I’ve decided I’m a collector of connections. When I worked in corporate America, my company briefly had a tagline something like “Making Connections.” It encouraged us to connect with folks across the company so we could better understand and appreciate each other and be better able to help customers.
In some ways, making connections is like networking, except it focuses less on advancing your career. Regardless of the motivation, I’ve always enjoyed building connections. Perhaps it’s mere curiosity, but I enjoy getting to know people. In an interview for the online publication VoyageATL, I shared this perspective on networking:
I began building my network long before it became conventional wisdom to do so. To me, it was natural to stay in touch with people I’d previously worked with, so I made it a point to schedule touch-base phone calls with folks, or when I traveled to their cities, breakfasts, lunches or cocktails. I think of networking as nurturing your garden: you plant the seeds, and you water them, or the garden will wither.
I continue to stay in touch with folks I worked with, though I retired several years ago, and I’m building new connections all the time. It comes naturally to me to plan lunches for groups like my yoga buddies. I chuckle when I get the occasional email from a yoga pal, saying, “Kathy, it’s time for another lunch. Can you get us together?”
As an author, I have another group of connections I enjoy—author friends. I have local author friends, a few in the NC mountains, and even a few European author acquaintances.
Here in Dunwoody, I regularly meet these friends for lunch or coffee. One week, I ate out four separate times to connect with author friends. First, I met Lynne Byrd, author most recently of “Queen of Dunwoody.” We celebrated her birthday by enjoying the chicken salad at Café Pharr and discussing possible joint book signing opportunities.
Next, I met Jan Slimming at Crema for coffee. Jan is working on a book about her mother’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park in England. We chitchatted for almost three hours about her book, my work on the sequel to Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch, and my upcoming trip to England.
The next morning, my husband and I met another author friend at J. Christopher’s. We met Rob Paley and his wife Alison on a Christmas trip to Amelia Island four years ago, and we all hit it off. Though we haven’t seen them since then, we’ve stayed in touch via email and Facebook. Rob is working on a book and a screenplay, so we chat often about writing.
He was traveling through Atlanta and made time to meet us for breakfast. We offered to meet him somewhere near I-75 as he was headed home via that highway, but he insisted on meeting us in Dunwoody. Why? Because he enjoyed the descriptions of “small-town” Dunwoody in my collection of Crier columns, The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday and wanted to see a bit of our town.
Topping off the week was a return trip to Crema to have dinner and hear singing author Kelly Fletcher and her husband Ladd perform. We visit Crema so often, owners Mirav and Udi know us and always stop by to say hi. I say connections make the world go ‘round. What do you say?
PS. Lord Banjo and I will be at the Dog Days of Summer July 21 at Scottsdale Farms in Milton with authors G. Ray Sullivan & Row Henson and Angels Among Us adoptable dogs, and we’ll be at Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum July 22.
Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum, and on Amazon. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.