Tuesday, May 8, 2012

RELEASE: Internationally Celebrated Charlotte Artist Donates $3000 Painting to Business Alliance Rally Raffle

Stefan Duncan’s original impressionistic painting “Lady Tree Dancer” will be awarded the raffle winner at the Women's Power Networking Business Alliance Rally in Raleigh.  A portion of the events’ proceeds will benefit Alzheimers.
Raleigh, NC (May 8, 2012): On May 19th Women’s Power Networking will present their fourth annual business expo. This year, the day-long Business Alliance Rally 2012, will take place from 10am – 5pm at the McKimmon Center located at 1101 Gorman Street on the NCSU campus in Raleigh. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Alzheimer's Association - Eastern North Carolina.

"Stefan Duncan [http://stefanduncan.com/] is leading the contemporary impressionists in becoming the ‘American van Gogh,’” says David Work of VanGoghGallery.com. Duncan is noted as being one of America's best artists in Art Business News and selected as among the top 30 Best National Plein Air Artists in the Invitational Wekiva Springs Plein Air Paint Out 2011. Plein air  is a French expression meaning "in the open air."

Having sold roughly 1000 original paintings, Duncan is internationally known for his impressionistic styles of 'Squiggleism' and 'Illuminism'. 

The 30” x 48” acrylic artwork Lady Tree Dancer  is painted in his unique style of Squiggleism.  Duncan says, “Squiggleism is a new branch of Impressionism. It is an impressionistic dash with a twist or curl, usually unblended, and applied side by side or layered. A squiggle to squiggleism is like a point to pointillism.”

Leslie Flowers, Rally committee member said, “We are excited and honored that Stefan has donated such a fabulous work of art for our raffle. And doubly thrilled he will have a selection of his pieces for sale and be at his easel painting during the event.”

Designed to be part expo and part business education event, the Rally accomplishes both by providing a spacious exhibitor floor along with 12 Spotlight Speakers leading breakout sessions, and a "Meet the Media” Luncheon.

Marilyn Shannon, co-founder of Women's Power Networking added, “The Business Alliance Rally is intended for everyone. It provides a chance for businesses to network with one another, sell their products and services, learn how to be more successful, and expand their alliances; fulfilling the promise of Women's Power Networking: "Alliances for Business–Alliances for Life."

Businesses, non-profits, organizations and individuals interested exhibiting; attending or purchasing raffle tickets should visit www.WPN-BAR.com.  Admission tickets are $10 and free with $25 luncheon purchase. Discounts for multiple ticket purchases are available. Raffle tickets are $5 each and 3 for $10.

About Women’s Power Networking (WPN)
Founded originally as Coffee and Contacts in 2007, Women's Power Networking "Alliances for Business - Alliances for Life" is a growing, national women's business referral network. WPN is the umbrella organization for Power Lunches, the Women Executives Roundtable and the after hours networking event, Cocktails and Contacts. Weekly Coffee and Contacts chapter meetings offer women a positive environment to grow personally and professionally.  The WPN Speakers Bureau arranges professional keynote and business speakers for conferences, business meetings, retreats or galas. Visit: http://www.WomensPowerNetworking.com

Media Contact:
Eileen Batson 919.413.2318

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tips on Networking

Excellent article on connecting with folks at events by Franny Oxford

How to Talk to Strangers at Professional Events 

If you ever go to a professional conference, here’s what you see: 90 percent of the people attending have their phone at their ear or their fingertips, avoiding eye contact at all costs. 

It’s weak, y’all. 

The true gold of a conference is the opportunity to create or widen a professional network. These are folks you can learn from, bounce ideas off, meet for an occasional happy hour, and maybe even work with someday. Making connections is crucial to your career, your well-being, and your learning. 

So, how do you do it? First, get over yourself. Not to be mean, but nobody cares—if someone doesn’t respond to your small talk, it doesn’t matter. This isn’t reality TV, no one is watching. Just go chat with someone else. 

Second, recognize that most people want to connect, find a commonality, have a laugh. Reaching out is a little gift that you’re giving their day. 

Here are some harmless ways to start a conversation: 

Compliment something (if you mean it). 

People often work to look their best at conferences, so if you truly like someone’s bag or shoes or dress, tell them. It’s a good way to get a conversation started. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice. 

Note: This can be a little awkward. Once, an acquaintance came up to me at a national HR conference and, I guess, finding nothing else nice to say, exclaimed: “You got waxed! Your eyebrows look great.” 

Not a lot of opportunity for follow-up there. 

Go with the context. 

What seminar are they thinking of attending next? Did they go to the conference bookstore and have a look around? What did they think of the keynote? 

Find commonalities. 

She likes jewelry made from bottle caps; you make jewelry from can tabs. See? You have lots to discuss. 

Go meta—if you must. 

For example: “I know I’d like to meet some people here, but it feels awkward to meet strangers. How have you typically networked at things like this?” 

Basically, just relax, make eye contact, and listen. Look for an opening, something that makes the other person’s eyes light up a little, and ask more about that. 

BFFs now? Great! But before you end the conversation, let them know you’d like to get in touch again, and give them your card or tell them where they can find you online. If they don’t give you one back, don’t worry—they may not have any available just now. 

Make a note of their name in case they get in contact. If you get a card or contact info, follow up two weeks to a month later with a brief note about something relevant to your conversation and see where things go from there. Keep it light. 

If you’re getting a lot of people looking around for an escape when you introduce yourself, you might be falling into one of the insecurity traps associated with meeting strangers. Here are a few traps to watch out for. 
Don’t brag. “I’m the youngest VP of the largest company in Florida. Here’s my business card.”
Don’t humble-brag. “You have two kids? And no help? I don’t know how I could raise my three without my nannies.”
Don’t name-drop. “Oh really? You just started as an HR clerk at Walmart? Then you must know Prithi W. She’s the VP of Supply Chain for Walmart Corporate. I think she reports directly to Bill Simon, Walmart’s CEO. We’re great friends.”
Don’t complain. “Yeah, these conferences are OK, but the food is terrible. I wish we could get better sandwiches, after all, we’ll never eat again and we couldn’t possibly bring our own or go off campus. Let’s whine about the chips together.” 
You look insecure and weak when you show that you feel you must establish dominance through status, people you know, or criticism something you didn’t create. You may think you’re playing it off, but you’re not. Nobody is impressed, and you just made them either judge themselves for not being such a rock star, or judge you for showing your insecure side. 

You want both parties to walk away from the conversation feeling good. The best conversationalists are secure enough to make the conversation mostly about the other person, and are gracious and supportive. 

Franny Oxford is the vice president of HR for Leedo Cabinetry. She was named one of the Top 100 HR and Recruiting Industry Pros to Follow on Twitter (@Frannyo) and her blog Do The Work was named one of the Top 25 HR Practioner Blogs of 2011. Franny works and lives in Houston with her wife and 4-year-old daughter. She's a terrible but enthusiastic gardener and a beginning runner. This story first appeared on PR Daily in August 2011.