Intentional Networking, Maximizing Your National Convention Experience
Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action
February 3, 2022
Qué onda mi gente?!
Before immigrating to the U.S., my dad was a teacher in Mexico. For the first few years he was here, he was working in the fields of Central California picking celery, hustling every day. He would do any random job he could get his hands on, from washing dishes and waiting tables to washing cars, until one day someone asked him if he knew how to cut trees. Of course, he said he was an expert and had been cutting trees all his life (he had never cut a tree in his life). He borrowed a truck from my uncle, rented equipment, and was at the lady’s house the next day ready to work and “figure it out”. Once he saw that he could make more money off of one transaction than all of his odd jobs put together, he decided to cut trees full time, beginning his journey as an entrepreneur.
My dad created a small enterprise among our extended family and acquaintances. I grew up with a full house. Family would immigrate from Mexico, live with us and work for my dad. He would teach them the ropes and push them to start their own businesses. Today, tree trimming is the family business. I doubt you could run into any tree trimmer in San Bernardino or Riverside County who are NOT related to me or are an acquaintance of some kind. He created a roadmap for wealth building for the family: start your own business, buy a house, and we’re all going to help each other succeed.
That’s where I come from. It’s what shaped me. And I have no doubt that it’s a story you all have seen or have experienced in some form yourselves. It’s the story of us. That entrepreneurial spirit I saw in my dad is the same entrepreneurial spirit I see in all of you –always striving to get ahead and be better while helping others along the way. The people I respect most, are usually the people I’m clear about what their motivation is. Understanding someone’s story, is an important step.
Storytelling and intentional networking is a deeper way of connecting than the usual surface-level networking we often do. This is how movements get started, and at NAHREP, we’re committed to a movement of wealth creation, bridging the wealth gap, and changing the narrative about Latinos in the U.S. To get there, we need to do it as a community. And this is how you build community.
I’m going to challenge you to try this in your networking when you’re at our National Convention in D.C. So, as you buy your tickets, book your travel, and reserve your room, here are a couple of intentional networking techniques to make the most out of your convention experience.
- Identify the question that you want answered. What have you been struggling with in your business? Or, is there something from a policy standpoint having to do with housing inventory or financing that you want clarity on? Write down those questions, and be intentional about getting those questions answered.
- Try networking with 5 people where you share your story. Take advantage of the networking receptions and dinners after the conference to get to know 5 people deeply. Find out not only about their business, but get down to the root of their story and share yours. Focus on quality, not quantity. Long term, it is way more beneficial to make a deep connection with a handful of people, rather than briefly meeting 100.
- Focus on giving. Do you know what everyone’s favorite subject is? Themselves. Ask people questions, listen, get to know them, and offer advice when given the opportunity. People will remember you because of this.
- Go up to speakers and ask them a question. If something a speaker says on stage resonates with you, let them know and share why. Or if they said something you didn’t understand, ask them a question and exchange information. We want you to build your social capital. Be bold and go for it.
Again, the more intentional and the more authentic you are in everything you do, whether it’s in your business, in advocacy, in going up to elected officials, the more you’re a magnet for amazing possibilities and magic to happen around you. So, I challenge you to show up – without airs, without pretense, just the raw you.
If you haven’t done so already, register and reserve your hotel before prices go up!
ALSO, the White House recently held an amazing webinar on Accessory Dwelling Unit Financing – a critical strategy to building more housing and extracting more wealth from our real estate investments. The session breaks down the benefits of these units, as well as zoning and financing barriers to building them. Everyone I know who saw it thought it was extremely helpful. Watch the full recording here.
About Noerena Limón
Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.
Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.