, in the backyard, etc.) we lived as I was growing up.

During my middle-school years, we lived about an hour outside of Baltimore, MD. So, of course, we were Orioles fans. We often made the trek to Baltimore to see them play. This was in the grand days of Brooks Robinson, etc. A favorite childhood photo is that of my brother with Mr. Robinson, while he was signing a baseball my brother brought him.

If¬†we didn’t go to the game, but were driving somewhere, Dad would play¬†it on the radio. Remember the days of the station wagon, and the way-back? Those of us in the way-back would drift off to sleep with the sound of the game lulling us off to slumber.

Mom liked going to the games, but she found them a little tedious. So she would knit something during the game… scarves, afghans, whatever. She could pay attention to the game, and to all of us, and keep herself busy at the same time.

The year we spent an autumnal week in New England was amazing. Not only did we get to partake in our country’s foundings (and yummy food!), the World Series was happening. I remember a couple nights in hotels; the lights would be out, we would all be drifting off to sleep, and Dad would have the TV on, watching the World Series games. A memory I will never forget, or never give up.

A little later, when we moved back to Fargo, we spent a lot of time at our family’s lake place. The Lake, The Mythical Lake….. Always, the radio broadcasts of the baseball games were part of our background noise. We always got a daily newspaper at the lake. Mom and Dad used it as a way (a fun way, for us back then!) to teach math. Looking at the baseball team standings, we would always wonder…. how many games will the Twins need to win to be in first place? What about the Orioles? I remember many mornings looking at the paper and trying to figure this out, while eating a bowl of freshly picked blueberries or peaches, covered with cream and sugar.

What makes tonight’s All-Star Game so special to us is that it is in Minneapolis, the hometown/home-city we have all adopted over the years. This is the first time it has been played there since 1985 (the year Bill and I graduated from college, and got married). They have done it in a grand fashion…… all the events leading up to the game, today’s parade, etc. Tonight, they had Idina Menzel (from “Frozen… Let it Go” fame) sing a ballad to the rock-star teachers picked by each team (“Forever Young,” by Minnesota legend Bob Dylan) and the National Anthem, followed by an Air Force flyover.

Really, it doesn’t get much better than this. Hope the best team wins. More importantly, though, hope everyone (teams, fans, friends) has a wonderful mid-summer experience.