Klainer Center talk emphasizes importance of network building

Last Friday, the Pamela York Klainer Center for Women and Business hosted a panel discussion called "Networking with Pamela" - a lecture aimed at helping business students forge professional relationships.

The panel for the discussion consisted of the center's namesake, Pamela Klainer, Geneseo class of 2008 alumna Sarah Compo, Rose Anderson of the Alumni Association and Liz Seager of Career Services.

Klainer opened the discussion by reminiscing about her experiences in networking and the business world. She explained how networking should be approached as if you were "building a golden Rolodex."

"Networking has a social connotation," she said. "When you're building your golden Rolodex it's all about business."

Klainer pointed out the necessity of building business relationships with others: "The story of the CEO who makes it on his own is a myth … You can't do it alone."

Klainer also discussed the nature of a business relationship and reminded everyone that it is "never one-sided." She urged everyone to make themselves "interesting" because, "if you sound interesting people will find you interesting. It is that simple - but you have to present yourself that way for it to work."

Next, Compo encouraged current students to begin the process immediately: "I think one of the best things you can do in college to help you gain success later is to start building your network now," she said.

Compo also mentioned the benefits of interning, as she did with "The Today Show," The Democrat & Chronicle and an NBC affiliate in Rochester. She discussed how her early work in building her network helped her to gain her current position as assistant and booker for Jean Chatzky.

Anderson spoke third, touching on the possibilities of using Geneseo alumni as resources when building networks. "Geneseo alumni are great and always willing to help," she said. Ultimately, she encouraged students seeking direction to "do what you want to do - what you have a passion for."

Speaking last, Seager touched on a number of services available to Geneseo students through different organizations on campus including the alumni-career network database and the numerous networking workshops given by the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development organization. "Take advantage of the programs that the school offers," she said.

One audience member asked what graduating seniors had to offer others while attempting to begin the process of networking themselves. "Never underestimate what you have to offer somebody," said Seager, "You may not have it now but you will."

"You'll be surprised how many people will be willing to talk to you if you put forth the effort," said Klainer.