May 2010


Today, the emphasis on “social networking” has taken on a new meaning. It’s no longer socializing face-to-face with friends or colleagues. It’s now connecting online. I propose we re-establish true social networking – the face-to-face kind, for building social and professional relationships.

When I moved to Cleveland, Ohio, I only knew a few people. I didn’t think that was much of a network. I quickly learned that it was a great start. For example, Bob introduced me to Jane, who knew several generous souls who shared time and resources with me. I met interesting people from different personal and professional backgrounds. I found a career resource group that met regularly. Some people led me to others in my fields of interests. Other professionals helped me hone my elevator/escalator speeches. There were mentors and coaches in the mix. And I made some friends along the way.

What did I learn?

  • Know that I need a professional and personal network.
  • Refine my elevator/escalator speeches.
  • Know what I am asking for.
  • Ask friends and family suggestions of folks with whom I can meet.
  • Be willing to share information and resources I have.
  • Volunteer for service in professional associations.
  • Get out and meet people!

Online networking is a wonderful way to start a conversation or arrange a meeting. If I want to build the relationship, I need to get out and actually meet the person behind the email.

What are your favorite methods for building strong professional or social networks?

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When I heard or saw the expression, “set in stone,” I thought of a serious contract or a permanent date. I never thought about the origin of the term. “Set in stone,” something that is unchangeable, was simply an expression; I didn’t think the expression applied to me.

Today I learned that “set in stone” has a real meaning.

We placed the headstone on my husband’s grave today.* We had certain words engraved on the stone that describe who is was. There is now a real stone, with specific words, that describe my husband. “Set in stone” is real. I can’t apply “white-out” and erase the words. I can’t take a pen, and edit the words on the stone to say, “He’s still alive…go to this address.” I can’t press the “backspace” or “delete” keys to change the language.

The headstone and it’s words are permanent. It’s stark. It’s painful. Yet, it’s comforting. There is now a marker that tells us where his physical presence is.

May Herschel’s memory be for a blessing. May we emulate his humility so that we, too, are loved by all.

*American date – May 7, 2009; Hebrew date – 23 Iyar 5770