Eat, Drink and Succeed: How to Network Like a Pro

Laura Schwartz worked her way from an unpaid intern to the White House Director of Events. How?

She used every event to meet people and put her philosophy to use: “Every event is an opportunity.”

Your child’s baseball game? A chance to build a bridge with another mom who might need help carpooling. A political fundraiser? You might meet an activist who can help you find an interesting volunteer position.

Schwartz details this philosophy, which you can use to get a job or fill a volunteer board, in her new book, “Eat, Drink and Succeed: Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events.”

“Any event is a powerful way to network—personally and professionally,” says Schwartz. She recently spoke to the Winnetka Women’s Exchange. And when she meets someone, Schwartz always asks what she can do for that person.

“What can I do for you? Is so important because by helping others, we can achieve for ourselves,” says Schwartz. In the White House, Schwartz was responsible for over 1400 events and 12 state dinners for President and Mrs. Clinton. So she had plenty of opportunities to observe and learn, from some of the most powerful people in the world.

Her words of wisdom:

  • An event is really a business meeting in disguise, so be prepared. Know who will be there and have a goal.
  • Help out in every way possible, even when it’s not your job. That’s how you’ll be ready for the next opportunity.
  • Following through is key. Send the letter, make the phone call, pass along the book or business card.
  • Look your best and feel your best, which means know the dress code so you’re not unpleasantly surprised.

Finally, if you’re looking to get back in the job market or ready for a major life change, check out the Winnetka Women’s Exchange. They have low-cost classes on everything from increasing your energy to long-term financial planning. And remember, a class is a great networking opportunity!