Jennifer Lynn Robinson: Purposeful Networking CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: My goal is to show others that it is never too late to reinvent yourself and that the possibilities of networking are endless.

Bio: Jennifer Lynn Robinson, Esquire is the CEO of Purposeful Networking. Her services include consulting, keynotes and workshops for individuals, law firms, companies, non-profits, universities and conferences to help build strategic networking skills. Jennifer is also the President of FemCity Philadelphia, a women’s business networking organization with 2000+ women. She has been featured in local and national media including FOX, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Magazine. Some of the recognition Jennifer has received includes: Top Small Business Influencer of 2018 (Fit Business), one of the 45 Philly Business Influencers to Follow on Twitter 2018 (Philadelphia Magazine), “Best Networker” 2018 (Philly Current Magazine), and “Power Woman” 2017 (Main Line Today). Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College and her law degree from Villanova School of Law. She holds certifications in Event Planning, Non-Profit Management and Conflict Resolution. You can learn more at purposefulnetworking.com and follow Jennifer at @areyounetworked.

How did you get into the industry?

I was a litigator and had a near death accident. I had very serious injuries and years of rehab and surgeries. Due to a traumatic brain injury I was unable to go back to my work at the time. I started a business doing consulting with the goal of turning it into mainly a speaking and training business as my recovery progressed. At the time, it was suggested I rethink a career that involved public speaking.

Any emerging industry trends?

Similar to marketing, I am noticing a trend towards making networking events more boutique and experiential. People are looking for something beyond a typical business card exchange that is more curated.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Opportunities: Technology has made it so much easier to grow and maintain your network through LinkedIn and tools like zoom and skype.

Challenges: The increased reliance on technology as a substitute for making in person connections and younger generations not being as strong at the art of conversation due to reliance on texting and other social media.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

My entire network was lawyers. When I left my job and decided to become an entrepreneur I had no roadmap, no support and no budget for marketing myself. I made lots of mistakes but I saw the value of networking to grow my business and knew I could help others do it more efficiently and strategically than I had done myself.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

I am looking to do more national speaking and even international speaking. I am also looking to incorporate motivational speaking into my roster. Specifically, I created a signature talk about my story, the importance of sharing your story and how to make your story work for you from a branding standpoint.

I have also started doing a few segments as a media expert. I am looking for more commentator, hosting and moderator opportunities.

Finally, it is on my bucket list to do a TEDx talk. So far it hasn’t happened but I continue to apply and put it out to the universe.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

When you have a business that is a service rather than a product people will really try to take advantage of your expertise with unpaid speaking opportunities and buying you a cup of coffee or lunch masked as a free consulting session. I have had to become very selective about how I spend my time. There are a few non-profits I do pro bono speaking for and that’s it. I turn down everything else. I’ve also learned how to deal with those seeking free consulting by responding to them asking if they would like more details about my consulting work and pricing for the same. As a speaker if you are going to take on something pro bono, make sure it is in front of a target audience that makes sense for you or it is a cause you care so much about you consider it to be community service.Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

I realized a few years into the business I needed more corporate clients that had the need and budgets to hire me. I had to pull back from a lot of networking I loved that catered to more of a small business clientele and refocus my efforts to ensure that the right people were in the room when I took the time and spent the funds to network. It was less about fun and more about profit.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Clients always have such easy to implement and practical takeaways and are quickly able to gain confidence and business by making small improvements just by being themselves.

How do you motivate others?

One of my mottos are that you can do anything but not everything. I motivate people by showing them what an impact small changes can make and working within their personalities and networking styles to make them comfortable instead of telling them the only way to succeed is to do things that aren’t natural for them.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Diversify your network. Don’t only network with those in your industry.

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What do I do best?

I put people at ease and build connection quickly.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Resilience and being stubborn. I was told to get used to my new normal after my accident. I didn’t let those limitations stop me.

What are my aspirations?

A Tedx talk, traveling internationally to speak, getting certified as a boxing instructor and completing a 10 mile race in Philadelphia called the Broad Street Run (after recovering from my 4th Achilles surgery).

My Biggest Success?

Building a business based on public speaking after being told to reconsider a career that involved public speaking. Coming out of major depression and PTSD after my accident and finding my sense of self and confidence again.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Stepping back from the majority of boards and volunteer work I was involved in and only allowing myself to work with a few organizations. I had to carve out time for sanity and for my marriage.

My Motto?

A Simple Hello Could Lead To A Million Things

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Serena Williams, DVF, Lilly Pulitzer

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Newport, Rhode Island and Saint Michaels Maryland. Internationally my favorite place I’ve visited is Hong Kong.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My late mother’s sapphire and diamond ring and photographs of family, friends and travel.

My Current Passions?

Boxing.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: More sleep. I’m a total insomniac.

Thought of the Day: Create my own opportunities. Don’t wait for them to come to me.

Action of the Day: Do something for myself today that is not business related.

Deed of the Day: Post on social media daily.

Tip of the Day: Don’t force creativity or productivity. Some days I work 10 hours. Some days I watch Bravo with my rescue dogs and that is ok.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

There’s no pretense. People don’t put on airs here. They tell you exactly what they think.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I’m no millennial but I really enjoy a great avocado toast. My favorite restaurant locally is Gran Caffe L’Aquila. Get the roasted red pepper burrata salad followed by “Desire” gelato.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Boxing

10:00 AM – Answering emails

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Healthy: Sweetgreen salad. Not healthy: Distrito tacos and street corn.

7:00 PM - At a networking event or speaking

11:00 PM – Watching HGTV

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

La Columbe Vanilla Draft Latte Can. I only allow myself one a day.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

App: Word Swag

Instagram Account: Dressing Jane

What should everyone try at least once?

Travelling outside the US to somewhere other than an island.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Any art museum

My Pic of the Day: My dog Braxton:. He was a rescue who recently passed. This picture is from a photo shoot I did with him at Lilly Pulitzer (my favorite brand) to do away with stereotypes about breeds that are thought of as “bully breeds.” I am very active in the rescue community.)

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