By Ben Weise
The final session of Saturday’s Women In Tech Summit featured a discussion between author J. Kelly Hoey and Vice President, Business Operations for Comcast’s West Division Danielle Shoots, centered around the business of networking. From breaking down the art of networking to Googling one’s name to comparing Twitter to cocktail parties, the conversation had it all, and left the full conference room with a high note to end on.
Over the course of an hour or so of chatting and some Q&A time, Hoey and Shoots drilled home a clear message about networking: it’s about consistently managing your image and about having a diverse support system that offers honest feedback.
For Shoots specifically, authenticity and consistency go a long way in the world of networking. Surrounding one’s self with people that can offer truthful feedback from a different perspective is integral to finding a path to success.
There are few subjects I am more passionate about than the importance of building a network in your career. I was honored to participate in a keynote fire side chat with @jkellyhoey author of "Building Your Dream Network" at the first Women in Tech Summit Denver. I'll pass on a nugget of her brilliance and then you must read the book. She said "It's not who you know or what you know, it's who knows what about you". I agree. You have to Build your echo chamber and let them sing your song. #inspired #womenintechsummit @comcast #bydn
Danielle Shoots (left) and J. Kelley Hoey.
“I have this saying: When people say, ‘I want to take the next step [in my career], I want to be in the conversation,’ I always say to them, ‘What is your echo chamber?’” says Shoots. “What are people saying about you? Is it consistent?”
Shoots’ mentioning of echo chambers is a particularly interesting point because of her background. After spending time in both the nonprofit and finance worlds, the Colorado native and University of Colorado at Denver graduate has not only diversified the type of people she has been surrounded by in her career, but diversified what she can offer a future opportunity due to her versatility.
— Flock (@findmyflock) October 7, 2017
A common theme throughout Shoots’ career has been operating as a central point for women and her community whenever possible. Her roles have included board president and executive director of Engage Denver, which assists in nonprofit fundraising, co-chair of the women’s employee resource group with her current employer, Comcast, and serving as Vice President of Mile High Ministries.
For Hoey, networking comes in the everyday details. Like in her new book, Build Your Dream Network, Hoey touched on how the oft-overlooked interactions that occur daily—like providing a consistent experience through social media platforms and face-to-face interactions—add up quickly to determine if a person feels that trust has been established within the relationship.
“Your network—which is based on your reputation, which has a foundation in trust—is built by how you show up every single day,” says Huey. “And when you think about all the ways we get to show up every single day now — it’s your voicemail, it’s how you greet someone in the elevator, it’s how you treat someone in, dare I say, an office. Those are the ways you show up, and you need to think of those as networking.
The attentive audience of the Women in Tech Summit’s keynote event. Image: Ben Weise
“If you start thinking of networking that way, and you start thinking ‘What are my interactions throughout the day, how can I improve, expand, enhance those?’ then networking actually becomes [thinking], ‘Oh, that’s a good muscle to use.’ It’s so much better than thinking, ‘Oh my god, I’m in this place of need, I have to go to this other cocktail party again.’”
After an eventful day spent discussing UX remote employee conditions, building teams of engineers, and the pitfalls of releasing a new app, the Women In Tech Summit came together for what can often get lost in the shuffle of a booming industry: meaningful human interaction.
Huey and Shoots have a proven track record of using their respective platforms for empowering women in related fields, and their afternoon chat, as expected, did not disappoint.