From Zero to Sixty in One Network Connection

by Kelli Schutrop

In our world, we’re told to work hard and be proud of our accomplishments. And I agree. But amidst the countless career self-help articles and networking events, sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people in our lives have helped guide us to the path we’re on today.

Today marks my third year at a company I love (Versique). Let me share with you how I got here. I was recruited by my former boss (Spoleto Partners). I landed at Spoleto Partners by way of a network connection from my previous company (Olson). And I was introduced to Olson through a network connection I made through a professor at college (Northwestern University – St. Paul).

Each transition has brought me closer and closer to what I was looking for in a career – in terms of company culture, type of role, and skill-set I wanted to utilize and develop. I worked hard at each role, and learned more than I thought possible, but at the end of the day, it’s more than just my drive and skill-set that brought me to a career I love – it’s also the valuable connections in my life who selflessly networked on my behalf and encouraged me to follow my passions. It’s those who helped me get to where I am today – and where I will be in the future.

Take a moment to think about where you are today – in your career, amongst various networking groups, sitting on boards, in great friendships you’ve made along the way, etc.

Now think, who helped you establish those connections? What connections have you helped established for others?

Networking is so much more than a cliché term used in 99% of career articles. It’s a living, breathing verb that jumpstarts careers, inspires helpful turning points, and truly helps to guide our careers.

Today, on my third work anniversary for a great company I love, it’s amazing to look back and see how much my career was impacted by people in my network – to see the growth around me, and the growth in my career since I graduated from college (2010), embarked on a journey to Olson (the great land of advertising agencies), took on an adventure to explore the recruiting industry (marketing for nimble start-ups), and then landed at where I am now (marketing for a strong consulting and executive search firm).

What does your story look like? Has your network helped jumpstart your career, or helped you make valuable decisions on where you are today?

Let’s make today the day we say THANK YOU to those who’ve helped us. And let’s make tomorrow the day we decide to do the same for others – to have coffee with a recent grad, to make an introduction at a networking event, to recommend someone for an intriguing job opportunity.

Networking is what drives careers and brings amazing breakthrough when you’re stuck. Need somewhere to start? Reach out to someone you admire, or someone who has the career you want – just a few years ahead of you.

Here’s to beautiful years of networking – and to the hope that if you’re not in your dream job, it’s just a few network connections away!

Photo credit: Snap Yourself photobooth, 2013 Women Venture Gala

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2 Responses to “From Zero to Sixty in One Network Connection”

  1. Brad Olson

    Go Eagles. I saw Northwestern and I just had to respond. As of Tuesday I am three quarters done with my Masters of Organizational Leadership at University of Northwestern St paul. What area were you in?

    Just as an FYI I am currently in business development and last fall I got my Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification.

    Reply
  2. Kelli Schutrop

    Kelli Schutrop

    Hi Brad, great job on the Masters program! I studied Public Relations and Marketing, and loved my time at Northwestern.

    Good work on the HubSpot certification – marketing automation is definitely the way of the future (and present).

    Reply

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