Kelly Hoey Networking
Kelly Hoey, investor at Laconia Capital, speaking at Inspirefest 2016. Image via Connor McCabe Photography

The art of networking is personal, not digital

26 Aug 2016

Kelly Hoey, investor at Laconia Capital, discusses her three top tips for people looking to forge a new career. Building expertise, networks and bank balances are key.

Getting a job can prove stressful. Changing jobs, too. Changing entire industries, and forging a new path, perhaps, more stressful still. Though there are ways to make it easier.

Hoey was speaking at Inspirefest over the summer, detailing how she negotiated five key dates in her adult life – three graduations and two career changes, each time during a recession – and revealing a three-point plan to help others follow her path.

Kelly Hoey Networking

A lot to learn

“I really did think long and hard in terms of what you could learn from me,” she said. “A 50-year-old woman who lives in New York, alone.”

But her story related to more people than perhaps she thought. Wanting to change the word ‘networking’, Hoey lamented the reality that we are, unfortunately, “stuck with it”.

“Networking is actually just human relationships and people,” she said. “It’s not a platform, it’s not an app. Relationships are what drive economies, ideas and create possibilities.

Rather than the antiquated logic of ‘keeping your head down, working hard and making it up the corporate ladder’, Hoey instead said today’s world works differently.

“My career only makes sense if I look at the relationships, at the people, the connections and the self-promotion,” she said.

Listing three key lessons she has learned from her meandering careers, activity and endeavour were key, but perhaps not in the way one would expect.

Build your expertise, your network and your bank account and you’re on the right track, according to Hoey, with the latter point particularly important.

If you’re considering a shift in career, writing a book or taking some time away from the workplace, having cash reserves can provide a freedom like no other.

Though networking, and making the right connections in the right areas, appears important above all else.

“It’s not who you know. It’s not what you know,” she said. “It’s who knows what you know.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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