MNCPA PERSPECTIVES

The power of personal connections

Feb. 19, 2018  |  Linda Wedul

Networking is hard for me. It doesn't come naturally. I marvel at people who can converse on a wide range of subjects and easily form connections with people they have just met. When they see a room full of strangers, they see potential new friends -- while I see how many times I can put my foot in my mouth. 

Over time, I've developed and worked on my networking skills. I still admire the networking masters, but a room of strangers doesn't scare me anymore. And, I've learned to appreciate the incredible value of networking. It is rare that opportunities just come knocking on our door unsolicited. But, there are many that are waiting to be discovered. Meeting more people and seeking new experiences exponentially increases your odds of discovering new opportunities and solutions to challenges. 

Building a network means getting out of the office. This past month, I was reminded in multiple ways of the substantial power of networking.

  • I met with a partner at public accounting firm, and he connected us with a potential event speaker.
  • Stephanie Schmidt, the MNCPA's director of membership, attended a Chamber of Commerce event and met several people from the Bloomington School District who are interested in collaborating on our high school mentor program.
  • I attended a diversity workshop that helped broadened my understanding of diversity issues, and I met people outside of my usual circle of connections.
  • Carolyn LaViolette, the MNCPA’s communications manager who has been building relationships with reporters for years, saw that effort pay off when the tax reform bill passed. Her phone rang off the hook with calls from reporters, and she placed MNCPA members in 10 media interviews in 3 weeks -- that is a record (and good reputation building for CPAs).  

What do all of these examples have in common? The excitement of creating a new connection with someone who has shared goals and values. And that generates more energy and enthusiasm for our projects and a feeling of satisfaction from doing good work. 

Technology is a wonderful tool and it is constantly changing the way we do things. However, it has not replaced the value of human relationships and the power of a personal network. 

Topics: Career, Personal development

Linda Wedul

Linda Wedul is president and CEO of the MNCPA. She’s usually spotted at MNCPA events, introducing herself to members with a warm smile and memorable laugh. Mixed among the Footnotes, accounting journals, leadership books and three monitors in her office, you’d be surprised to see a dog kennel. Her unpaid job is volunteering as a foster family for service dogs in training through Can-Do-Canines. She and her husband have two adult children and live in Farmington. Linda can be reached at 952-885-5516 or lwedul@mncpa.org.

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