A wonderful thing happened to me on LinkedIn recently. I experienced “social media kismet” – that wonderful feeling of connecting with unique and remarkable people that you didn’t know before social media. It reminds me just how very small our world is, yet it has so many amazing people in it.
One such special person is Laura Thomas, a registered nurse who is pursuing a degree in management at George Mason University’s acclaimed School of Business. Laura sent me a LinkedIn invitation a week ago. Like many of the LI invitations that I receive, I didn’t recognize her. But there was something in her portrait – perhaps her smile – that caught my attention and made me say “yes” to her invitation. I then took a few minutes to check out her profile after I accepted her invitation. I was immediately intrigued by her LinkedIn Summary in which she highlighted her work experience in Sierra Leone. I wondered what it must have been like to be an American working in West Africa.
So I wrote to her on LinkedIn…
I appreciate your invitation to Link In with you. I happily accept. I was intrigued with your Summary where you shared a bit about your experience at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Sierra Leone. I would love to hear more about what you experienced, and what you learned in a country that is undergoing so much turmoil. Perhaps we could collaborate on a blog post/article. We can figure out a writing angle that would be relevant to my readers.
Here’s a recent blog post that I issued following my attendance at a women’s business conference in Connecticut – http://www.americasmarketingmotivator.com/stop-the-joy-suckers/
Let me know your thoughts on collaborating on a small writing/sharing project.
And she responded…
Thank you so much for accepting my LinkedIn request. I really appreciate that you took the time to read my profile, especially in regards to my global experience in a third-world country.
You deserve a more thought-out reply, but unfortunately I have to run off and present a case-study (which happens to be on the curriculum and training program that I developed and implemented after a “near miss” during a surgery, which identified a key knowledge gap among the nursing staff). I will be done presenting by mid-afternoon and hope to take the time to respond more thoughtfully to your email.
I am very intrigued about collaborating with you and would love to talk with you more about it.
On a separate note, my mom loved you. She always spoke so highly of you. I hope to see you at her memorial service on April 24th at The Falls Church Episcopal.
And I couldn’t believe it…
Her last paragraph floored me. Laura Thomas is the daughter of my friend, Ann Schultz, who recently passed away after a prolonged battle with ovarian cancer. Ann was a mother, grandmother, wife, executive coach, business owner, a master networker, a friend, faithful servant, an inspiration and yes, a cancer traveler. That was how she viewed her experience with cancer – not as a battle, but as a journey. She was not a victim, but rather someone who continued to grow as a person on her ‘journey’ up to her very last breath. Ann lived and died with grace and dignity. She was awe-inspiring!
I was introduced to Ann in March 2011 through my friend and professional colleague, Adrienne Milics. I had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer myself, and Adrienne thought it would be helpful to connect the two of us. Adrienne and Ann had met a few years earlier during their leadership coaching certificate program at Georgetown University.
Ann and I never met in person, but our phone calls, letters and emails became very important to me. She was my guide and mentor as I too became a cancer traveler. She was someone who had been there, that I could talk to, someone who knew the ropes, and would understand my feelings and fears, questions and concerns.
On many occasions, Ann had spoken of her daughter Laura. She told me how proud she was of Laura’s nursing career and how Laura intertwined it with her business management studies.
Ann also shared with me her joy and gratitude for being an active grandmother to Laura’s children, and how those grandchildren gave her renewed hope and joy of living.
I’ve never spoke to Laura, until now…
Thanks to social media, I have the honor of being connected to Laura. I can continue to honor and remember Ann Schultz through my new connection with her daughter. I shared Laura’s LinkedIn profile with Adrienne so that she too can continue to have Ann in her life through Laura. And we can help Laura. We can share our knowledge and our connections to help her realize her professional goals. We can both provide support and friendship to help her through the grieving process of losing her wonderful mother, Ann.
What a wonderful way to honor Ann.
Do you believe in fate?
What was it that prompted me to respond so promptly and positively to Laura Thomas’ invitation to LinkedIn? Was it kismet, destiny, or just random chance? Whatever it was or is, I’m grateful to be connected to Laura and I hope that our networking connection grows quickly.
So the next time you receive a networking invitation, whether it’s through social media, email, or personal introduction, I invite you to open your heart and mind to the possibilities. There is magic in networking and it can change you. Allow it to come in.