The power of networking
“It’s Not About What You Know, But About Who You Know!”
In this digital era, the desire for face-to-face interaction is becoming more and more essential. That is why I am a firm believer in the power of networking. Throughout the years I have launched several companies and initiatives which all have one thing in common; Hospitality is at the foundation and is incorporated in everything that is done and carried out. I don’t like to describe myself as an entrepreneur, rather as a networker-pur-sang.
During my hotelschool-period I already experienced the effect of making connections between people and groups, without expecting something in return. A Dutch saying is “He who does good things to others, will receive good things in return.” This sense of future moral imperative associated with reciprocity makes it possible to build continuing relationships and exchanges.
To maintain and expand my network, I travel a lot and constantly meet with hoteliers, hotel management school directors, foodservice professionals and caterers. After all, networking is a verb with the word ‘work’ included.
What started out as a hobby, became the core of my business model; bringing together like-minded hospitality professionals in an informal setting, offering them the chance to get-together with “old” and new friends, exchanging knowledge and experiences, and potentially doing business with one another.
For example, I set-up a European platform for the event catering industry, because I experienced there was a need for a catering initiative succeeding national borders. This association, named EPCAS, offers European event caterers a platform in which networking and knowledge sharing on mutual and current subjects are key issues. To stay in close contact with its members, EPCAS, amongst others, hosts two general assemblies per year where the members receive the opportunity to network on a professional and personal level, visit companies to learn new trends, and share best practices.
One of my mottos is “It’s Not About What You Know, But About Who You Know!”; Every person you meet can be a potential partner, maybe not right that instant, but perhaps someday in the future – Your network is only one handshake away. That’s why I always asks anyone I meet “What can I do for you?”. A phrase that has led to a network of …… contacts, and is still expanding every day.2
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