It’s All about Networking

It’s All about Networking

I recently had the honor of presenting on a speaker’s panel about networking. There are a few ironies here… 1) I don’t like networking 2)I don’t like public speaking! There, now it’s out! BUT, because I know I NEED to do both and do both well, I embrace the opportunities so I can improve and be more comfortable with both.

I’ve actually have quite a bit of experience with networking. In my presentation, I shared that I believe everything we do is networking. We just don’t label it as networking, which is why sometimes we are more comfortable with it than other times.

More than 1,300 people attended the Connecting Women to Power 2013 Business Conference at California State University Dominguez Hills.

The event was the Connecting Women to Power 2013 Business Conference hosted by CSUDH and California State Board of Equalization. With more than 1,300 women in attendance, this event was probably one of the most well attended Women’s Conferences I’ve been too. The Panel was Strategies for Moving Your Career Forward: The Path to Partnership and Building Strategic Relationships.  The distinguished panel was made up of Dr. Kaye Bragg, AVP Faculty Development and Academic Programs, Tonya Haynes, Chief EFFICIENCY Officer, Phoenix Business Development Group and Bree Nguyen, Strategic Partnership Development, Facebook.


My friend and colleague, Stephanie Shriver-Engdahl, recommeded the book As We Speak to help me brush up on my public speaking skills (and fear of!). I bought the book several months ago and immediately after the invitation to be on the Panel, I cracked that book open! It is full of great tips, but with only a week to write my talk and build the power point, I wasn’t able to integrate it all, but these are the nuggets I took with me:

  • Consider your audience really WANTS to know what you are saying. They are looking at you as the expert on this topic so present as if you are giving them a gift. Be Generous.
  • Be Authentic. Be YOU. You are the best presenter of YOUR information.
  • Deep belly breathe before you go on. The deeper your breath, the more calming it is for your entire body.
  • Be animated, in your voice and in your body language.

Perfect Example of Blending Family, Business and Community! My family surprised me and flew out from the East Coast for my Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year Award. And they dressed in Lobster Costumes (another passion of mine) in honor of Redondo Beach Lobster Festival!

Interestingly, many of these same elements are used in networking! Most importantly Be Authentic and Be Generous!  I’m actually pretty good at both of these, maybe to a fault sometimes. One of the questions I had from the audience was: “How do you separate your personal & professional network so your job can’t find out everything about you!” My answers was “I don’t!”.  My brand is Mickey. Everything I do, is with my brand in mind. I don’t do anything that I wouldn’t want my employer to “find out about”. I have passion for my job, my community, my friends and my family. Often times, they all blend together! That’s what I mean by saying “we are always networking!”.


Audience members share feedback after panel discussion.

What I was most touched by at the end of the panel, was that audience members came up to me and said I was inspirational. WOW! They wanted to learn more about my volunteer programs (a great way to network!). How could they get more information about Crown Jewel Club. How could they get on my Job Search Support email list (email me at and most importantly….feedback like:  “I AM uncomfortable networking and you gave me a lot of great ideas that I can’t wait to implement”  That was the entire point! I shared my personal fears and that resonated with the audience and made them more likely to accept my ideas. Being Authentic and Generous really does work. Don’t forget that when someone asks you to be someone else or tells you not to share so openly!


An Entire Island of Exceptional Experiences?

An Entire Island of Exceptional Experiences?

Is this place for real?

This journalist loves to dip her toes in the crisp blue sea the minute she lands.

Carriacou has more than 100 rum bars, one gas station and no stop lights. The 6000 people of Carriacou are known as the friendliest in the Caribbean and make all visitors and ex-Pat residents feel at home immediately.  Located in the West Indies, just a short 30 minute plane ride or three hour ferry ride from Grenada, this island reflects a quiet nature, sense of community, unique culture and simple life, that world travelers cherish. You can’t golf or play tennis in Carriacou, but you will experience the most pristine beaches, snorkeling and scuba. When you are not enjoying the beauty of the landscape, you are dancing in the streets with the locals at one of the many festivals throughout the season.

As a journalist in search of inspiration and unique adventures, I’ve enjoyed the economical and experiential aspect of utilizing to provide truly authentic travel adventures.  There is nothing more unique than stepping into a new lifestyle, complete with friends, pets, transportation and a “locals” tour book while exploring the world.  I’ve saved thousands of dollars on each home swap and enriched my life and gained lasting memories that cannot be paralleled.

Kevin and Susan Patrick retired to Carriacou in 2009 from California, yet had a son living in New York City. They contacted me five years ago for a home exchange with my Manhattan apartment, so they could visit their son.  I’d never even heard of Carriacou, never mind imagined I would spend four weeks every year as a quasi-resident.  As a writer, I enjoy the easy lifestyle, mellow trade winds and quiet outdoor living experience Carriacou has to offer. As an animal lover, environmentalist and volunteer, I particularly enjoy being called, unexpectedly, by Kato, the Sea Turtle Rescue Foundation, to help tag and save a wayward sea turtle. Alice, a local housewife, comes by once a week to teach me local culinary techniques and recipes, such as Fish Cakes (battered fish patties), Oil Down (pork snout and pig tail stew) and macaroni pie (baked macaroni and cheese).  As world travelers in search of undiscovered, off the beaten path destinations, I know Carriacou offers a truly unchartered experience.

There are two ways to get to Carriacou after you fly to Grenada. Fly in on S.V.G. Air (3-4 flights a day depending on season) or take the Osprey catamaran ferry from Grenada.

This 9 seater plane is the quickest way from Grenada. A speedy 20 minute flight over the pristine Caribbean.

I love taking the ferry. It takes a little longer, but you get a chance to talk to locals and cultural immersion starts the moment you disembark on the jetty into the Fish Market. The market opens at 7:30am, when the fishermen start delivering the fresh catch of the day straight off the jetty. The fresh merchandise ranges from Ahi quality tuna, Conch, Cod and, during Lobster season you can get 10lbs of lobster for $37US (or about $100EC: Eastern Caribbean). Directly behind the Fish Counter are two local women who will scale, clean and fillet your fresh catch for pennies. This is how I like to start my visit, with amazing fresh fish, that Alice can teach me to cook!

Linky, the local taxi driver, finds me in the market and helps me load my fresh catch of the day and luggage into his car. Once he deposits me at the Patrick’s house, I have access to their bright yellow Jeep for the remainder of my stay. Another huge savings, no car rental! The island is small, but it’s about 2 miles to get into town and with arms full of groceries, having the Jeep is very handy. Everyone recognizes the Jeep, so I immediately feel at home, when I drive along the bumpy roads and children run out to greet me from their homes and store fronts. Seriously, EVERYONE in Carriacou is outgoing and friendly. Each morning I hear so many greetings of  “Mornin’, Mornin’,” as I walk through the tiny downtown, that I’m almost hoarse from responding by the time I get home!

The downtown has one market (supplied weekly from Grenada) that stocks up on white wine when they know I’m coming into town! The Patrick’s let them know when I’ll be visiting. Charlotte, the shop owner is so kind and always explains what the vegetables, fruits and herbs are that I am unfamiliar with. Sometimes Alice gives me a special shopping list, which is another exciting adventure.

After my initial trip downtown I stopped by Kido Ecological Research Station to report for duty! Kevin and Susan sponsor a Sea Turtle and introduced me to Turtle Nesting Monitoring on my first trip, through the local literature they left me. I needed to get on the schedule and find out when they needed my help at night monitoring the nesting along the park’s beaches. Hawksbill Turtle peak activity had started and there would be an average of 140 eggs that needed to be monitored, so egg and turtle poachers would be discouraged. Because of the tagging efforts Kido employs they also know that the turtles return to the same beaches for nesting each year. The sea turtles are kind of ugly and a little scary, yet so gentle and beautiful at the same time. It means so much to me to be able to help this endangered species and ward off illegal turtle poachers.

With my evening Turtle Monitor schedule in hand, I headed back to Morne Dove, the name of the Patrick’s home. It was now time to enjoy the open air home, the dipping pool and the wide open view of the Caribbean Sea from the veranda. The weather in Carriacou is PERFECT! A balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit with gentle trade winds keeping things at the ideal temperature all day and night. At night mesh curtains keep the moths from coming inside, no door needed! Maybe a nap was in order too!

This year, we planned the HomeExchange around Regatta at the end of July; an annual event established in 1965, by John Linton Riggs, a Jamaican born Yachtsman who settled on the Island 15 years earlier. Riggs was concerned about the economy and encouraged boat building by establishing a workboat Regatta where local boat builders and skippers could race and win cash.  The event grew and grew and is now a week-long celebration that includes music, local food, donkey races and grease pole competitions. There is something for everyone. The fun starts during the day with boat races and ends in the wee hours of the night with dancing and celebration. The people of Carriacou love to have a good time and share their musical talent, whether it be beating a steel drum or dancing in beautifully designed costumes. The Minister of Carriacou, George Prime, is at every event and goes out of his way to welcome new faces. He introduced me to the leader of the Steel Drum band and I even got to play! Who knew I had this kind of talent?

The Patrick’s neighbors are a fun bunch of Ex-Pats who have also been drawn to this culture. It is commonly known that after a few days in Carriacou, many visitors’ thoughts turn to staying here permanently, and that is just what my family did.  They retired to their vacation home, like their neighbors from England and Sweden. Typical of the experience, their neighbors also became my friends and we often dined together. One night we contacted Snags, a local caterer, and they put on an amazing beach barbeque for the five of us. Locals are always having celebrations at the beach and Snags realized they could turn that into a business opportunity. It was nothing fancy, but with the warm trade winds, gentle sound of waves crashing on the sand, smell of Lambi (Conch) BBQ and the added Provisions (salad), we had an entertaining night on the beach, just like old friends.

Most of my days were spent at Morne Dove hunkering down on the computer putting the finishing touches on my research and book. The Patrick’s have high speed internet and all the conveniences of home, washer/dryer, full kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. No TV, which was fine by me. With the open-air environment, sounds of nature and regular visits by Iggy and Ralph, the iguanas, I had plenty of distractions.  Funny how sitting on the Veranda, looking out over the jungle trees, into the deep blue sea never gets boring.

My life has changed drastically through Now I know I have one month a year to work on my writing in Carriacou and, due to the economical structure of the program, can still experience vacations that connect me with different people and places every year.  My apartment in Manhattan is usually cleaner when I get back after the Patrick’s have been there! Who could ask for anything more?

You CAN Have It All, Just not ALL at Once

You CAN Have It All, Just not ALL at Once

Linda LoRe, CEO, Frederick's of Hollywood, at Women In Business Conference

Yesterday’s Manhattan Beach Women In Business conference was inspirational, in most part due to the keynote speaker, Linda LoRe, Fredericks of Hollywood, CEO. In a nutshell….. she is amazing!

At 17, little did she know her job in the perfume dept at Robinson’s would launch her as soon as she picked up the phone to call Giorgio Armani and personally tell him his fragrance needed to be carried in the Robinson’s stores. After the wild success of the perfume, she landed a position at Giorgio Beverly Hills where she rose through the ranks to President and Chief Executive Officer, launching some of their top brands today. Fredericks’s of Hollywood kept knocking on her door and she finally let them in. Finally, she knew she had to move to Fredericks because she could see how her energy, enthusiasm and business savvy would help re-energize the brand and the people, while resurrecting them as a major player in the lingerie industry.

As soon as she started speaking I had to start writing down her quotes. Words to live by….

“Passion ignites and sparks us to become the best that we can be.”

How true is that? I’ve been so fortunate in my life and career to be passionate about everything I do, which only makes me want to do everything better.

“When you love what you do, you have passion and more energy for everything.”

So true. Does Love fuel Passion or Passion fuel Love? Who cares! It’s just so great to jump out of bed in the morning with the intent to share your enthusiasm and ignite others to get on board with you. And yes, this is true too….

“It’s much easier to navigate your path when you have passion.”

Then she broke down her 6 Tips to Live By:
1) Love What you Do. Why do you need to STOP to smell the roses, when you carry them with you?
2) Focus & Commitment. Energy follows Focus. When you divert your focus you fragment your commitment.
3) Surround yourself with the right people. (Good think I went to the Women In Business conference!)
4) Be willing to make tough choices. Linda got married at 46 and had children later in life, due to her jet setting career. She has it all, but just couldn’t have it all at the same time.
5) Develop a strong vision for yourself. Make a list of 100 things that make you Happy.
6) Trust your Instincts. When all else fails, your first instinct is usually right.

AND…to top it all off, she has a big heart and gives back to at-risk teens through the mentoring program she founded. Youth Mentoring Connection ,  now called Urban Oasis, serves at-risk youth in Southern California. This was VERY interesting and useful information as we try to build an Alumni/Graduate program for our  5th Grade Crown Jewel Club graduates. Her program might be the perfect fit! Funny how things seem to fall into place when you open your mind and heart to new experiences.