Friday, October 12, 2007

Networking

It seems like everyday, I do something for this job that I have never done before. Ok, maybe not everyday. But frequently, certainly. And I don't know about y'all but whenever I do something I've never done (or done rarely) I always wonder if I'm doing an even halfway decent job. So it was a pleasure to attend the New York Women's Culinary Alliance's Speed Networking held at Hill County BBQ restaurant last week. It began with a workshop on creating one's elevator speech, the 20 second explanation of who you are and what you do. This I had done many times, but I learned a different technique about it. Emphasis was placed on making your job one that offered something to the listener. That was new. It was hard to come up with something for the museum. I mean, inherent in its definition is construction for the common good. But then I realized that was inherent in my definition. So I ended up reminding people how we collect and preserve stories and artifacts about food traditions, especially those that might not be automatically valid. This could encourage people to want to donate their artifacts/menus/recipe collections and the like.

Next in the lecture was a discussion about networking in general. How you do it everywhere, but without expectation. You are always putting yourself out there, looking for contacts, because you never knw who can help you. Whether you are on the bus or at a wedding or wherever, you can network. Then we had the speed networking, talking to someone for only 4 minutes then moving on to someone else. And it was not only fun, but I made some good contacts. So all that was satisfying.

But then last night, I was at the table at my step-sister's wedding rehearsal dinner, sitting next to my step-father's sister, Lee, who lives in Florida. I started talking about the museum and then peppering her with questions about whom I should contact there to start a dineout. And then I wondered, will I ever not talk about this? Will I ever be able to just go to a wedding or function or play or concert or anywhere and not be lookng for connections for the museum. And right now, I cannot imagine that. I told Lee I feel like those parents who cannot quit talking about their kid. Because their lives are consumed and to a great degree defined by their children. And that's where I am right now. So to all my friends and people I have yet to meet, I apologize for when I cannot shutup about the museum and just talk about a movie or article I read or book I'm in the middle of or new CD I like or restaurant I ate at or dish I made. Because I don't really do these things anymore. But if you know a chef who you think might like to host a dineout in Louisville, lemme know.