Leaders’ Insights: Kelly Hoey, investor, author and networking expert

15 Jun 2016

Kelly Hoey

Named one of the ‘100 most influential women on Twitter’, Kelly Hoey is an author and investor.

A networking expert, Kelly Hoey will release her debut book on the subject in January next year.

Hoey has held a variety of roles over the years and, as well as being an author and frequent contributor to various blogs and websites, she is an investor with Laconia Capital.

Hoey will give a keynote at Inspirefest later this month on the subject of Building Authentic Networks and Relationships.

Describe your role and what you do.

At my core, I’m a networking expert. I’ve written my first book on the subject, Build Your Dream Network, which is going to be released in January 2017 by Tarcher Perigee.

What set you on the road to where you are now in the industry?

My career story is one transformation, explained only by my ability to strategically connect the networking dots.

My career started in corporate law in Toronto, eventually transitioning to the management side of ‘big law’ in New York City. A chance opportunity in 2009 to work with a visionary leader of a global business network sparked my transition from earning a paycheck to seeking equity.

Co-founding a start-up accelerator then an interim CMO role with an emerging tech company followed, until late 2014, when I finally had that “aha!” moment and decided to truly pursue my own project. It’s been an interesting and unexpected journey of reinvention to where I am now as an influencer, author and investor.

What do you do every day to help you achieve your business goals?

I tweet, post, and blog! I write for Inc.com as well as Turnstone’s blog, so I’m constantly on the look out for interesting business stories or insights to share. I also distribute two newsletters (one, Innovator Insights, comes out weekly, and I typically reflect over the past week, and write it on Saturday morning). With my book, Build Your Dream Network, coming out in January, I spend several hours a day focused on planning my book launch – from PR to events to content.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

Not adding ‘no’ to my business vocabulary earlier! Only by saying no have I been able to stand up for my vision, focus on the big projects that matter and, more importantly, accomplish the ambitious goals I’ve set out for myself.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be so anxious that you’re not getting ahead, stay curious and keep producing excellent work instead.

How do you get the best out of your team?

Trust plays a big role in how I operate.

I place a lot of trust in people and assume they are working hard, accomplishing what needs to be done and always have my best interests in mind.

I try to empower the people who work with me by being completely transparent and really responsive when they need answers. I’m one of those people who likes others to keep me informed but not in a way that would cause me to micro-manage how things get done.

What would you say are the key skills and traits a new starter in your industry needs?

Curiosity, expertise and persistence. Too many people only see outcomes (a column on Inc.com or a book deal or speaking engagement) and fail to see all the years of hard work and focus behind those outcomes. And to have my crazy career, you’ve got to build and maintain diverse networks.

“Let’s let women talk about what they are building or creating, why they love tech and what makes their STEM career fulfilling”

What trends do you see affecting your industry in the near future?

Mobile and the proliferation of instant messaging apps, plus digital and audio programming options are blowing up and recreating what I do daily.

STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity. What are your thoughts on this and whats needed to effect change?

I’d like to see more focus on positive role models. Let’s let women talk about what they are building or creating, why they love tech and what makes their STEM career fulfilling. All the talk all the time on the negative aspects of careers in STEM sectors can’t be fueling the talent pipeline and contributes to the “where are the women in STEM?” story gap.

Who is your business hero and why?

Katharine Graham, who led her family’s newspaper, The Washington Post, for more than two decades. She led the paper during the Watergate coverage that eventually led to the resignation of president Richard Nixon. Her memoir, Personal History, won the Pulitzer Prize and is one of the best business books out there.

What books have you read that you would recommend?

In addition to Personal History, I’d recommend Rework by the founders of 37 Signals (Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson) and, yes, my forthcoming book!

What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?

Mostly Twitter and good old email! With email, Unroll.me is essential for bundling up newsletters and other emails I’ve subscribed to. I use Teux Deux (a to-do app) to stay on top of tasks. I also love Feedly and the talks on Creative Mornings.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book your tickets now to join us from 30 June to 2 July 2016 for fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.