Speed Networking: A Great Way to Engage Senior Executives
I walked into a room with a large, square table. The senior mentors sat inside the square table, and the mentees sat in chairs outside the table facing their counterparts. Each mentor had a sign at his or her place setting consisting of his or her name and areas of expertise. Once the meeting started, the mentees talked to a different mentor each for five to eight minutes. I spoke, for example, with peers in the arts, education, social services and for-profit sector. The conversation was stimulating, and the questions were real. The session was a smashing success.
Just as important to me, besides helping others, was engaging with old friends and colleagues. That day, the weather was horrible with a foot of snow on the ground, bad roads and below freezing temperatures. Every mentor showed up early and loved reconnecting with each other. It was like old home week.
The event struck a chord with people because it was different yet simple. Mentors and mentees had updated business cards to share with each other. For a number of people, the conversations continued as follow-up appointments were made. At times, several mentors talked to the same mentee for greater insight.
I did not know what to expect when asked to serve. I left with a sense of satisfaction and willingness to do more. I am positive this concept will continue in the future due to the win-win nature of the event. While the event was held during lunch, no one brought their lunches. In fact, a number of old and new friends decided to go to lunch afterward.
If you want to engage an array of executives in a positive activity, try this concept today! I am convinced a number of experienced professionals will continue to attend future AFP sessions because they were honored to be asked and serve their profession. No one wants to be forgotten or taken for granted.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.