Females united

Networking expert J. Kelly Hoey will speak at a Women Building Businesses event on June 20

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Ready for business: On June 20 at Parx Casino East, acclaimed New York-based business columnist, networking expert and author J. Kelly Hoey will be the keynote speaker of SCORE Bucks County’s second annual Women Building Businesses conference. Source: Lisa Tanner

Believe it or not, the ’90s, circa social media trend of building genuine relationships hasn’t gone out of style, especially in the professional world.

“Technology can facilitate relationship building. Social platforms democratize access,” said Build Your Dream Network author J. Kelly Hoey. “However, it does not replace the very human attributes of empathy, generosity, critical thinking and creativity, all of which are essential skills to have in your networking toolkit.”

Though you shouldn’t delete your LinkedIn profile anytime soon, Hoey firmly believes women, in particular, are capable of building and actively nurturing a network of connections to achieve business success. On June 20 at Parx Casino East, the acclaimed New York-based business columnist, networking expert and author will touch on this and more as the keynote speaker of SCORE Bucks County’s second annual Women Building Businesses conference.

Last year’s kickoff event welcomed hundreds of businesswomen, who learned how to efficiently manage their time thanks to Doylestown motivational speaker, Neen James. A similar turnout is expected this year, giving entrepreneurial females the chance to meet like-minded individuals and learn firsthand how Hoey built a supportive network from the ground up.

In between book signings in Moncton, New Brunswick and St. John’s, Newfoundland, The Times caught up with Hoey to hear what she has in store for her eager Women Building Businesses audience. First and foremost, attendees can expect practical guidance to help them undertake the necessary business activity of networking, something that’s often met with hesitation. But for those unsure of where to start, Hoey said an all-female event like this is the perfect place.

“By helping each other succeed, we will all be more successful, and who doesn’t want that?” she said. “Women are launching new businesses at a faster rate than men. Women directly or indirectly influence 85 percent of all personal and business purchasing decisions. Women are not powerless in the ways we can help each other succeed, we all simply need to choose to do so.”

Hoey is often referred to as a “networking expert,” though she’s the first to refute the gleaming title. Her expertise is something she continuously seeks to hone.

“Growing, nurturing and maintaining a vibrant, diverse network is something you constantly work at,” she said. “It should be a skill you’re always keen to improve because as I see it, it means you’re thinking about how you can help others succeed, how you can add value.”

So how did Hoey become the internationally-renowned “expert” people know and love today? Well, it didn’t happen overnight. For years, Hoey practiced corporate law in the Big Apple, but after closing billion-dollar deals lost some of its luster, she sought a role in legal management. Five years of leading professional development, alumni and women’s leadership initiatives for a global law firm introduced an entirely new career pathway — first president of a global business network for executive, entrepreneurial and career-minded women.

“That particular role pushed me well beyond my comfort zone, plus it ignited my appetite for taking strategic risks with my career,” she said.

From there, a variety of positions fell into Hoey’s lap, including co-founder of a startup accelerator, interim CMO of an emerging tech company, contributor to numerous publications, paid speaker and her dream career, author.

Hoey’s first book, Build Your Dream Network, was published in 2017, offering an innovative approach to maintaining and leveraging connections in a technology-heavy world. The idea for the book stemmed from (you guessed it) Hoey’s network, which she said was filled with professionals asking for guidance. Since there simply weren’t enough days in a week to accommodate every request for a 1:1 coffee date, Hoey realized she needed to reach as many people in the most efficient way possible.

“Listen to what your network asks you for or sees in you, as those requests may be the source of your next venture or career move,” she said.

At Women Building Businesses, Hoey will be joined by marketing expert Donna Botti of the Collegeville-based Delos Inc., who will discuss “What’s your unique brand position” and shed light on how businesses can get heard in the crowded digital world.

During lunch, U.S. Small Business Administration regional administrator Michelle Christian will share SBA strategies for women entrepreneurs. SCORE Bucks County volunteer and mentor Linda Zangrilli, who helped organize last year’s event, was also selected as a guest speaker.

“SCORE Bucks stands behind its mission of supporting the local business community. Given that roughly half of new Bucks County businesses are women-owned, our chapter decided to coordinate events to support our women entrepreneurs,” Zangrilli said. “We invite all local women in business to join us for a day of empowering discussions, networking and invaluable peer support.” ••

If you go…

SCORE Bucks County’s 2nd annual Women Building Businesses event will be held on June 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Parx Casino East, 2999 Street Road in Bensalem. Cost is $35. Admission includes lunch and discussion. To learn more or reserve your spot, visit form.jotform.com/80674966811972.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com