The Anatomy of an Opportunity: #SLS11

This weekend I participated in the 2011 Social Learning Summit (#SLS11) in Washington, DC. In one word, it was awesome. I learned so much and met so many amazing people. Many will become trusted online friends, some will become intimate offline colleagues, and others will become respected business partners.

When I share resources with clients, or tell friends about new things I am doing, they often ask “How do you find about these things?” I never have a straight answer. A simple answer is networking, but it’s more complex than that. I was thinking of how I became involved with #SLS11 and the story started to peel like an onion, going back to 2008.

Here is the path that took me to moderating a panel at the Social Learning Summit in DC.

1. In 2008, I finished my first year as Director of Teacher Recruitment for the NYC public schools. While I met the initial goals I set for improving the quality of new teacher hires, I realized we had some marketing and sales issues. I did some research on Google and found a NYC based organization called ERE.net Media for recruiters that had a message board. I posted a message asking for guest speakers to come talk to my staff on these topics and someone named Steve Levy (@levyrecruits) replied and offered to come. His talk was very influential on me and I continued to keep in touch with him and seek advice from him as a mentor after the talk. (realizing you don’t know something and asking for help)

2. Things happened in my personal and professional life and I decided to open my business in 2010. When I started The Opportunities Project, one of the first people I reached out to was Steve. In July 2010, we met and he downloaded some ideas for me. One of the things he told me was that once I got my new Twitter account up, I had to actively participate in Twitter chats. In particular, he mentioned #jobhuntchat and #genychat. I wrote it down and highlighted it, even though I had no clue what he was talking about. (building and maintaining relationships, trusting the advice of mentors)

3. In September 2010, I started getting involved in Twitter chats and found I loved them! I began tweeting regularly with #genychat’s founder, Chanelle Schneider (@WriterChanelle) who I think is a fabulous moderator and has interesting takes on social media and generations in the workplace. Whenever I am not doing offline networking, I participate in her chat. (trying something new, sticking with it)

4. In February 2011, I learned about New York’s Social Media Week from someone I met on Twitter and then in person, Alisha Miranda (@makeshiftalisha). I attended a panel on education and social media that was coincidentally hosted by @2tor, an education company founded by people I used to work with at The Princeton Review and have kept in touch with over the years. I was really affected by some of the things I heard and learned and I blogged about it a few times. Some of those entries have been the most trafficked posts I’ve written and the ones that generate the most emails to me. (learning new things, creating value)

5. Also in February 2011, I went to Washington, DC for the Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit, a program I have stayed active in as an alumna. I knew that Chanelle lived in the DC area so I asked her if she could meet for coffee. We did and we talked about how my thoughts on social learning were evolving. She said she thought I might be a great fit for a conference she was involved with and would let me know. I followed up with her in March 2011 to learn more. (following-up)

6. In April 2011, I attended the Social Learning Summit and moderated the SAFE TEXT panel. (new opportunity) I am going to follow-up with everyone I met and see what happens next- for me and if there are ways I can pay it forward for them.

Somewhat of a boring and linear story, I know, but an important one for people who feel stuck or don’t know where to go next in their job search. We often want a quick fix and want interactions with people to be transactional, but It’s the small things and the long-tail that matters. Where are the opportunities in your own life where you could build relationships, ask for help, try something new and create value TODAY?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog