DiscoverThe Executive Connect PodcastIntentional Connections: Strategies for Building Strong Communities
Intentional Connections: Strategies for Building Strong Communities

Intentional Connections: Strategies for Building Strong Communities

Update: 2024-05-18


In this episode of the Executive Connect Podcast, host Melissa Aarskaug spoke with Diane Kenyon about the pivotal role of community in both professional and personal spheres. They discussed the value of intentionality in community involvement, the give-and-take nature of community building, and the need for regular contact and follow-up to maintain relationships. With Diane's extensive experience in the Austin community and tech industry, she offered valuable insights into the dynamics of building and nurturing communities, whether in physical or virtual spaces. 


Key Takeaways:


0:00 - Introduction


3:27 - Being Intentional in Community Engagement

·         Set clear goals: Emphasize the importance of defining specific objectives when engaging with communities, whether it's expanding professional networks or pursuing personal interests.

·         Proactive networking efforts: Take intentional actions such as attending networking events, joining professional groups, and reaching out to individuals to foster meaningful connections.


6:40 - Community's Impact on Professional Growth

·         Leveraging networking opportunities: Share anecdotes highlighting how active participation in community networks has led to valuable professional opportunities, demonstrating the significance of networking in career advancement.

·         Collaboration and knowledge sharing: Engaging with diverse communities exposes individuals to new ideas, insights, and perspectives, fostering personal and professional growth.


12:37 - Effective Connection Management

·         Utilize online platforms: Recommend leveraging platforms like LinkedIn for managing and nurturing connections, emphasizing the importance of maintaining an updated profile and engaging with connections regularly.

·         Consistent follow-up: Stress the significance of following up with contacts after networking events or meetings to strengthen relationships and sustain connections over time.


19:19 - Navigating Community in Hybrid Work Environments

·         Balancing internal and external networks: Discuss the importance of nurturing both internal work communities and external professional networks in hybrid work setups to maintain collaboration and support.

·         Creating inclusive spaces: Implement virtual coffee meetings, team-building activities, and online forums to ensure all team members, regardless of location, feel connected and engaged.


22:29 - Actionable Steps for Community Building

·         Set SMART goals: Advise setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for community engagement to track progress and stay focused.

·         Utilize networking platforms: Encourage utilizing platforms like Facebook events, Meetup, and LinkedIn to discover and connect with like-minded individuals and organizations.


Guest Bio:

Diane Kenyon is an IT Leader who actively Pays It Forward by career coaching individuals in transition, mentoring, and participating in the Austin technology and non-profit communities. She is active with Austin Women in Technology, Innotech Austin, Society of Information Management, Austin Technology Council, and LinkedIn Local. Diane serves on the UT MIS Advisory Board. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Technology from Purdue University and an MBA from Kennesaw State University.

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About Melissa Aarskaug:

I’m an energetic executive with 15+ years of experience steering companies to new heights of growth and scale. An engineer at heart (I started my career as an engineering manager on one of the world’s largest concrete bridges), I’ve become a trusted leader and business builder in the technology and cybersecurity space. 

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Intentional Connections: Strategies for Building Strong Communities

Intentional Connections: Strategies for Building Strong Communities

Melissa Aarskaug