The Art of Networking with Jerry Kleeman | Ep. 29

Imagine being in a new city, in a new country, where you don’t know anyone and having to build your professional and personal network from a completely zero base. This is what my husband – Jerry Kleeman – agreed to do over 20 years ago when he moved from the US to Adelaide, Australia to take on a senior role in a global company. He is now considered by many people to be the person who knows everyone. And his ongoing networking activities continue to return value for him, his clients, and others in his network.

Networking often instills dread in many of us; so I wanted to bring Jerry onto the show, sharing his somewhat extreme network building story to encourage you to embrace network building activities (not just meeting new people at events). Unlike Jerry, you already likely know many people – this is your existing network and is a great place to start becoming intentional with when it comes to progressing your board goals. From there, you can start to work outwards, building an intentional, valuable network who will go to bat for you when it comes to board opportunities.

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Key Takeaways

  • There’s no silver bullet when it comes to networking; you need to incorporate a mix of networking activities.
  • Have a goal; have a plan; emulate the experts; get a little bit out of your comfort zone.
  • Networking is: interacting with others; developing professional and social contacts. It’s not throwing your business card at as many people as possible and thinking that’s going to work for you!
  • Find go-to people for your network AND work at being the go-to person for people in your network.
  • Everybody has networking opportunities around them: even if you’re not physically getting out and about.
  • Maintaining or nurturing your network is just as important as – or even more important than – adding new people into your network.
  • The phrase: ‘your network determines your net worth’ rings loud and true in the board space. Your board career is relying on you getting out of your comfort zone!
  • Networking is important for aspiring and for new and existing board members.
  • Networking – taken in its broadest form – is an ongoing activity. CONSISTENCY!

Download the Networking for Board Success workbook.

About Jerry Kleeman

For the past 16 years, he’s been a Chair of The Executive Connection (TEC) where he’s facilitated thousands of hours of group sessions for high performing CEO’s and middle managers. During this time he’s also conducted nearly 15,000 hours of 1:1 Coaching.

​These days you’ll find Jerry facilitating, coaching and consulting for some of Australia’s most successful businesses. When he’s not doing this, he can be found speaking about creating connected leaders on an international stage, presenting strategy workshops or watching his beloved Northern Illinois Huskies at home.

​Born in the US but now a passionate South Australian, Jerry has been named as a Business Ambassador for SA by the Premier and a Champion of SA by the South Australian Government. Jerry holds an MBA and B.S. of Management from Northern Illinois University. He’s a graduate of the AICD’s company directors’ course and the current chair for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (SA).

Connect with Jerry on LinkedIn.

Visit Jerry’s website.

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If you have a question or a topic that you’d like covered on a future episode, please drop me a note in the comments below.


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