Meet Laura Nicolaisen
Laura has over 10 years of experience on the life coaching and career coaching side in the university setting and through my own business, and most recently at a start-up and in the outplacement industry. Her alma maters respectively for my bachelor's and master's are at the University of Nebraska and Concordia University Wisconsin. In my spare time, I love listening to podcasts, exercising, spending time with animals, reading, traveling, real estate investing, meeting new people and giving back to her community.
What is one rule of thumb that you live by?
You know the phrase treat others the way you want to be treated. I actually rephrase that to say treat others the way they want to be treated. So the way I kind of phrase that is really listen to who you're speaking with, understand what their needs and aspirations are, and treat them the way they want to be treated, as long as it's a way that you feel authentic for yourself and that it's okay with you. And the rule of thumb can easily be applied to networking as well.
Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
In 2017 I attended an event for professional leaders and the United Way volunteer community. I was a guest I wasn't a participant at that point at the Emerging Leaders Program and that's for leaders who are in their 20s to 40s who are giving monetarily and through volunteering through the United Way. I went by myself to this event, and I stayed and luckily met a great lady named Jeriah Ebling. So at that time I met Jeriah, she was the major gifts officers for women's engagement. After the event we connected for coffee, she told me about all the amazing opportunities open at United Way. I didn't pursue anything until late in 2019. But at that time because I had heard about this through her, I decided to apply and be a part of project lead training. So that's really a training that allows participants from diverse backgrounds in the Milwaukee area to learn about the intricacies of becoming a nonprofit board member. It was seven weeks long and during the graduation event I saw Jeriah and thanked her. And currently, I'm looking for the next board to serve on or my next volunteer opportunity, as well as investigating women united. So that's where women in Milwaukee and Waukesha provide their talent, time and finances to give back to the local community. So without that introduction, I've would not have had all these opportunities I just described. That was an amazing networking experience for me.
How do you stay in front of or best nurture the relationships that you've created?
Whenever I find out about an event, if I see an article or information about business trends, I really think about who in my network may this benefit. And then I reach out to those people and I share the information I have. And I also like to keep a spreadsheet of all my networking connections and recording when I met them where and how, and reaching out after an initial connection to either have a meeting via zoom or in person. A good rule of thumb I use to reach out to my network connections every four months or so. My goal is just to always offer my support expertise or connections to other people. And I feel strongly that when someone changes their mindset and thinks about how they can give back rather than what they can receive from a connection, that is really when connections flourish and remain long lasting.
What advice would you offer to business professionals that are looking to grow their network?
Finding some networking, professional associations and volunteering at nonprofit groups that are of interest to you. So the way I would recommend someone starting is picking out three to five associations of interests and attending an event for each of those organizations. And then attendees ca