DiscoverThe Executive Connect PodcastNetworking Essentials: Strategies for Professional Growth
Networking Essentials: Strategies for Professional Growth

Networking Essentials: Strategies for Professional Growth

Update: 2024-02-17


In this episode of the Executive Connect Podcast, Melissa Aarskaug spoke with Susan Stoklosa, Vice President of Planning and Allocation for GIII Retail Group. They dove into the topic of networking and its importance in today's professional landscape.

Susan shared her insights on the critical role networking plays in professional growth, emphasizing the value of genuine connections over traditional networking approaches. She discussed various strategies for expanding one's professional network, including:

  • Show Genuine Interest: When expanding your professional network, focus on showing genuine interest in others rather than solely seeking benefits for yourself. Ask about their interests, goals, and experiences to build authentic connections.
  • Define Networking Goals: Take time to define your networking goals. Determine what you hope to achieve through networking, whether it's career advancement, mentorship, skill development, or industry insights. This clarity will guide your networking efforts.
  • Utilize Online Platforms: Leverage online platforms like LinkedIn to expand your network and engage with industry professionals. Share valuable content, participate in discussions, and reach out to potential connections with personalized messages.
  • Attend Networking Events: Attend networking events to meet new professionals and expand your circle. However, prioritize quality over quantity. Focus on building meaningful connections rather than collecting business cards.
  • Follow Up Consistently: After making initial connections, follow up consistently to maintain relationships and explore potential opportunities. Send personalized follow-up messages, schedule coffee meetings, or invite connections to industry events to nurture your network over time.

Susan and Melissa both shared personal stories illustrating the unexpected career advancements and valuable partnerships that arose from networking, emphasizing the significance of seizing opportunities and maintaining authentic relationships.


Guest Bio

Susan Stoklosa is an accomplished leader in the Retail field with expertise in Merchandise Planning across renowned companies such as Tory Burch, The Frye Company, Estee Lauder, Cole Haan, and West Elm to name a few. She is currently Vice President of Merchandise Planning & Allocation at GIII Retail Group where she oversees the Direct-to-Consumer business for iconic brands DKNY, Donna Karan & Karl Lagerfeld Paris.


She is recognized for cultivating thriving relationships & building professional communities to stay abreast of industry trends and best practices.  Her exceptional business acumen and leadership have garnered respect from peers and Senior Leadership establishing her as a true expert in her field.


Susan is also a member of CHIEF, a private membership network for senior executive women with a company mission to change the face of leadership.  Founded in 2019, today, the Chief community spans the U.S. and UK with 20,000+ executive members from VP to the C-Suite.


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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Networking Essentials: Strategies for Professional Growth

Networking Essentials: Strategies for Professional Growth

Melissa Aarskaug