Networking Helps Turn Connectee into Connector

 

"I decided, why not? I really wanted a job in digital marketing. I didn’t have any experience in the industry, but I did have theory, knowledge and drive!"
- Catherine Richardson, MindSea 

 

MindSeaLogo_RGB - webTo many young people looking for their first job, the idea of reaching out to the CEO of a company they are interested in may seem out of the question. However, Catherine Richardson wants to let others know that not only is this something they should consider doing, but in fact it helped her build her network, her confidence, and in turn, her career.

Catherine spent most of her life living in Wolfville. “I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone. I liked the idea of living in a city and wanted the opportunity to meet new people, so I moved to Halifax.” 

To help build her network, Catherine became a Connectee in the Connector Program, presented by RBC. “My experience with the Connector Program was great. I still keep in touch with one of my Connectors, and she’s given me some great contacts. Chatting with her also helped me understand the process of reaching out to people, and to see how informal it can be. I thought you had to be very fancy and formal all the time, but that’s not always the case.”

After learning more about networking and how to pitch herself to a potential employer from the Connector Program, Catherine wanted to keep building herCatherine Richardson - MindSea - web network. “I continued reaching out to, and meeting with, CEOs and CMOs in Halifax’s digital marketing world, which built my confidence and helped me figure out where I could take my career in that industry. I also started attending networking events to put myself out there as much as possible.” In March, her boyfriend, who owns the digital marketing firm Outshine, recommended she attend Third Wednesday. At the time, Catherine was working in the fashion industry as an event planner. She enjoyed the position but was keen to transition into a digital marketing career.


At the beginning of the Third Wednesday event, there was an opportunity for attendees to give a 30-second pitch about themselves. “I decided, why not? I really wanted a job in digital marketing. I didn’t have any experience in the industry, but I did have theory knowledge and drive! I talked about the certifications I’d achieved in Google and HubSpot, other related work experience, and the types of companies I was interested in. When I left the stage, people started swarming around me. I wasn’t expecting that kind of reception!”

Catherine was then introduced to Bill Wilson, CEO of MindSea. They talked for quite a while at the event, and before she left she gave him a business card she made for herself. “Even if you don’t have a job yet, you can have your own business cards made. It’s just another great way to connect with people and help them remember you!”


Soon after, Catherine received an email from Bill saying he was impressed by her qualifications in HubSpot, her love of project management, and her drive to continually learn on her own. He invited her to tour the MindSea office later that week. A short office tour turned into a discussion about her past work, new certifications, and where she saw it all taking her. He offered her a job on the spot as Digital Marketing Coordinator, a position that was created to fit her interests and skills based on a need the company had. After an interview with their current content strategist, she began working for MindSea at the end of March.

“MindSea is a really great company. This is my first experience working in an office setting, and I was nervous at the start but I feel this was the best possible transition. Everyone is down to earth, the office is very open, and I have a great connection with our CEO.” MindSea began in 2007, and became a full app development company in 2010. Catherine says they are currently very busy hiring and expanding.

"The most important thing to me at MindSea is building a great team,” says Bill. “We spend a lot of time trying to find the right people to join us, and sometimes we get incredibly lucky. This is what happened with Catherine. I was immediately impressed with her initiative, her background, and her energy when I met her. After interviewing her and taking her through the role, it was clear she was going to be a fantastic fit. We are thrilled that Cat is part of the team!”

Catherine’s initial role involved inbound marketing management, both paid and social media management, content distribution, and database upkeep. Now seven months in, she has taken on more responsibility and a new title. As Product Strategist, she has added sales development to her repertoire. “It’s exciting to be in a role that continually develops. It’s been a wonderful place to hone my marketing skills and to have the opportunity to add sales into the mix is really an honour. It lets me know I’m moving in the right direction and that my team has a lot of faith in my abilities.”


Catherine has also come on board as a Connector to help others kickstart their careers. “I loved being a Connectee and want to share my story and help others in the position I was in to build their confidence and become comfortable reaching out to professionals,” she says.

“Networking is one of the most important parts of a job search. If it wasn’t for networking, I wouldn’t have my job. It also doesn’t just have to happen at an organized event. It could be emailing a person who works in your field of interest. The realization that I could reach out to a CEO and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to grab a coffee with you’ changed the game for me.”

 

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