Anne Cohen of Disability Health Access was our featured attendee at the Fri-Feb-26 Bootstrapper Breakfast in Mountain View, CA.  Here is our description from the event:

In a valley of innovators, where contacts are a commodity, how do you weave a network that doesn’t just launch your next company but builds a foundation for sustaining your future?  Anne Cohen who has carved out a niche in a field dominated by large corporations and government agencies.  Ms. Cohen founded Disability Health Access, LLC, in 2005, advising healthcare organizations on how to improve services for seniors and people with disabilities. She not only develops dynamic solutions for her clients but builds a web of relationships that furthers the mission of her clients, related associates and sustains her own professional and personal needs.
Some topics she will cover

  • How to develop a specialization in your field can make you unique
  • How to create opportunities to help you make connections
  • How to keep in touch and stay connected to people you’ve met
  • How to stand out in a Valley of networkers
  • How to build relationships if remembering names is not your skill?
  • How to take a long-range view and not get caught up in short-term tricks.

It was a great talk and Anne left brought the following handout to help provide context for some of her key points:

Make a Friend to Build a Business: Networking for Life

When times are tough,
a client will leave you,
but a friend won’t.

Anne Cohen, MPH
Disability and Health Policy Consultant,
Disability Health Access, LLC

In a valley of innovators, where contacts are a commodity how do you weave a network that doesn’t just launch your next company but builds a foundation for sustaining your future? Listen to a speaker who has carved a space in her field dominated by large corporations and government agencies. Ms. Cohen founded Disability Health Access, LLC, in 2005, advising healthcare organizations on how to improve services for seniors and people with disabilities. She not only develops dynamic solutions for her clients but also builds a web of relationships that furthers the mission of her clients, related associates and sustains her own professional and personal needs.

How developing a specialization in your field can make you unique

  • Sets you apart from the sea of experts
  • Turns your knowledge into a product that people will seek out to buy
  • Makes you the center of a network of resources

Standing out in a town of networkers

  • Be seen – frequent presence makes you memorable, missed when your gone and seen as a member of the “Network Family”
  • Never dismiss someone as unimportant; each person is the most fascinating person in the room. But know how to exit and keep moving gracefully
  • What makes you unique a hobby, a skill or something you wear at events shoes, shirt, jewelry, glasses?
  • Be the friendly connector; help make connections at an event without expecting anything in return.
  • Be trustworthy and invest your time, for example offer to provide assistance in planning, hosting, or provide goodies for an event.
    FOLLOW THROUGH WITH ALL PROMISES.
  • Never ever ask for a favor from someone you just met

Sustaining the interest of your connections

  • Treat your contacts as if they are part of your family, or close friends
  • Check in when you haven’t see the person or offer knowledge resources
  • If you lost contact reach out to rekindle the relationship
  • Mutual share happy accomplishments (fun, family, fascinating projects)
  • If they show an interest provide opportunity to join in the fun
  • Provide empathy for their challenges and offer to help
  • You want to be the one people go to when they need something

Can’t Remember Names or Dropping the Ball on Name Dropping

  • In the age of hyper information most people (especially as they age) lose this skill
  • Admit this is not your strength most people are relieved because they aren’t good at it either
  • Blame it on late nights of coding and up with baby (provide humor to defuse the awkward situation)
  • Focus on remembering the face in a crowd and possibly where you meet the person. Most of the time they will acknowledge they recognize you but won’t remember your name and will be forced to ask.
  • Company names “Who can remember any of these strange names. We need a dictionary with information including current status.”

Opportunities to make connections

  • Casual contact networks (networking events or industry mixers and personal passions.)
    • Build relationships through shared interests.
    • When your network is diverse, you’re more likely to know “connectors,” or those who can put you in touch with people you never would have met otherwise.
  • Knowledge networks (professional associations)
  • Strong contact networks (groups that meet frequently specifically to build professional relationships, like Bootstrappers, Women 2.0, National Association of Women Business Owners, BNI, http://womenwhotech.com/resources
  • Online networks (professional social media services, such as LinkedIn)

Some Local Favorites

  • Coffee shops and known hot spot locations
    • Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View
    • Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto
  • Meetup Groups interest areas (Find your passions not just your career)
  • VLAB – VLAB is the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum, connecting entrepreneurs, industry experts, venture capitalists, private investors and technologists https://www.vlab.org/
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Groups Advocates on policy issues that support the goals of companies in Silicon Valley. http://svlg.org/
  • Computer History Museum Events http://www.computerhistory.org/events/upcoming/
  • Silicon Valley Business Journal Events Calendar http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/calendar