I just may be the most well-connected, unknown person in Indianapolis.
I’ve worked for some of the most well-respected — or at least well-known — Indianapolis institutions. The Indianapolis Business Journal. Central Indiana Community Foundation. Pacers Foundation and Pacers Sports & Entertainment. United Way of Central Indiana. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. I’m on a first name basis with some of the city’s respected elite — Mickey Maurer, Ellen Annala, Clay Robbins and Alecia DeCoudreaux. I’ve done informational interviews with Gerry Dick (whom I once almost worked for), Tamara Zahn (whom I once wanted to work for) and Deborah Paul and former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. I know people. Yet, I’m not on a Forty Under 40 list nor have I held a position with a title higher than “manager.” I had personal recommendations from Mickey, Ellen and Alecia, and still didn’t get into a Stanley K. Lacy class. Maybe because I don’t have a fancy title. Maybe because I’m not an influencer.
I am, however, a connector. In Malcolm Gladwell’s pivotal book, The Tipping Point (which, incidentally, was recommended to me by Frank Walker of Walker Information), connectors are “people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances.” I love making connections. Between me and another person. Between or among different people. Between a person and an organization. And to me, these people are more than acquaintances for the most part. They are mentors and colleagues and friends.
But are those relationships enough? To advance professionally, do I also need to be an influencer? An expert or maven (as Gladwell calls them)? Or is being a connector enough? Am I ok with just filling in the spaces between?
Yes, I think I am. What do you think?