Once again, I am in awe of the energy in this city and never-ending opportunities for connection. They exist in leaps and bounds! You just need to be willing to put yourself out there, be bold, be vulnerable, ask for help, and remember to pay to back!
Thanks to a shared Uber ride following an exciting Sephora Demo Day event (that’s another story!), I stumbled upon the opportunity to meet a new contact, James @ WILSON-SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI and we had a very productive chat!
He was originally wearing headphones so I felt a little nervous about interrupting him, but when our driver seemed a bit lost, I wanted to check with my fellow passenger to make sure we were going in the same direction!
And once that was confirmed and his headphones were off, a fun conversation ensued! I shared:
- How I was new to San Francisco and keen to build my network
- I wanted to learn as much as I could about this entrepreneurial city
- Keen to get his insights and observations
- Let him know that ultimately, I aimed to find meaningful work and volunteer opportunities to continue to grow personally and professionally.
Productivity of SF People Showcased in One Swift Move
“I know who you should meet”, James said. “Let me make some introductions!”
He didn’t offer to do this off-handedly, and then forget it.
He didn’t wait until he got home.
He didn’t let a few days pass by and then forget.
He immediately opened up his laptop, and started typing away to make introductions.
“Wow, that’s pretty impressive”, I said. “I’ve adjusted to the fast pace of SF pretty quickly, in that I’m on LinkedIn messenger every day and respond via texts. But, you sir, are next level with the laptop!”
“I make this commute often [from Menlo Park to the City] so I’ve gotten used to doing this on my commutes”.
Wow – that’s the definition of efficiency! And that’s sincerity.
We had a fun chat and parted ways in Menlo Park, where I was off to a Canadian Expat event (organized by C100 – one of many Canadian Organizations I have been rolling up my sleeves to volunteer with (my interview with C100 intern here), followed by an evening with friends at the Rosewood Hotel.
Follow up from my Uber Ride Conversation and Invitation to a HR Tech Talent Trends Event
Shortly after my conversation with James, not only did I engage in productive conversation with contacts he introduced me to, but he also invited me to a Tech Talent Event sponsored by his organization!
I appreciated the invitation to hear from experienced HR Professionals in the Bay Area, including speakers who had overseen tremendous growth at notable tech companies like YELP and POSTMATES.
I learned some new insights (such as how to weigh stock options when evaluating offers, the benefits of a small startup vs an established company and how surprisingly, startups are paying very high salaries to get top talent!)
James also ensured that I got to meet with a few people in the room, including a fellow who overheard that I was new to the city.
“Did I overhear you say you were a Founder?”
“Uhh, yes that’s right!” I stammered. “I just moved from Vancouver where I was working on a Social Impact Fashion Startup (LookLab – blog posts) and also running Personal Development Events (Recaps).
Those were on the side, however, my full time work was Innovation and Partnerships with the University.”
“Follow up with me. I want to invite you to an event with other Women Founders.”
I emailed him as soon as I got home.
I also made sure to express my gratitude to James for making this all happen.
How I ultimately got an exclusive invite to an “Inspiring Connectivity” event
The carefully curated event was Founded by Darryl Grant, Managing Director at Merrill Corporation and the evening was created on the idea that meaningful connections can happen when you put talented people in a room. No agenda! No formal program!
Expressing my Gratitude on LinkedIn
My Key Lessons for Creating Opportunities
- Make conversation – this all happened because I was willing to take a chance and initiative conversation.
- Say Yes to invitations – I had a slight headache actually, the night of the HR Tech Trends Event. But, I had already registered and knew the tylenol would eventually kick in so I headed over knowing that I would learn new things and hopefully make 1 or 2 new connections. What an understatement!
- Follow up and offer to give back. I was thrilled to be invited to the Inspiring Connectivity event and gained a lot of new exposure as a result. So, I made sure to promptly thank James for making this original intro, and also to share online and spread the good message. I intend to pay it forward when I can as well and follow in the footsteps of these fine humans!
I hope this inspires you and gives you confidence to make some new connections as well! Please reach out if you would like to learn more expat life in San Francisco, or to get advice and coaching on how to build your network! #LifestyleDesign #PersonalDevelopment