Tips from conference speakers and industry pros about how to successfully network virtually!
So you're headed to the Diversity Reboot Summit! (And by "headed to," I mean planning to videoconference into, since that's the only way we'll be conferencing for the near future.) Hurray! This guide to making the most out of virtual conferences—including helpful tips from conference speakers and industry pros about how to successfully network virtually—will help you take advantage of all the conference has to offer.
Let's get started.
1) Choose your track(s).
The Diversity Reboot Summit offers four main tracks: impact, inclusion, the future of work, and engineering.
- Impact will include talks from Rick Wade (Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings, and more on the role of media, finance, and public policy in growing and rebuilding black and brown businesses.
- Inclusion will feature discussions from Rep. Judy Chu and others on combating racism and white supremacy inside—and outside—the workplace.
- The Future of Work will address remote work, wellness and security, and will include talks led by Regina Wallace-Jones (Mindbody), Natasha Green (AnitaB.org), and more.
- Engineering will feature lightning tech talks and conversations on the future of STEM, and how technology can build a more inclusive world.
- Do you want to hear from top changemakers in the world of D&I? Then go with the inclusion track.
- If you're more into learning about how specific industries like media can do their work in a way that lifts others up, try impact.
- If you're on the tech side of things and want to connect with likeminded speakers and participants, engineering might be right for you.
- And if you're wondering about the intersection of diversity work with remote work or how COVID-19 will change hiring, check out the future of work track.
If you're not sure which track is right for you or are interested in all of the above, you can pick and choose exactly which talks you attend. Start by looking through the speaker list and deciding which speakers are the ones you absolutely don't want to miss. You can also start familiarizing yourself with the schedule to see which talks are happening at the times when you're free!
If you're actively looking for job opportunities, make sure you're all set for the virtual job fair on day four of the summit on June 18th from 12 to 6 p.m. EST. You'll be able to check out participating companies' "booths" (Zoom rooms) and talk directly to recruiters. Make sure your PowerToFly profile is up-to-date ahead of time with your latest resume and details so you can send recruiters your info with one click.
Once you see a talk or event you know you want to attend, don't forget to click "add to calendar"!
Don't miss a single event! Add it to your calendar so you get a reminder when the talks/events you want to attend are starting.
*Bonus tip* - Be sure to catch the power networking hour each morning at 11AM EST — we'll pair you up randomly to get to know one of your fellow attendees!
2) Brush up on your virtual networking skills.
Online conferences can be much more affordable (this one is free!) and inclusive (no need to travel far from home means many more people can participate) than their face-to-face counterparts, but to get the most out of a virtual summit, you need to bring different skills to the table. Some have argued that networking during a pandemic presents unique challenges for women.
But investing in a plan for one conference or event will work for others, says career coach Cynthia Orduña. "If you master virtual networking, you'll have the skills to be able to connect with anyone without having to limit yourself to who you meet in person," she says.
First, get in the right headspace. Networking isn't about passing out as many business cards as possible, says Sheila Murphy, president and CEO of Focus Forward Consulting. "True networking is about creating relationships, and where they may start at a conference, that is only the beginning of the networking," she says. You need to be comfortable reaching out continuously to people you may not know well, and while Sheila says women may feel like they're intruding or bothering people at first, it's important to "reframe how [women] feel about networking and understand it is about giving to the other person."
Prep your profiles ahead of time. You want to put your best foot forward at the conference—which means making sure your online profiles are ready to help you do that. "Optimize your social media profile [to] be interesting and engaging. People want to engage with people who are connected and add value," says Ellen Stebbins, creator of the Profitable Connections networking course. Meg Applegate, resume writer and job search strategist at Hinge Resume, suggests starting with 15-minute blocks every morning and evening to invest in your LinkedIn profile. "It's as easy as commenting thoughtfully on people's posts. Add value in your brief comments by sharing articles, podcasts or your perspective on an issue or workplace trend," she says. "[Remember,] the goal of online networking is to take it offline. This looks a little differently post-COVID, but you can replace an in-person coffee date with a 20-minute phone call or Zoom call."
Say hi early. Are you particularly excited about hearing from a certain speaker? Let them know! "If the guest list is shared in advance," says Dr. Ruth Gotian, leadership coach and author of the article Networking for Introverted Scientists, "reach out to interesting people on social media ahead of the event and express your enthusiasm at meeting them at the particular webinar." The Diversity Reboot Summit's speaker list is live online, so go ahead and get started!
Nail your intro. There may be no elevators at the conference, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a solid elevator pitch. Roshni Baronia, founder of RB Consulting and a certified Master Networker, suggests, "Have a noticeable 'power-intro' ready for yourself and share it in the chat message at the start of the conference. Always be courteous — thank the speakers and leave with a message with where you can be contacted."
Comment away. "For every 50 comments in the chatbox of a virtual conference, there may be one or two that really stand out to the speakers and attendees," says Swati Chalumuri, personal finance blogger at HearMeFolks.com. "You want to be the person who leaves the comment that gets noticed." Keep in mind that you want to be noticed not just by presenters but by fellow attendees, too, says Beth Bridges, author of Networking on Purpose, who cautions against getting too chatty in the comments. "That's like having a conversation while the speaker is standing right in front of you," she notes. She does recommend asking other attendees to reach out to you afterwards. "In the chat, tell people that you are looking to connect with other attendees so that you can share notes and encourage each other. Give them either a one-time email address, set up a Google form or a Typeform, or send them to a simple personal website through services such as About.me. Make sure you have a way to follow up and build the connection from there!"
Follow through. "Tell yourself you will learn at least one thing from each speaker and then ping them thanking them for their advice. Speakers always wonder did we help someone today, this hour or this minute," says Natasha Green, Global Community Manager at the Anita Borg Institute and featured speaker on the Diversity Reboot's "Networking While Social Distancing" panel discussion. Keep that in mind especially if you attend her talk!
Above all, commit. Kristy Wallace, CEO of global community for professional women Ellevate Network and another speaker on the Networking panel, encourages you to show up fully. "Commit to the conference," says Kristy. "It's so easy to sign up for an event and then not show up or show up and not be fully present. If you have the intent, follow through — you'll be glad that you did."
Once you've got your track mapped out and your networking game plan down, it's time to actually go make it happen. Join your must-attend talks, ask thoughtful questions, and follow the conversation in the chat and on social media.
4) Continue the momentum.
As soon as the conference is over, start thinking about what kind of follow-ups are right for you and your goals. Sending LinkedIn connection requests to your "must-meet" speakers and personalizing them by sharing a key takeaway from the event is a good place to start.
But don't end there; keep the momentum going. Kristy has a simple piece of advice to make that happen: make it a daily habit. "Schedule time every day," she says. "The key to expanding your network is to spend time building it every day. It doesn't have to be more than 10 minutes. Connect with 10 people on LinkedIn, join a virtual meetup, comment on someone's social post, share an article or quote that inspires you with someone in your network. Find out what works for you and go for it!"
- Grace Hopper Conference 2019 Guide - PowerToFly Blog ›
- 8 Diversity Conferences Not To Miss in 2021 - PowerToFly Blog ›
- 8 Diversity Conferences Not To Miss in 2021 - PowerToFly Blog ›
- 8 Diversity Conferences Not To Miss in 2021 - PowerToFly Blog ›
- 8 Diversity Conferences Not To Miss in 2021 - PowerToFly Blog ›
Not Everything is Engineering: Logicworks’ Courtney Pearce on Taking on Tech from a Sales Perspective
Courtney Pearce’s background isn’t one you’d expect to find in a tech sales position. But as a motivated self-starter, it makes all the sense in the world that she’s been so successful in her role as Solutions Specialist at Logicworks.
If you ask her what she’s most proud of about her time so far at Logicworks, she’ll say her growth over the last four years.
“Even though I came from a technology company that was selling software, selling infrastructure and infrastructure managed services is very different. There was a learning curve. And when I started four years ago, I was the only woman. So I felt like there was this uphill battle of educating myself on the cloud platform. Now, I'm one of the top sales reps and have consistent top performance. So I'm most proud of my growth over the last four years.”
Courtney has a lot of wisdom to impart to those interested in taking on the sales side of tech. We sat down with her to learn more about how she broke into the tech world by utilizing her retail experience.
An Unexpected Path Into Sales
Courtney started college as an Orthodontics major but eventually realized that science wasn’t her calling.
“Although I'm a great student, science and math were difficult subjects for me,” she admits. "I ended up taking a random textile and clothing elective and it was my favorite class.”
She enjoyed the breadth of the program and decided to become a Textiles and Clothing major.
“You got the opportunity to learn the sociology behind why people wear clothes, the chemistry behind dying, how to make fabric, then creating a line from start to finish and marketing that to the class,” she shares.
Although fascinated by the program, her career journey didn’t lead her to the fashion industry but rather to an adjacent career in retail.
“I ended up accepting a leadership position for a big box department store,” she says. “At 23 years old, I ran a 35 million dollar store. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.”
After two years of working in retail for various name brands, she found her way into a tech company through a recruitment role.
Breaking Into the Tech World
While Courtney was working at a recruiting firm, she was approached by a security tech company with a position as a technical recruiter. She was interested in the role and applied, but didn’t get an immediate response.
“I didn't hear back, but continued to follow up,” she recounts. "One night, I got a phone call that said, ‘You're not a good fit for the technical recruiter role, but we have this new group that we're building out called business development and they're working directly with sales. Based on your experience and the fact that you're willing to follow up, we think you'd be a great fit’.”
At the time Courtney knew nothing about the tech space but that didn’t stop her from interviewing for the position.
"I spent an entire week browsing the website, watching all their product marketing videos, and tried to wrap my head around what this security company did," she explains.
During the interview, she blew them away with her knowledge of the company.
“I gave my five-minute spiel and I think that impressed them,” Courtney shares. “I had taken the time to research the company, and not having had a tech background, I tried to comprehend what they do.”
Hired as a business development rep, she had the opportunity to build the team from the ground up.
Reaching New Heights at Logicworks
Courtney continued to rise in the ranks, but she eventually felt that she had hit a plateau. With a desire to try out something new, she looked to Logicworks who offered her the career advancement she was looking for.
“I had reached my potential with my previous employer. There wasn’t anything new for me to learn. I wanted to figure out what was next in my career. There was an opening at Logicworks for a Solution Specialist to be based in Boston. That was enticing for me.”
When Courtney moved to Logicworks she was able to explore job autonomy.
“It gave me the opportunity to move into a territory that I'd been working in for many years, but also run that territory like my own business,” she explains. "There was nobody else working within that space, and I could create the process that I wanted to.”
Now at Logicworks, she experiences the constant changes of a cloud system.
“I'm constantly learning,” she shares. “We're constantly evolving our services, what products we're providing, and how our services are integrated as the cloud is maturing. It keeps me interested every single day.”
Now as a sales lead, Courtney focuses on building relationships with current and potential clients.
Coincidentally, the relationship-building skills that Courtney uses on a daily basis come from her experience in retail.
“I think coming from retail, you have to be able to talk to anyone,” she says. “You're getting a lot of different customer personalities, so it allows me to be comfortable talking to strangers, which I think is key in sales.”
Along with sales experience, Courtney's internal drive has been key in propelling her forward.
“Being a self-starter and watching YouTube videos on what the cloud is, what AWS is, and taking that time on my own to learn and absorb as much as I can are, at the end of the day, the kinds of things that you can prepare you to enter the tech space,” she explains.
Ultimately, it was the skills she learned in retail and her self-taught understanding of tech that have led to her success.
Advice for Entering the Tech World Through Sales
If you're looking to enter the tech world from a sales angle, Courtney offers this advice:
- Find companies that resonate with your values. “Whether you like their product and think that product is solving a pain point in the marketplace, or you align with the company's values, work for a company whose mission you support,” Courtney advises.
- Be pleasantly persistent. “The biggest thing that helped me was when I reached out and nobody responded, and then I followed up and nobody responded, and then I followed up again and they called me. Being pleasantly persistent shows that you’re interested and invested in the organization,” she explains.
- Do your research. “Take the time to figure out what the company does and what they are all about. Educate yourself above and beyond the basic training material to ensure that you have the right knowledge base to be successful in the role.”
If you are looking to grow within the tech space, check out these open positions at Logicworks.
💎Nestlé’s manufacturing excellence team is growing. The team supports Nestlé USA factories that produce bakery sweets brands including Toll House, Libby's and Carnation, and Nestlé Professional Brands which supply food service operations. Watch the video to the end to apply and begin your career there!
📼The manufacturing excellence team seeks someone passionate about driving world-class manufacturing through continuous improvement methodologies. Jennifer Watson and Taylar Marshall, Senior Managers, give you all the information you need to join their team.
📼Join the manufacturing excellence team if you are a go-getter, someone who takes the initiative to establish cross-functional teams to eliminate losses. This also means you should be highly collaborative with a variety of people and have a curious mindset about how things are manufactured. If you fill these requirements, don’t hesitate to apply!
📼The manufacturing excellence team unlocks career path opportunities throughout different functions, locations, and brands across Nestlé USA. Jenny Watson shares her own experience: her career has included roles in three different functions: manufacturing excellence, manufacturing, and operations strategy. She was based out of three different locations: Springville, Utah, Solon, Ohio, and Medford, Wisconsin across four different categories. The opportunities at Nestlé are truly endless!
Inside The Manufacturing Excellence Team
This team is driving continuous improvement and project management routines in the Toll House factory to contribute to the overall expected business results in the bakery and sweets category. It is a boots-on-the-ground team that tries to solve complex problems with a focus on people development and operator capability building. No day is the same in their team!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Nestlé USA? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Jennifer Watson and Taylar Marshall
More About Nestlé USA
Nestlé USA has been nourishing a growing world for generations. No matter where you work within the Nestlé organization, you’ll discover new opportunities to grow while you help them inspire healthier lives, support local communities, do what’s right for the planet, and make an impact.
From September 12-15, 2022, PowerToFly hosted a four-day virtual event, featuring a three day summit and single day virtual job fair.
To kick off the event, attendees had the opportunity to partake in a one-hour guided networking session followed by three full days of fireside chats and panels where they were able to listen and ask questions to experts and thought leaders across multiple industries.
Featured Summit Topics Included:
- The Art & Science of How to Clarify Your Best Fit Career Path
- Going Back to the Drawing Board: How to Navigate Major Career Shifts
- Pulling Back the Curtain: Understanding What’s Happening Behind the Scenes In the Hiring Process
- 4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to a New Career
- Nailing the Basics: How to Grow with Intention and Purpose
- How to Break Into a New Industry Without Starting Over
Companies We Hosted At The Job Fair:
- Bank of America | Hiring for: Senior Financial Analysts, Business Bankers, Senior Technology Managers, and more!
- ScienceLogic | Hiring for: Technical Support Engineers, Chief Marketing Officers, Product Managers, Executive Assistants, and more!
- PowerToFly | Hiring for: Global DEIB Strategist & Trainers, Account Executives, Support Specialists, Events Specialists, and more!
Thank you for joining 4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to a New Career with Flatiron School Career Coach Betsy Kent! In case we weren’t able to get to your question in the Q&A, or if you thought of additional questions after we wrapped, here are two ways you can contact the Flatiron School Admissions team directly:
- Schedule a casual 10-minute chat with a Flatiron School Admissions rep
- Email us at email@example.com
Attending information sessions, panels, and workshops is the best way to get a sneak peek into what studying at Flatiron School is like — so don't miss what else is coming up! You can find a list of our events HERE.
Starting out as a viral trend on TikTok, the phrase “quiet quitting” has since taken over headlines everywhere from NPR to the Harvard Business Review. But what, exactly, is quiet quitting — and why are so many business leaders getting this so-called “crisis” wrong??
What is quiet quitting?
Per Psychology Today, “quiet quitting” isn’t actually quitting in the two-week notice sense of the word. It’s when employees keep doing their job, but only do the work that’s in their job description or covered by their explicit responsibilities. No going above and beyond. No late hours. No taking on extra projects that don’t come with extra remuneration.
Gallup similarly defines the trend as employees who are “not engaged” at work — people who “do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job.” Per their research, that’s a full 50% of the American workforce.
Why quiet quitting isn’t actually a crisis
As a burgeoning attitude toward work, quiet quitting makes perfect sense. With the challenges and stresses of the last few years impacting all workers — but especially working parents, people of color, women, and other marginalized groups — employees are looking for ways to set boundaries, disengage from work, and find working rhythms that work for them and their lives.
And that’s something companies should be supporting. Employers’ responsibility, after all, isn’t to slap a Band-Aid on the problems that are driving quiet quitting in order to get productivity metrics up. It’s to create the conditions for employees to succeed, with work that can be accomplished within reasonable working hours, and to incentivize and tangibly reward any engagement that goes beyond quiet-quitting levels.
It’s time we got this clear. Quiet quitting was never the crisis. Expecting employees to go above and beyond at work in order to maybe stand a shot at a pay raise and promotion next year was.
If you want to ensure your company culture is creating opportunities for folks to feel truly engaged, we’ve rounded up the steps to take below.
8 things your company needs to do to stop facilitating quiet quitting
Quiet quitting doesn’t mean that employees don’t want to work. It means that everyone — employees and employers alike — are recognizing, more than ever, that the workplace can and should be evolving to meet the needs of everyone involved in making work happen. Here are some ways that companies can ensure they are doing that, sourced from McKinsey research on burnout and engagement:
1. Hold your leadership accountable.
Culture is set by the people on the ground, and you need to know that your managers and leaders are creating a culture that’s supportive of mental health. This looks like incorporating mental health questions into regular employee satisfaction surveys, so you have data to track, and including the management of employee well-being as part of how leaders are evaluated and compensated. It also means getting rid of toxic leaders.
2. Destigmatize mental health and boundaries.
Most employers know that stigma exists at work, despite best intentions to fight it. But when employees are afraid to ask for help with mental health needs or to request accommodations so they can do their best work, everyone suffers. Companies can work to destigmatize the issue by highlighting senior leaders’ own experiences with mental health. Vulnerability can help promote psychological safety, as can rewarding employees for setting boundaries and using mental health and wellness benefits.
3. Evolve the kind of benefits you offer.
45% of people who have recently left their jobs said that their care responsibilities were a big part of their decision. Do the benefits your company offers reflect that reality? For instance — if employees must be on-site, can you offer on-site childcare? If not, do you offer a childcare stipend? Do you know what issues they are most struggling with, and are you responding?
4. Promote sustainable working hours.
Do your employees need to be at work — whether online or at the office — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Or can they set those hours to fit their own schedules? Do you have flexible work policies that are available to everyone, no matter their level of seniority? Hybrid work can facilitate unfair treatment when policies aren’t clear and universally applicable.
5. Provide opportunities for employees to build social ties.
Another reason employees are disengaged at the office? Lack of social support. It can be hard to make connections over video calls and chat, especially for new employees or those who haven’t worked remotely before. Investing in team building can help give employees access to social connections that make their work more meaningful over time.
6. Enable right-size workloads.
As employment has ebbed and flowed over the pandemic, and especially now during the Great Resignation, many companies are finding themselves short-staffed. But piling more work on the people who have stayed isn’t a sustainable solution — it just speeds up their own burnout. Creating
7. Facilitate upskilling and reskilling at work.
Per the McKinsey study linked above, employers who offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities end up with more engaged employees. It pays off for everyone involved: giving employees the chance to laterally move into a different job in order to learn a new set of skills can predict employee retention 250% more than compensation can, for instance.
8. Strengthen your commitment to DEIB.
Employees don’t want to work somewhere they don’t feel like they belong. McKinsey calls out five key action areas when it comes to making a DEIB commitment real: ensuring representation, holding leadership accountable, increasing transparency (like with analytics on promotions and pay), tackling issues with a zero-tolerance policy, and embracing intersectionality.