Name dropping 101

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?

One thought on “Name dropping 101

  1. Hi, Linh

    “Connector” as defined by Malcolm Gladwell is a role unto itself. Were it not for his Connector poster boy, Paul Revere, we might all be British subjects today. Be patient with yourself! Part of being the real connector that you are is learning about people for the sake of your own interest and pleasure. You already use your connections to benefit the community. You will have lots more opportunities to do that in the future. If life begins at 40–as I have come to believe–you are only in your warm up act now. Can’t wait to see you in a couple of years–because you are already pretty terrific!!

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