Building Your Personal ‘Board of Directors’

Networking: the dreaded task we all face as the “real world” approaches. A wonderful human I met at a women’s leadership conference (shout out to Brittany Irby, the queen of networking!) helped me learn how to make networking a little less painful and a lot more productive. A board of directors should help guide you to success by providing a variety of supports and advice as you hurdle through this wild thing we call life. Build your own personal board of directors by finding these four people in your life and asking them for help along each step of the way:

  1. The Coach should be someone who can encourage you while you are down, while still helping you come up with solutions to whatever problems you are facing. AKA, find your Derek Mason in a field of Vandy football players.

  1. The Connector knows a lot of people and can be the introduction to many new relationships. This person will help you network in general as well as in your specific industry.

  2. The Cheerleader should love to encourage you and have the ability to cheer you on at low points and high points (thanks mom!).

  1. The Challenger never allows you to lie to yourself and will call you out when you are not doing your best. A little tough love can go a long way!

While it might seem like a difficult task to pull together your personal board of directors, a great first step is to look at your inner circle to see who might already be up for the task. Find a parent, aunt, cousin, or friend who can coach you through the rough moments. Find a professor who believes in you and ask them to connect you to other people in your department. Find someone in your professional world who can connect you to new people and job opportunities. Find mentors that will help you grow and will challenge you to new heights. There are so many ways to fill your board, so get out there and just start looking.