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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 2009
I attended a trade show recently for “BizBash Media,” the magazine geared toward Event and Meeting Planners. It was a fascinating day of informative seminars, a wild showroom floor, and a professionally produced award show. This article isn’t about the expo, though. It’s about someone I met that day and her motivational story of how she got where she is today. (If you’d like details about the day, visit my friend Marcello Pedalino’s blog at http://mmpentertainmentblog.com)
During the trade show, I heard David Adler, the CEO, and founder of Biz Bash, refer to “Jackie.” He said something to the effect that the current “New York Publisher” started by volunteering at a trade show and asking such interesting questions that she stood out and was offered a job.
As someone who is always looking for interesting stories of advancement and how people spot talent, I perked up and noted who “Jackie” was. Later at the wrap-up cocktail party, I made sure to meet her and exchange business cards. She generously agreed to answer some questions for me and what I thought was an interesting story at first is much more than that. It’s an example of how we can find talent just by being aware of those around us. It’s also an example of how, if you want something wrong enough, you’ll figure out a way to get it.
So now, please say hello to Jacqueline Gould, New York Publisher of BizBash magazine.
After graduating from Penn State, Jackie “job-hopped” for a while, not knowing what she wanted to do but knowing she didn’t want to do something she didn’t enjoy. So what did she enjoy? “I love to be in charge of things; I like to plan things; I loved to get people to events I had hosted with my sorority.” Someone suggested event planning, and as an entrée into the field, Jackie decided to start volunteering for some non-profit organizations. “They always need help,” she explained, “and are more than willing to take you on.” She also heard about BizBash being “The Source” for anyone involved in event planning. BizBash had a tradeshow coming up, so Jackie volunteered to help naturally. “I used all of my vacation days from my current employer to attend BizBash volunteer meetings,” she recalls, and “I ended up becoming a head volunteer and helping organize the other volunteers.”
Jackie had a plan for the trade show. She was determined to stand out. “I had decided to go into the education conferences,” she says. “When I took a look at the speakers, I knew that’s who I had to get to know eventually.” (As a conference speaker, I believe Jackie demonstrates a lot of wisdom here.) “I made sure to ask questions during the Q&A’s so I would become a familiar face.”
The plan worked—big time. Jackie left BizBash with five interviews. But the biggest catch of all was BizBash itself. “I had also been approached by David Adler, the CEO and Founder of BizBash Media . . . he wanted me to come work for him.” The position he was offering was sales which wasn’t Jackie’s first choice, but she took it, and six years later, “I ended up as a publisher.”
OF COURSE, when I heard this story, I related to David Adler. He’s got to be pretty proud of his “radar.” I’ll be expanding on this topic in next month’s issue but for now, suffice to say that Mr. Adler spotted someone (who, albeit, was doing her best to stand out) and took action. He offered a job to someone he had a gut feeling about, and six years later, he’s got himself an invaluable asset. When I asked Jackie about her climb through the ranks at BizBash, she doesn’t credit anything but gold old fashion elbow grease: “Hard work, dedication, and long hours!” she says. “The harder I worked, the more sales I made, and ultimately, I would make more money.” And besides the money, what else motivated her? “David, along with the rest of upper management, trusted me and listened to my ideas. This always made me feel good, needed, and part of a team. Feeling the company trusted me and rewarded me when situations arose was huge for my success. They were loyal to me. I would remain loyal to them.”
Want a blueprint for keeping your staff motivated and loyal? That’s it right there.
So I asked Jackie to wrap up her story with some words of wisdom or motivation for the next eager “up and comer.” She shared some great advice: “Non-Profits are a great way to get some experience on your resume. Networking groups, too, offer to write their newsletter for a break in the membership fee. Attend tradeshows. Attending speaker sessions with people currently working in a career of your choosing. Ask questions at the end of the session and introduce yourself after. Ask for their business card, and a day or so later, thank them for their time and invite them to lunch. The worst they can say is No. Who cares? She finished up with: “The bigger net you throw, the more fish you catch, and one day, one of those fish will bite because the timing will be right, and they will have an opening.”
It was a pleasure hearing Jackie’s story, and I know the next time someone stands out in the crowd for me, I’ll remember her path to success at BizBash, and like Mr. Adler, I’ll take action. But, like Jackie says, “The worst they can say is No.”
Mike Walter is the owner of Elite Entertainment of New Jersey and a nationally recognized expert in multisystem company development and staff training. You can contact Mike at email@example.com.