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Networking For Even the Biggest Introvert

What is your networking style? I recorded a podcast last week with Judy Maxwell of “Lodging Leaders,” focused on the hospitality industry. I shared my top tips for networking.

They apply to even the biggest introvert.

JUDY: Define networking.

JOYA: Networking takes several forms for me.

  1. Defining my goals and the network I need to build to achieve that
  2. Spending 15 minutes a day on Linkedin connecting with these folks
  3. Then taking that connection off-line either with a call or an in person meetup
  4. Attending events/conferences where I am going to learn something or where the profile of the type of person I want to meet is attending
  5. Connecting right away with the ones I wish to followup with on LinkedIn so I have their contact details
  6. Following up from time to time with folks I want to catch up with, either with a coffee or a dinner or an interesting forward of an article
  7. Engaging in conversations on Twitter
  8. leading with an attitude of how can I help?

JUDY: Share how networking has helped you build a career.  

JOYA: I’ve known since I was 4 years old that I wanted to be a television anchor. I also knew that I had zero footholds or connections in the industry. I paid to go to graduate school at Boston University so I could network. Network I did. I went to work for the alumni relations person. I attended conferences. leveraged that network to get my first internship in journalism and my first three jobs. Networking connected me to my first TV agent who put me on CNN. Networking frankly, led to my launching LadyDrinks.

JUDY: What in your view is the power of networking? 

JOYA: I’m a journalist by trade. I’m naturally curious. I enjoy hearing other people’s stories. I enjoy learning. I lead with these goals when networking.

  • Networking allows me to strengthen my exisiting business connections. By regularly engaging with my contacts and finding opportunities to help them helps to strengthen the relationship. Should I ever need help in achieving my goals, I’ve laid the groundwork for that to hopefully happen in reverse.
  • Networking and sharing a challenge helps me to get fresh ideas. I also offer helpful ideas to my contacts or refer business.
  • Networking has allowed me to advance my career and gain access to job opportunities. There is so much value still in meeting one on one and meeting face to face.
  • Networking helps me to build confidence. Even if I don’t have the answer or the solution now, I know where to go to find it. I have a solid sounding board that I can go to bounce off and tackle problems
  • I’ve developed great long lasting friendships. That’s been the tremendous upside

JUDY: What are the fundamental benefits of networking?

JOYA: If you have a well developed and diverse network, you can get the answer to any problem you have. Also, when you have a well developed network, which you have built on the fundamentals of trust, you know that you can get the answers, assistance you need and get the folks to rally behind you.

JUDY: If someone wants to start networking, how should they begin?

JOYA: What is your industry? What is your vertical? Google events in your area that are relevant. Search eventbrite. Search Instagram. I searched Eventbrite the other day and found the NYWIB conference on Jan 14th that I will attend. They always have great speakers.

  • Make it fun. What are your interests? I joined the American Friends of the Louvre because I truly enjoy the arts. Its a group that is totally different from any thing my friends are members of.
  • IN the words of my friend and colleague Joel Apfelbaum, Linkedin is a 24-7 networking party. You can always reach out to folks who liked a post or viewed your profile by sending a personal message, “Hey thank you for viewing my profile, I recently updated my ‘About’ section. It’s pretty extensive, I encourage you to read it.
  • Make ‘lists’ on Twitter. I am hosting a women’s winemakers dinner in Houston this month. I made a ‘list’ of merchants, individuals, organizations entrenched in or talking about female leadership or entrepreneurship. I listen first. Then engage.

JUDY: Is networking only for the extroverted? For introverts, what advice can you give about making the most of a networking opportunity? What is your goal? Do you have the network to achieve it? If the answer is ‘no’ can you afford to not network? 

JOYA: For the introvert, I recommend the following if going to a networking event

  • Have a few talking points you would like to share. A recent vacation you went on. Something you saw that surprised you. something you read that wowed you.
  • Have your 15 second pitch ready on who you are and what you do. Practice it.
  • LISTEN. Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. lead with your natural curiosity.
  • Wear a conversation starter. Wear an engine red coat. Funky statement earrings. An exquisite scarf. Funky glasses. A pin. A necklace. Anything that will stoke folks to want to approach you first. I remember wearing a simple white sequin top from H&M to a Marie Forleo event at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Thousands of poeple were in attendance. So many stopped me to tell me how much they liked my top.

JUDY: If someone has “made it” to the top of their profession, should he or she continue to network? Of course. There are probably alot of people who helped you get there. I continue to set up dinners, coffees, lunches with people to touch base. 

JOYA: What is the main misunderstanding people have about networking?

That it has to be work. That you have to skip the small talk and shove your card in someone’s face.

JOYA: What are the top three tips you can give on how to effectively mingle in a room full of people?

  • Don’t be afraid to walk up to a clatch of people and introduce yourself. This takes courage but when you keep doing it, it gets easier
  • Pretend you are the host. If the clatch has already formed around you, make introductions to people who have just joined the circle and share what you have learned about them
  • Look at people’s feet. Pay attention to body language. Pick up on social cues. If their feet are pointing away from you, they are looking to exit the conversation. If their eyes are darting furiously around as you are talking, that’s a cue.
  • Learn to gracefully exit a conversation. Phrases like, “Well Joanie it was so wonderful to meet you. I am going to circulate the room and meet some more people.”

To learn more about my women’s networking initative for South Asian executive women and founders, go to www.ladydrinks.com

Those Pesky Year End Financial Considerations for Your Small Business (and why you should do ’em)

Let’s face it. Poring over your business numbers isn’t a sexy activity. I think of that line from “When Harry Met Sally” as Harry is quizzing Meg Ryan’s character about her exploits with Sheldon. Harry chides her that a man named Sheldon will do your income taxes. He may even do your root canal. But a man with that banal of a name couldn’t possibly be an exciting suitor.

Well our expert today on income taxes and financials isn’t named Sheldon and as you can see by the photo above—is not banal at all. In fact, as 2019 draws to a close, Yahaira Krahmer, founder of Account.Her shares her financial to-do’s for small business owners to tackle before 2020 arrives:

Joya: There are alot of tools out there. What financial bookkeeping software are you a fan of?

Yahaira: I highly recommend investing in a cloud-based accounting software versus. Spreadsheets can be time-intensive and up the likelihood of error. My preferred choice is Quickbooks online, which is very robust option at a good price point; other contenders in the market are Xero and Wave.

Joya: I hear you. I personally use Freshbooks. In your opinion, as you service small business owners, what is the most common mistakes you see? 

Yahaira: To me, business owners reviewing financials at the end of the year, is like driving a car without checking to see how much gas you have in your tank before your trip. It is crucial to pay close attention to your cash-flow statement MONTHLY in order to make sound financial decisions.

A few tips for maintaining positive cash-flow:

  • Negotiate better terms with your vendors/suppliers and buy yourself more time to pay out.
  • The same goes with your clients. Charge penalties for late payments. Better yet, incentivize early payment by providing a small discount if paid in full.

Ensure that the flow of money coming INTO the business is faster than the money going out.

Joya: Why is it important to evaluate your goals from last year and know where your business is? 

Yahaira: Reviewing your ‘Profit & loss statement’ at the end of the year can give you a lens into what you can (or cannot) do with your business in the coming year. Are you in a position to invest by buying more equipment? Can you hire another employee? Or, do you need to shave your overhead?

Joya: And if you are looking to hire, remember to file Form I-9, withhold taxes, report information about your new hires to the state, get workers’ comp insurance. All that good stuff. I’ve noticed on the Account.Her Instagram page, you provide some nifty tax strategies. What are some good year-end tax strategies to consider?


  • Contribute the maximum allowed towards retirement accounts
  • Contribute to Health Savings Account [HSA]   (Cover health-care costs efficiently)
  • Donate to charity
  • Claim the home-office deduction (if applicable)
  • Hold off on billings (if income is too high for the year and may bump you to a higher tax bracket, it might make sense to wait until January to invoice clients if you think you will be in a lower tax bracket)
  • Fund a 529 education savings plan
  • Defer capital gains by reinvesting (sell loser investments to offset gains)

Thank you Yahaira. I always recommend that my members set an appointment with AccountHer or another bookkeeping service NOW, versus sweating bullets at midnight on April 14th. You can use this time to review your business plan. Ask questions about deductions. What’s the timeline for paying taxes? What did you do well? What can you differently in 2020? What short term and long term goals are you on track to hit? What did you already achieve that you can pat yourself on the back for? It’s a good way to set the tone for both the New Year and the upcoming tax season.

About AccountHer

AccountHer is a virtual full-service accounting & advisory company. We work with service-based female entrepreneurs all across the country. We are passionate about helping more women-owned small businesses succeed. https://www.accounther.com/

About LadyDrinks

LadyDrinks is a leadership development platform South Asian women executives. We create programming and events 4 times a month to bring like minded professional women of a certain cultural background so we may create support systems for success. The five-year plan is to host an event in every city of the world. www.ladydrinks.com

Yassmin Dever, Sotheby’s Wine Advisory on Women and Wine

This Thursday, December 5th, LadyDrinks Women’s Networking hosts a Wine Masterclass for Executive Women in partnership with Sotheby’s Wine Advisory.

Yassmin Dever of Sotheby’s Wine Advisory has developed educational programming to empower women to own the wine list and speak confidently and intelligently about wine. She will lead us through an exquisite evening of wine education and tasting through a curated selection of some of her favorite fine wines. I asked her a few questions ahead of the event.

Joya: Yassmin, why do executive and professional women need to learn about wine?
Yassmin: The frustrating reality is that the wine world (like many others) is inherently dominated by men. When I go out to a restaurant, the wine list is without fail handed first to the man at the table. Female executives and professionals are often entertaining and engaging with investors, corporate executives and high value clients over a meal. As such, it is extremely important that women feel empowered to speak confidently and intelligently about wine, and to hold their own at the table. My goal is for women to own the wine list. Scientific studies show that we are superior tasters after all!

Joya: What are the biggest missteps we make when it comes to pairing food with wine?

Yassmin: Pairing wine and food is all about what makes you happy. Sure, there are guidelines and suggested pairings, but I think often people end up being goaded by a sommelier to order a particular white wine that pairs perfectly with their Dover Sole when all they really wanted was a glass of a nice big bold Napa cab.

Joya: What is happening at the LadyDrinks/Sotheby’s partnered event this Thursday, Dec 5th?

Yassmin: I will be leading a fun, interactive, guided and educational tasting of 6 wines with the ultimate goal of getting everyone a step closer to owning the wine list. This should be a comfortable non-judgmental forum for people to ask anything they wanted to know about wine but were too afraid to ask.

Joya: What wines will we be tasting/learning about?
Yassmin: I prefer to keep this as a surprise! But it will be 1 flight of white and 2 flights of red.

Joya Dass is the founder of LadyDrinks, engaging in leadership development for executive women. Website: www.ladydrinks.com

LadyDrinks Spotlight: Meet Pawneet Abramowski, Principal, PARC Solutions LLC

This Thursday, December 5th, LadyDrinks Women’s Networking hosts a Wine Masterclass in partnership with Sotheby’s Wine Advisory. According to scientists, women are actually better at tasting wine than men. Yet women are often overlooked at the restaurant table when it comes to ordering and tasting wine.

Yassmin Dever of Sotheby’s Wine Advisory has developed educational programming to empower women to own the wine list and speak confidently and intelligently about wine. She will lead us through an exquisite evening of wine education and tasting through a curated selection of some of her favorite fine wines.

This evening is generously hosted at Volvo Manhattan, dedicated to both safety and sustainability.

We profile 1 of the 15 executive women who are attending by introducing Pawneet Abramowski, Founder & Principal of her own consultancy PARC Solutions LLC.

Joya: What spurred you to start your own consultancy? 

Pawneet:   I was taking a break from my tenure in the corporate world to be with my family. Since I was seen as a “free agent” now, connections in my network started reaching out asking for my expertise. I have a lot of passion for what I do in the field of Financial Crimes. I also help others build or enhance their compliance area. So, I started my own firm.

Joya: What work excites you the most today? 

Pawneet: Being able to share my diverse experiences and train people using my expertise.

Joya: You are headed to the Middle East right after the event. What are you doing there? 

Pawneet: I am also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Financial Integrity Institute. We have a Masters program focused on financial crimes. It’s currently up and running in the U.S. and last fall, another program launched in Saudi Arabia at Naif Arab University for Security Studies (“NAUSS”). I will be teaching a course on “Preventive Measures for Financial Crimes Risk” in early December there and looking forward to it.

It’s a very interesting time to be there.

Joya: What are you looking forward to at the LadyDrinks Wine Masterclass for Executive Women this Thursday?

I am looking forward to meeting other professionals who are equally passionate about their fields and expanding my network with diverse group of people. Plus, wine always helps getting everyone to be more relaxed.

LadyDrinks Member Spotlight: Farah Khan, Principal & Creative Director at House9 Design

This year, Farah Khan, Principal and Creative Director at House9 Design in Montreal, interviewed me on her podcast, the House9’s Art & Humanity Podcast. Her company created this podcast as a listening and learning tool for the business.

Now we flip the spotlight and I interview her as a LadyDrinks member.

Who is House9Design?

House9 is a collaborative graphic design studio. While working with local and international artists, researchers, non-profit organizations and cultural institutions, we develop dynamic projects in all areas of print and interactive design. We do communication and content Strategy. We offer Creative Direction, Art Direction and Graphic Design, Web Design and Development, User Experience Design (UX), and User Interface Design (UI), and Illustration, Animation and Motion Graphics.

Our 8th floor Plateau, Montréal studio houses a diverse (78% women, 45% queer, 30% people of colour) and multilingual (English, French, Icelandic, Spanish, Bengali) team, and Eli, the cutest doggo of all time.

We collaborate with organizations and individuals whose missions align with ours, striving to represent their name and content in sustainable, useful, unexpected, and joyous ways.

In our day-to-day, it’s important that we be a fulfilling, safe, inclusive, flexible and democratic place to work. I truly adore each and every member of my team; they are a very big reason I do what I do.

You founded a podcast as a learning tool. Tell me more

Yes, Thank you for being a guest earlier this year. Over the past few months, we’ve had the privilege of speaking with some truly insightful minds working in the areas of art and humanity. We’re so thrilled to bring these conversations to you here. It helps us to innovate our approaches to design and the creative process. We are interested in learning about clients’ challenges and successes. We are also interested in learning how art and design can support and be informed by humanitarian and environmental causes.

How are you being a better advocate for yourself in your work?

I trust my team implicitly, which gives me the confidence to advocate for us. This past year has been one of incredible growth, both personally as a leader, and as a studio. We are starting to trust ourselves and our instincts more, allowing ourselves to be riskier but more intentional. It’s an exciting moment!

We are hosting an International Women’s Day dinner in Montreal Feb 13th. What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to meeting new people, new allies, and growing my leadership support system. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.

LadyDrinks is a leadership development platform South Asian women executives. We create programming and events 4 times a month to bring like minded professional women of a certain cultural background so we may create support systems for success. The five-year plan is to host an event in every city of the world.

“Become non emotional about your business. Develop this superpower”​

Last night, I heard author and founder of Joor Mona Bijoor speak at Samsung’s Accelerator.  Tribeca Venture Partners’ Rocky Lachman was in conversation with her about her book on entrepreneurship and resiliency.

For this book, Bijoor included the stories of ten entrepreneurs. She had interviewed 50, but found many were not willing to share their vulnerability.

Highlights from the talk:

Failure is viewed as a bad thing. Failure is just an outcome. Just as success is an outcome.  Fail. Learn from it. Pivot quickly.

Train yourself to be non-emotional about your business. She cites the example of former White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulous. When challenged, he would lower his voice so folks would be forced to listen to him. The key is always stay calm and non-emotional. Develop this superpower through meditation and breath work. Learn to play the long game. Be consistent. List what worked. List what didn’t work. Keep iterating.

Have a Brand Book. Founders should have a brand book that outlines the DNA of your company. In it should be answers to the following questions: What are your values? Customer personas. What’s your voice? How do you interact with customers/employees. Testimonials/case studies/focus groups attesting to the value of the work you’re doing. Why does what you do matter? Put support systems in place for when people leave.

Testimonials are key. Collect them.

About feedback. Know that feedback is based on the biases of the person giving it. She cites an example of pitching to a VC who was already burned by the implosion of the Gilt Groupe. He gave a ‘no’ But, remember it doesn’t mean you have a bad idea.

In negotiation, know your power. Raise money when you are in a position of power. In a negotiation, you have to want it less than the other person. Have other options. Also remember to partner with money that enhances your brand equity

Measure everything. You aren’t going to get very far in business unless you are measuring everything

Get creative around strategy. Bijoor challenges founders to come up with 30-40-50 tactics around their business. This is where the creativity comes in. Pareto’s principle shares that 20 percent of those tactics will drive 80 percent of business.

Visualize the next steps. Visualize the other scenarios in introducing a product or service to market.

On competition, Ask yourself, “Are you building that competitive mode? What are 5-10 things that give you an edge and are hard to replicate?

Ask yourself “What is your definition of success?” Delineate the buckets for areas of your life. Build a support system around you.

Determine what personality type you are and what makes you happy?

  • Do you like certainty?
  • Do you enjoy uncertainty?
  • Do you need to feel significant?
  • Or do you value needing love and connection?

What can you do to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Admittedly, International Women’s Day isn’t until March 8, 2020. But in the last two weeks, I had the privilege of engaging with several women who have shared some valuable ways we can lift other women up.

Kristy Wallace, CEO of the Ellevate Network, spoke on a panel at the women’s collaborative hub Luminary yesterday on the topic of best practices when it comes to networking. In this digital age, she doesn’t believe that all networking has to happen in person. She is an advocate for reposting, retweeting, resharing the accomplishments of other women. “Sometimes it’s easier than talking about yourself.”

Author and networking expert Kelly Hoey was our fireside chat guest last Thursday at LadyDrinks. She wrote the book “Build Your Dream Network” challenging women to build and activate different networks at different junctures in their careers. “Networking is about generosity and trust,” she shared. We engender both by engaging in the above activity listed by Wallace.

So in the lead up to the dinners, starting Feb 13th, I plan to share one woman’s accomplishments each day. For example, LadyDrinks member Zarna Garg is hustling hard to be hosted on every New York City stage for her act “FunnyBrownMom” poking fun at her stage in life as a South Asian woman and mother of three. I am taking three ladies with me to her show Thursday at the West Side Comedy Club and posted about it. Priavanda Chouhan, executive chef and owner of Desi Galli Restaurants is speaking on a panel today about food at the Diane Von Furstenburg flagship store in Meatpacking. I’m going and posted about that.

I took a powerful women’s empowerment class in 2010. The teacher Jennifer Macaluso Gilmore famously marvelled at what we could accomplish as women, if we rose up as a collective. So I challenge you. Can you post, retweet, share the accomplishments of other women as often as you can this holiday?

We are going to ring in International Women’s Day day with a dinner series around the globe. The Montreal dinner is February 13th. The London dinner is March 3rd, The Milan dinner is March 5th.

This dinner is a conversation-driven format. In a round-robin, we will introduce each woman attendee and her company/title. Each woman shares a recent win, a current challenge, one resource she has to share, and one thing she needs right now. Eight executive women are invited to the table.

We celebrate women’s achievements with this dinner series.



Thursday, November 14th, LadyDrinks hosted efficiency coach Ari Meisel for a workshop at UPS New York headquarters. He taught us hacks for creating a more effective to-do list, apps for automating processes, and services to outsource tasks to.

Takeaways here. Special thanks to LadyDrinks member Priyanka Patel, Founder of Rent Something Silk for these notes.

Ari’s motto is Optimize, Automate, Outsource:

  1. Optimize: It’s important to make sure you have process documentation for everything that you do (down to the T) and have someone test it out. For example if you are documenting a process to promote code to production make sure you include steps of how to get access to the folder/drive/server
  2. Automate: Once you clearly write down the process, automation will become obvious
  3. Outsource: The last piece of what you do should be outsourcing, but you can’t outsource a process that is not 100% clearly defined and expect it to become more efficient

 He stated that everyone has 90 min per day of peak time – where you can complete tasks in a focused, efficient manner. This is the time you should try to avoid meetings, chit chatting, etc and get what you need to get done. Everyone’s can be different and if you don’t know what yours is, download this free app “Less Doing Peak time” which has to tap on a button for 10 seconds at various times of the day (you can do this for a few days) and it will suggest your Peak time. Usually it doesn’t change day to day.

Email Management Tips – since everyone get so overwhelmed with the number of email

  1. Delete – no reason to send emails to an entire group saying “thank you”, “ok”, “Understood”…etc. If you need to send it, send it 1:1; and make sure delete any emails you receive that say these things…there is no reason to keep them.
  2. Deal with it – it’s very easy for us to say we will do it later, or put it on our to do list. But if something can be done right away, just do it, especially if it requires someone else to do something after. Every 1 minute of delay in responding to an email results in a 20 fold delay downstream. So if you take 5 minutes to respond to someone who needs to do something based on your response, they may not get to it for another hour because they have already moved on to something else.
  3. Defer – if you have to defer a task there are some efficient ways to deal with this
  4. Automate a follow up – in Outlook you can bcc followupthen.com for when you are ready to deal with it. Some examples below– in both cases the follow up email will only go to YOU (If you want everyone to get a reminder, you can CC these aliases)
  5. I’m in a meeting and get a TO DO: I would send myself an email To: 3hours@followupthen.com  with the task in the subject and it will pop up in my inbox in 3 hours
  6. I get an email from someone for a project or task that I cannot complete now…or requires them to do something and get back to me – I can either forward to 3days@followupthen.com OR reply back an acknowledgement BCC-ing: 3days@followupthen.com

Tackling To do Lists:

  • Our brains read left to right, so why are we writing to do lists vertically? Best way to write one is basically 3 lists side by side – “To Do”, “Doing”, “Done” – and think of it like post it’s moving from one category to the other.
  • There is an app called Trello to help manage your to do lists – I haven’t downloaded it, but apparently it’s really good!!
  • For those of you who like to write your lists (like me), there is something called Rocketbook where you can write down what you need to – you can configure it to send the list to any of your favorite tools (Evernote, email, etc.) and then it erases very easily.
  • Be realistic about what you can get accomplished. If you’re like me and can’t predict your day, then commit to 2 things you can and have to get done that day. Leaving room for the “Deal with it” tasks that come your way
  • If you have a million things on your to do list – tackle the one that you are holding up the most.