Networking Tips from an E!C Board Member

By: Stephanie Janowich, Engage! Cleveland Leadership Council Peter PoznakoEveryone’s thoughts on Networking are a little different. Professionals either love it or hate it. In today’s world, networking is a necessity. Although Engage! Cleveland already covered Netiquette, we also wanted to shed some light on good old fashioned face-to-face networking and brought in a subject matter expert, Peter Poznako. Peter is one of EC’s Board of Directors and leads a young professionals group for KeyBank. Peter presented some key notes on Networking from personal experience in his career at our monthly Leadership Council professional meeting in February. We have recapped the highlights here:

  1. Why am I networking – always determine what you are looking to get out of networking i.e. new job, new skill set, professional development, new cause etc.
  2. Evaluate events to attend – focus on a specific type of event depending on your purpose for networking
  3. Put yourself out there –attend events you normally wouldn't, and step out of your comfort zone
  4. Follow up – someone is not truly a contact until you follow-up and include them in your personal network

We also asked Peter to give us some personal feedback on the subject matter:

Why did you select networking as the topic for your presentation? 

Peter: Networking is something that is important to my career.  I use it every day when interacting with colleagues and people outside of work.  I also lead the young professionals networking group at work and wanted to share networking tips and ideas that I’ve learned and have been helpful to me.

How has networking helped impact your career?

Peter: Networking has had tremendous impact on my career.  It has helped me discover exactly what I want to do and the relationships I’ve formed through networking have helped me get there.  It’s because of networking that I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunities that have been presented to me.  Networking has helped me meet some incredible people and get me to where I want to be in my career.

NetworkingWhat made you initially realize the importance of networking?

Peter:  I realized networking was important when I was able to see results.  I had met this particular contact at a social event and discussed my professional goals and what I was looking to do.  The next day I forwarded my resume.  Though there weren’t any positions available at the time we met, a colleague of this person contacted me nine months later asking if I would interview for a job they thought I would be a good fit for.  One week later I had accepted an offer.  Networking works!

Can you please briefly explain why you chose each organization to become involved? 

Peter: Every organization I am involved with I chose because they have missions that align with my own values and I believe strongly in the work they do.

For anyone that might be nervous to initiate a new networking relationship or join an organization, what advice would you give them?

Peter: Take a deep breath, be confident, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  The person on the other side of the table is probably thinking the same thing and has the same fears as you.  People who network are ultimately looking to achieve the same goal, which is to meet new people and form new relationships, so remember they are looking to meet you too.


Start networking today! Engage! Cleveland has some great networking events coming up in 2017. Check out our calendar of events for more information!