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Executives share networking advice at Hallmark event

Monday, June 24, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More than 120 Hallmark executives and industry guests heard strategic networking advice from senior industry leaders during a special event presented by the Network of Executive Women at the retailer’s Kansas City headquarters, June 19, 2013.

Susan Chambers, executive vice president, global people for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Dr. Peter Fasolo, worldwide vice president of global human resources for Johnson & Johnson; Carol Hallquist, president of Hallmark Corporate Foundation; Laura Nixon, vice president, retail for Mondelēz International; and NEW Board Member At-Large Karen Stuckey, senior vice president, softlines and general merchandise sourcing at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., shared their experiences building business relationships and expertise. The panel discussion was moderated by NEW President and CEO Joan Toth.

Addressing the three types of networking identified by Harvard Business Review, Toth said, "Without operational networks, we couldn’t get our work done. Without our personal networks, we would be isolated and couldn’t grow. Without strategic networks, we couldn’t figure out our future priorities or get our stakeholders to support them.”

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Wal-Mart Inc.’s Chambers emphasized the importance of networking internally, creating opportunities to connect and letting go "of the need to be liked by everybody. It is okay to have a different point of view.”

Peer-to-peer relationships are vital in business dealing and crucial to career advancement, Hallquist said. "[Peers] will give you positive and negative feedback. They can be valuable supporters of you and your ideas when you are not in the room.”

Professionals should "be intentional about networking” and schedule regular intervals to focus on strengthening their networks, Stuckey said. "Use your time wisely. We all have a few minutes a day we can use to connect with others. Commit 15 minutes a day to building or maintaining relationships every day.”

Fasolo emphasized the value of connecting with people whose thoughts or opinions differ from your own and broadening connections inside and outside your immediate network. "Collaborate and connect across functions internally to avoid mistakes,” Fasolo advised, "and externally to leverage different business ideas.”

Peer-to-peer mentoring with external partners is an excellent springboard for new business ideas and practices, he added.

External networking leads to positive business results, Nixon noted. "team spent several days with Zappos discussing supply chain and both organizations left with new ideas to enhance their business.”


Sharing feedback and welcoming feedback is necessary for growth, the executives agreed. "Feedback is a gift, although often painful to hear,” Hallquist said. "It will make you better if you listen, process and act upon it.”

"Have difficult conversations,” added Fasolo. "It is unkind not to give feedback on how to make an associate better.”


Senior industry executives, including NEW Board Member At-Large Karen
Stuckey of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Laura Nixon of Mondelēz International, Carol
Hallquist of Hallmark Cards Inc., Peter Fasolo of Johnson & Johnson and
Susan Chambers of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., offered their insights on strategic
networking.


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