Networking: a Bonnie Told Me To Do It
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a networking event put on by Florida Tech’s Career Services Office. The Keynote speaker was Bonnie Dubrow, aptly known as “The Energizer Bonnie.”
Bonnie has had an extensive career over the past 30+ years in the personal, professional and business development realms. In that time, she’s acquired a laundry list of clients including Harris Corporation, SunTrust Bank, Barnett Bank, Riverside Bank, Wuestoff Hospital and Florida Tech, just to name a few.
Her brand “The Energizer Bonnie” is properly titled, because when she was in the room, I could definitely feel the energy and excitement just radiating from her. Maybe all that energy comes from being an avid fitness enthusiast who owned and operated a fitness company for over 10 years before diving into Strategies for Success, her consulting company. Either way, it was incredibly easy for me to stay engaged and get the most out of what Dubrow had to say.
One of the main themes of the discussion she proctored was having a goal and being proactive enough to take the necessary steps to achieve that goal. Being a group of college students, there were many audience members that when asked what they wanted to do after they graduated blurted out “Make X thousands of dollars.”
Dubrow took a minute and then gave all those audience members a reality check. How were they going to be worth that amount, if any amount? A degree gives you the hammer, but it is up to you to build the house. It’s up to you to network and continue building skills and professional worth. No one is going to just write you a check for doing nothing (short of Grandma).
Dubrow emphasized the importance of “Be, Do, Have.” Mostly everyone in the audience was focused on the last segment of that phrase, the “Have.” They didn’t focus on being in a position to be able to do the things necessary to get the things that they want to have. In order to have that awesome job after graduation, we need to be an academically proficient graduate, and we need to do our due diligence by making sure we are qualified and reach out to the proper channels.
Part of being the best you can be is having the proper demeanor to put yourself in different situations. One of the exercises demonstrated the importance of body language when meeting people. We each met another person in the classroom while we were hunched, looking at our feet and generally not impressed with life. Needless to say, this didn’t go so well. I personally had trouble even keeping this unhappy demeanor because I’m a very outgoing and generally excited individual. When it came time to do the opposite and be all smiles and firm handshakes, I was more in my element. I took just these simple qualities for meeting people for granted, it’s just whom I’ve always been. It was pretty exciting though to see The Energizer Bonnie breathe new life into a lot of the other students, giving them the mindset of how to properly go about meeting people and thus expand their networking skills.
If you ever get the opportunity to attend a discussion with The Energizer Bonnie, I definitely encourage you to go. She certainly resonated well with the students here at Florida Tech.