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How to Build a Strong, Supportive Network and Choose Collaboration Over Competition

With Cate Luzio and Zanade Mann

30 minutes

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Building a strong business isn’t always about beating out your competition. Many successful business owners believe that collaboration and leaning into your network can greatly expedite your journey to success. In this discussion from the 2022 Women in Business Summit, Cate Luzio, CEO and founder of Luminary, and Zanade Mann, founder and managing director of Black Women’s Business Collective, discuss how business owners can build a strong and fruitful network, as well as the ways networking has enriched their businesses.


Cate Luzio CEO and Founder of Luminary

Founder and CEO of Luminary, Cate Luzio’s passion for empowering women has led her to develop a premier collaboration hub dedicated to women’s professional development and network expansion in New York City. Cate currently serves on the National Board for Girls Inc. and has over 20 years of leadership experience in financial services with prestigious companies, such as HSBC and J.P. Morgan. She has been recognized on the Most Powerful Women in Banking List by American Banker and Female Founders 100 by Inc. in 2019. She has also been featured in Financial Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fast Company, Bloomberg, WWD, Robb Report, Women’s Health, and more.

Zanade Mann Founder and Managing Director of Black Women’s Business Collective

Zanade is a marketing and communications professional dedicated to helping small brands, nonprofits, educational institutions, and companies build brand awareness and loyalty online. For over a decade, she has helped organizations identify missed opportunities and develop digital strategies to achieve measurable outcomes. She is passionate about digital marketing, professional development, leadership training, and community building, which led her to found the Black Women’s Business Collective, an initiative created to provide access and resources to Black and Afro-Latina women business owners.

Emily: This next session is going to be a special one. Both of these fabulous women have been part of previous summits, and I’m so grateful to have them back again sharing their expertise with us. Cate Luzio is actually the founder of Luminary, which is one of our partners and where the giveaway is going, so Cate will certainly give you a little bit more insight into that group, but she is going to lead this conversation with Zanade, which, man, do I feel fortunate to listen to you two. You guys are both wonderful experts, just such bursts of energy, and this is going to be a great session. I’ll kick it over to you, Cate. Take it away.

Cate: Thanks, Emily. And I think she actually pointed at the chat when she said the links are in the chat, which is actually pretty cool.

Zanade: Right?

Cate: So welcome, everybody. I love seeing all the engagement, and I’m thrilled to be back. This is my second year, I think, at the Yelp Women In Business Summit, and I’m pumped because Zanade and I get to have real live, well live via Zoom, chat and talking about really things that I think aren’t talked enough about, real talk around collaboration over competition; around really leveraging our networks. But before we get into the conversation (and we only have a half an hour), so this is going to go by quick. Zanade, let’s hear your quick story.

Zanade: Okay. We’ll make it really, really quick, 15 second pitch. So I will gladly say I was recently recognized as a Top Woman of Impact from Entrepreneur Magazine. So excited by that, so I just want to let everyone know that, for my women’s empowerment and economic development work with the Black Women’s Business Collective.

Zanade: And we have an amazing community and network, and the last panel really was helpful talking about how you have to lean on these networks and really get with your tribe, and that’s it. You can go find out about that, just I’m sure they’ll put it in the link, but I’m very excited to get into this discussion.

Cate: Yeah. And we’ll cover more about your background and your story throughout the conversation. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Cate Luzio. I’m the founder and CEO of Luminary. Before I founded Luminary, which is a professional and personal growth platform, used to just be in New York city, pre-pandemic. Now we’re in 30 countries virtually, as well as in New York city with a physical space.

Cate: I was a banker for almost 20 years, so really rose through the pipeline and on the corporate ladder. And one of the things that I learned very early on in my career that has really helped me through my entrepreneurial journey over the last three years, Zanade, is the fact that you really need to build strong relationships, strong sponsorships, strong mentorship, and strong community around yourself, right?

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: Around your table, and I use the table lightly, but around your own table that can help you, and then also make sure that, yes, you can be super competitive individually, but you’ve got to do that while you’re collaborating.

Cate: So I am excited to just get into, you run an incredible community, right?

Zanade: Yeah.

Cate: So can you talk just a little bit about why that was so important, not just creating it, but also for you as a Black woman?

Zanade: Oh, wow. I’ll tell you that… So I always have this thing about betting on yourself and while that’s great, I think that there’s something to be said about leaning on others. And when the pandemic happened, a lot of my close friends in business, Black women in business, we, myself included, lost tons of contracts. I work for government agencies, and a lot of them had frozen our contracts. It was devastating.

Zanade: And we were just like having these Zoom calls or just these conversations on what is it that we can do to fix this? We have to figure something out, and that’s where the idea came from. I’m not like a data scientist. I know how to do directories and stuff, but it was an idea of how can we get a massive number of women, Black women in business, together to one, for one awareness so we can all know about each other and then lean on each other within these times and see if there’s opportunities for collaboration.

Zanade: How can we make money? How can we survive? How can we stay above water during these times? And that was the importance of it, but pre-pandemic, it was always that need for us to collectively gather, and I just didn’t have the vehicle, or at least I didn’t know what vehicle to use to make this happen, and the pandemic really just brought everything to light, and that’s, that’s how BWBC started.

Cate: So similar to me. So as I spent all this time in banking, corporate America, very male-dominated, and there were very few women at the top, and then I saw more women around me, but certainly not what it needed to be. And so when I created Luminary pre-pandemic, I never thought that a community could get so large. I really created it for myself, but I saw all of these women in corporate going, “I need more support. I need more mentorship. I need other people to talk to. How do we get to where we’re going to be?” And I love the bet on yourself because it’s something that I say. There’s nobody better to bet on than yourself, but you can’t do it alone.

Cate: And so pre-pandemic, we launched Luminary. That was that physical space. And then pandemic hits, and it’s like, wait a second. We need community now more than ever, and this is actually, I think in particular to both our communities, this is how we actually really create change, right?

Zanade: That’s right. That’s right.

Cate: Together. We can’t do it alone.

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: And we talked a few weeks ago. We’ve got to even come together bringing our communities together to work together.

Zanade: Yes.

Cate: And that’s the spirit of collaboration.

Zanade: That’s right. That’s right.

Cate: As most people think, “Well, if I collaborate, I’m going to lose out.” Right?

Zanade: Yeah.

Cate: “It’s my business.” It’s that immediate need to compete versus collaborate. So as you’ve seen over the last, since you’ve started this, and I would actually even go a little bit before, into your sort of your day job and the career that you’ve had, how was that, the spirit of competition versus collaboration? Especially because I’m sure oftentimes you were one of the only at the tables.

Zanade: Yes. Which I actually hate.

Cate: Right.

Zanade: I really do not like that. But what I will say is, and I was driving around today and I heard a song. What is it? Bill Withers, Lean On Me. And he says something in there where he says, “I just might have a problem that you understand. We all need somebody to lean on.” And it made me think about this conversation today because throughout my trajectory of my career, the Black Women’s Business Collective, I’ve needed to lean on people to not only make this system and make this, I call it an ecosystem, people call it a tribe, whatever you want to call it, how do you make this work? And I know that there are no self-made people. That’s my belief.

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: We do need people. I don’t like self-made, this idea of, oh, you may have worked hard alone in your office and or whatever to make things work, but that first sale is it’s a lifting up of people that you need, whether you’re selling something, whether it is a community, and throughout my career, it has been… it’s been interesting.

Zanade: And I want to add in that nowadays, creating in public, these terms that we hear, and collaboration, we have to also understand that there are, unfortunately, there are people out there that don’t have good intentions or the best interests, so it’s hard. You actually have to practice discernment. And what I’ve been doing recently is having calls with as many women that would respond, so it’s been very heavy and taxing on my time, but I love it. And I’m listening to the women, and they all are saying similar things: “I’ve been doing this by myself, but I’m scared. I don’t want someone to steal my idea.”

Zanade: So having that on one end, and on the other end just not knowing how to collaborate, how do you start these conversations? And you and I spoke about that whole slow and steady part of networking.

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: It’s the same thing with collaboration. Sending an IG message to someone saying, “Hey, wear my shirt. I’ll send you $10,” or whatever. That may work for some, but that is not true collaboration. And if you want to collaborate, you really do need to tap into these networks and find out who is who, find out what they are doing, see where there’s some adjacent collaboration that can happen. And specifically, if you’re looking for government contracts or you’re looking… I think about event planners all the time.

Cate: Yeah.

Zanade: You do balloon stands and this person does linens and you’re separately competing, but you can come together under one umbrella and win a wedding contract or whatever the terms are. But it’s just really thinking strategically and being willing to really just put yourself out there. We’re not saying you have to put your secret sauce out in the world if that’s your, “I’m scared that someone’s going to steal my idea,” but it really is, one, just being open, really networking, taking it slow and steady because not everyone’s going to want to collaborate with someone they just met, right?

Cate: Right.

Zanade: You just want to cultivate those relationships, and that’s what I’ve had to do over the last 20 years. And you see I said 20 years. Things didn’t just develop, and I’m not saying, because someone’s probably listening like, I don’t got 20 years, and yes you do.

Cate: Yeah.

Zanade: Time is going to pass anyway. You have to just take your time, know what you want and really work backwards. I’m someone who strategically looks at every, even being on this call, speaking with you is, to me, that’s strategic, right?

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: I’ve put myself out there. I’ve networked. I’ve built my personal brand. I’ve built the Black Women’s Business Collective. And that’s the only reason I’m sitting in this seat right now talking to you. And that’s through networking and branding, et cetera, and all those things, but that’s the strategy. This is what you have to do if you really want to collaborate and you really want that strong network.

Cate: Yeah. I love the term “slow and steady.” And it’s the long game, right?

Zanade: Yeah.

Cate: If you are just thinking super transactionally, it’s not going to happen. It may happen once or twice, but that is not something that’s sustainable.

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: You really have to invest in relationships, and I think of the same: 20 years of building up my network, investing in it, nurturing, creating new connections, not only for me but for others. That was instrumental to launching Luminary and the community that we’ve built, but it’s also not just me. This is that ecosystem. I love that because that’s what we say too. It’s an ecosystem.

Zanade: See? This is why we got to work together.

Cate: I know. I know.

Zanade: This is crazy.

Cate: I know. I know. And that’s actually, that’s how the magic happens. Because when I teach, and we teach every month a business plan bootcamp at Luminary.

Zanade: Love it.

Cate: And to teach business owners, whether they’re starting, they’re pivoting, they’re adapting. And one of the things that I say is when you do your competitive analysis, yes, they’re competitors, but they can also be peers and look at them that way.

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: And then look at those peers and say, do they have something that you don’t have that you likely will never have? Do you have something that they don’t have that they may never have? And can there be ways for you to come together? It’s like that little emoji with the mind blow thing when I have that, because people go, I never thought of it that way. Partner?

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: But you have to do the work. And to your earlier point, you have to be very discerning, right?

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: Not everybody’s going to be a partner, but this idea of figuring out ways to collaborate. In banking, I used to say, it’s much easier to compete than collaborate, because when you collaborate, you have to figure out ways where it’s a one plus one equals three or a win-win. When you’re competing, it’s all about, I just got to get to the finish line first.

Zanade: Right.

Cate: Doesn’t work in our case as women in business.

Zanade: That is right. I absolutely agree with that. There’s also a lot of myths with like, “women can’t work together.” I’ve been hearing that since—and I started networking at 17; I do not play—I’m always out there learning and I would always hear that from men, like “women don’t work well together.”

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: “Women don’t like other women.” Chris Rock had a joke about that, like “women hate other women.”

Cate: Yeah.

Zanade: And this is the messaging that’s out there, and that’s also the messaging that we are ingesting as well, that we have to do it alone. I am very fortunate to say that, it’s nice and it’s not personally me, but to hear a Black woman be the first of something, it’s still amazing, but it’s just like, come on. We have so far to go with that.

Zanade: Let’s celebrate that moment, but then how do we bring more? We don’t have to be the one and only in things, and that stops us sometimes, and I always say we have to just be open. We have to be open to collaborating and networking. And the networking, and I feel like we have to define some of this. I know I don’t want to waste time with it, but I really think that networking, sponsorship, allyship, all these different words, they become trendy and people don’t necessarily understand what that means. So you had mentioned sponsor. I heard you say sponsor earlier.

Cate: Yeah. Sponsor. Yes.

Zanade: So I do have a lot of younger women in the collective and they’ll say like, how do I get it? Because I’ll tweet something about sponsorship. How do I get a sponsor? And I’m like, well, like that is relationship building.

Cate: Exactly.

Zanade: I went to a retreat last year. I met this wonderful woman, and she has been like a sponsor but she started as a mentor telling me things. And she’s way younger than me, which I had to be open to that. I was like, what is this woman? She doesn’t look like me. She’s in her twenties. I’m like, what could she actually bring to my ecosystem? And she has opened up the door for many things, and that’s just me saying, I’m just going to trust this. I’m like, I don’t know what this is about, but she popped up in my world, and let me…

Zanade: What I’m trying to say is you have to be trusting, and to build a sponsorship relationship, you don’t go apply for a sponsorship anywhere, right?

Cate: Right.

Zanade: Where are you applying for this at? Once you develop those relationships, and it may be through mentorship—so I want to also call that it out. There’s nothing wrong with mentorship. And I don’t know, Cate, if you’ve heard that around like social media, but I feel like people are downplaying mentoring.

Cate: Yes. Yeah.

Zanade: Like, no, you don’t need a mentor. You need a coach. Well, maybe you do. I have a mentor. I have a coach. I have a sponsor. I have it all. But there’s something to be said, and usually depending on your mentoring relationship, it will turn into a sponsorship, depending on who that person is.

Cate: Totally. No, no, you’re totally right. And that’s this idea of the long game, right?

Zanade: Yes.

Cate: It is not walking up to someone after they speak at a conference and said, “I love what you said. Can you be my mentor?” That is not how it works. Or “can you be my sponsor?” And it doesn’t matter if you’re in corporate America. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your small business. By the way, peer mentorship, peer sponsorship is equally as important, right?

Zanade: Yes.

Cate: So I look at, especially women business owners, as they’re out pitching, if they’re looking for fundraising, as they’re looking for clients, think of the mouthpiece that can be amplified when you have peer sponsors talking about your business, talking about why we should buy from you; why should we should hire. That’s sponsorship at a small business level or at an entrepreneurial level.

Cate: And then when you think about again, the corporate pipeline, it’s like great, build those relationships because organically, that’s how sponsorship happens.

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: And even with formal mentoring programs, which right or wrong, people have lots of different thoughts about them. At the end of the day, it requires a give and a get. It requires reciprocity and a two-way street.

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: So you get what you give. And so if you just go in thinking, what am I going to get out of this? That’s not a mentor relationship.

Zanade: Problem number one.

Cate: Right? And I think that’s so much of what we forget about as we’re figuring out the next step, as we’re trying to get ahead, is that, “I got to do it. I got to do it fast. And who can I call in to help me?” Absolutely call on people to help you, but call on those that you’ve invested time in, right?

Zanade: Right. That’s so true. That’s exactly what I did with BWBC. I went through LinkedIn. I went through everyone that I’ve had some interaction with and I announced what I was doing and really bartering, right?

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: That’s another part since we’re talking about business. There’s a lot of women who we say, “Oh, get you some employees.” Come on. Let’s keep it real. Some of us just don’t have the money to hire multiple employees. And if you’re not, if you’re bootstrapping and going lean, you don’t have that. But in BWBC, we have this huge B2B component, right?

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: So now we have these really needy businesses with other needy businesses and they have different needs, so I make these warm intros for them, and next thing you know, one business is helping out with advertising and the other business is making a connection to suppliers. It’s just a beautiful thing that happens when you think—

Zanade: And you mentioned this earlier—when you really do stop and think and turn off all these devices just for a moment, turn it all off. Get you a piece of paper. I always have… Listen, I knew I was talking. I still got a piece of paper here.

Cate: Me too.

Zanade: I’m like somebody’s going to say something, and you just need to think. And we are all very creative beings, so no one on these panels or anything was saying anything so magical that we can’t figure out what is going on within our businesses, but it’s just important to just think about what you want for your business.

Zanade: I was, and I don’t know if you are familiar, but I was a New York City public school teacher, and when I was going through my masters program, they taught us this universal by design, this backward planning, and it was so amazing when it came to my business and everything that I’ve been doing for so long. I’m like, oh, so all I have to do is start with the end, because that’s really what it is.

Zanade: And then you start putting those pieces in. So you need marketing, you need this. Then, oh, who do I know? And it’s really magic. That part is magic. When you really just sit down, get it together and then start tapping the network. Now, if you feel you have no one. Someone will say, there’s always an outlier, I don’t know anybody.

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: Okay. You come to these panels. I always tell people, never leave a room without introducing yourself twice, so if you are in some type of environment on Zoom where they allow you to type in the comments, I’m always like, “Hey, I’m Zanade. If I’m a participant. Hey, I’m Zanade. You want to connect on LinkedIn?”

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: Like just little things, and at the end, I’ll say it again. It’s an ecosystem that you have to create for yourself: networking, sponsorship, growing your business. And if you’re in here, if you are listening now, you should be thinking about, who’s on this call and who do I need to reach out?

Cate: Who’s on it? 100%.

Zanade: That’s it.

Cate: And if you use the non-speaker view, you can actually see other people, I think. Oh no. I think. I’m not sure, but on a normal Zoom you can.

Zanade: Let me look.

Cate: I always say this, my networking tip. We are on these Zooms, Teams, Webexs, and the reality is either someone asks us a question and you see their name, maybe they introduce… Take the opportunity to introduce yourself, even if you’re not speaking. Put it in the chat, who you are, your LinkedIn, where you want people to follow you.

Cate: If you’ve got a business, it better be in there too because that’s free marketing and advertising, right?

Zanade: Yeah. Yeah.

Cate: These platforms that we’re now so used to using, why aren’t we using them more effectively? I feel like I say this on every Zoom. And then by the way, okay, “I know I need to connect with her offline. She had a great question. She made a great point. She said, here’s my LinkedIn.” Take advantage. And don’t take advantage in two years and say, “Hey, I heard you say this two years ago.”

Zanade: Remember me?

Cate: This is really important, right?

Zanade: Yeah.

Cate: And I’m sorry. I just saw someone. The chat is disabled, but we can see your chats. So you will see our LinkedIns. But I think on normal Zooms, and even if you’re not an entrepreneur or business owner at your at your company, I can guarantee, especially if it’s a medium-size company, you don’t know everyone and everyone doesn’t know you or what you do, so take the opportunity to create connections, right?

Zanade: That’s right. That’s right.

Cate: One of the other questions that I had is mindset. So it goes to something you just said around, “I don’t know anyone,” or “I think if I introduce myself to that person, they’re going to take my idea.” There is a fear factor in a lot of this, both from the collaboration side, but just, “How do I get started expanding my network?”

Cate: And one of the things that I’ll just share is several years ago, I joined a board, Girls Inc., which is amazing, and I love that the board was super diverse. And there was a woman that sat next to me, an amazing Black woman, Susan Chapman Hughes, so shout out. She’s a great friend now. And what I realized at that time was, I was still a banker and my friends were mostly white men and white women, and it forced me to look at my network. Now, and when I built Luminary, I knew I wanted to be purposeful and intentional, not only about the community, but about my network. And so we also have to make sure that our networks and our communities aren’t just people that look like us.

Zanade: That’s right. That’s right. So I shared a story. I had a call with a young woman who has a new business for about a year or whatever, and we were having this great conversation, and I told her when… So I have an accounting degree and when I was—I have a few degrees. Black women have degrees. We have the most.

Cate: You do.

Zanade: We do, right? So I do have three. So my first degree in accounting, I had an internship. Back then it was UBS PaineWebber, and all white men my advisors, and they would teach me to diversify. What’s the term that they say? Diversify your portfolio and do that.

Zanade: And I said, so I’m saying to myself, I’m poor. Yeah. I was like, I’m broke. I can’t diversify my portfolio because I have no money, so what can I diversify? And I chose many, many years ago to diversify my network, exactly to what you are saying. So I had shared a story that I know someone in probably every single industry. I have volunteered. We didn’t talk too much about that, but being of service also helps build your network. It’s not all, and you did mention, it’s not all about you and what you’re doing and your business and “I need you to buy my product.” It’s really about being of service, and that’s what I did for about almost a decade with different organizations in different industries. I was learning, I was being of service. I was building my network.

Zanade: And, and this is how we all have to do that. You have to diversify your network. And how do you do that? Somebody is probably thinking, “How do you diversify your network?” In this virtual world, you can now pop up in every industry event just to learn, right?

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: And your name… So we have that. Back in my New York City networking days, and we were talking about that, I would just, wherever there were free events, because I didn’t have money back then to really do anything, I would show up to every free networking event that they had, and I would just learn. And I shared that story with you that if there was a panel, instead of like running towards the celebrity or whoever’s in there talking, I would go and network with whoever was with them. So you can always like comb the room. See? This is strategy. People are not thinking about this.

Cate: Absolutely.

Zanade: I’m combing the room, and I would notice someone’s standing on the left, holding a purse with a phone or something and staring at the panel, so really close to the stage. I said, okay, that’s probably an assistant, it’s probably someone. And I would jet right over there. You know how many events I got invited to with that strategy? Sometimes it wasn’t the person I thought it was, but then I would just find someone and we would talk. Now I’m talking to this person for 20 minutes about their life, and next thing you know, I’m exchanging information and they’re inviting me to this celebrity or this personality’s next event.

Cate: Yeah.

Zanade: People would look at all my old pictures online. It’s like, “How did you get? Who is this lady? How the hell did she get in this event?” That’s how I got in that event, and then I built up from there because of my energy. You have to be a good person too. I feel like we should say that.

Cate: Absolutely.

Zanade: Being a good person—

Cate: Authentic.

Zanade: Be authentic, all those buzz words. You need to be that when you are doing your, whatever it is. If you think you need to have people in XYZ industry, then you need to just go and show up. Maybe it’s not about you. Just learn to listen, absorb something, and then maybe that’s what you use when you pitch them or you reach out to them and you say, “Hey, at the event you mentioned, da da da da da da.”

Cate: Exactly.

Zanade: “I thought that was really helpful.” People don’t understand how powerful that is, Cate.

Cate: Because you were listening.

Zanade: We got to convince them.

Cate: Because you were listening, also. It shows that you were listening, you were paying attention, right?

Zanade: Right.

Cate: And I think it’s the same whether you’re in a Zoom session, you meet someone even through a random connection. Establish a rapport so there’s a reason for the relationship. I use the term “the power of social capital.”

Zanade: I like that.

Cate: Or “relationship capital,” because we all need it. We think all the time as business owners access to capital is only about funding and money, right?

Zanade: Right.

Cate: But in order to build your career, in order to build your business, in order to build your client base, all of that, you need social capital. You need relationship capital.

Zanade: 100%.

Cate: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Utilize context. And by the way, not everybody’s going to be like, “Hey, let’s connect,” and that is also okay.

Zanade: Yes.

Cate: I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned as a salesperson in banking for many, many years is you got to be okay with nos, because there’s always a yes—

Zanade: I need some mentorship from you, because sometimes I’ll be, I don’t put it out there, but I’ll be in my, I’ll just be human, like did they really tell me no?

Cate: Well, no, no. Zanade, I still do that too, but then you got to move on to the next thing, right?

Zanade: That is very true.

Cate: And I think that’s the thing. I know we’re so close to time. I had one last—

Zanade: Aww.

Cate: I know, I know. One last question that someone actually wrote and that it was actually on my list. How do I make this more purposeful in expanding my network?

Zanade: How do I make—

Cate: How do I make it more purposeful? How do I make it not just about, I got to get a bunch of context? Remember the old days when we used to hand out a bunch of business cards?

Zanade: Yes. Yes. See, but let me tell you what I used to do with the business cards, real quick. I would literally write memorable things about the person right on the back. I used to be like, okay. So when I reach out, I would say that red lipstick that you had on was fantastic, like I’m a red lipstick girl, and all of a sudden—

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: So that’s how, in the virtual world, that’s how you make this purposeful. You first… My opinion, so Cate, I want to hear your response as well. It has to be of service.

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: So yes, if you’re a salesperson, that’s a whole other conversation, because obviously that’s a different strategy.

Cate: Yes.

Zanade: But the rest of us, you have to make it about the other person. It cannot, like you can talk a little bit about, here’s where, because I’m in marketing and public relations, here’s where I’m going to tell you your sale and your selling points really should come from is when you have your digital assets put together.

Zanade: So if I say to you, “Reach out to me on LinkedIn,” or I go and follow you, I go search or whatever, everything you want me to know should already be there.

Cate: Be there.

Zanade: So now it’s kind of like, “Oh, wow. I didn’t know. Wait a minute. She was in Entrepreneur Magazine. Okay, great.” And I didn’t even have to say that to you, right?

Cate: Yeah.

Zanade: It was just kind of I made that. You have to work on making that first contact. It’s almost like the first impressions, right?

Cate: Yep.

Zanade: You see somebody handsome. You’re like, “Oh my goodness.” They didn’t say anything to you. You just, it’s something, right?

Cate: Totally.

Zanade: So getting that first—focus on the first impression, and the rest, you make sure that you have your stuff set up. So if you are doing networking and you decide right now, I’m going to start reaching out to people, you better believe if you reach out to me… My business website is I am all in people’s business. I want to know what you’re doing. Who are you? I’m in your Twitter. You may not think I’m in your Twitter. I’m over there like, “Oh, I’m a year in. I’m doing the scroll. What’s she talking about before I reach out to her?” And get your stuff together, is what I want to say.

Cate: Totally. I couldn’t agree more. And I will just end this by saying: Do your research. Do your homework. You do it for your partner, the person you want to spend your time with, your friends, you do research, right?

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: Do that for your network. Do that. Build those relationships and know the audience.

Zanade: That’s right.

Cate: Really understand why you’re reaching out to them, why they would talk to you, and then if you’ve got an ask, have it ready.

Zanade: That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. You’re brilliant.

Cate: Zanade, this is amazing. We are going to connect soon.

Zanade: Yes.

Cate: Hopefully at some point in person, and I am going to hand it back to you, Emily. Thanks for having us.

Zanade: Thank you.

Emily: You two will always remain on my faves list. Thank you guys so much. That session was incredible. And I truly think that learning how to collaborate and connect with others is one of the biggest barriers a lot of people have from working every day in their business to really working on their business, and so I’m so glad you guys can share some of your advice and learning, so that was fantastic.

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