Lessons from being the PNA President in North Creek in 2018

One of my goals is to reflect more on my progress in business. This past year I volunteered to be the president at my local networking group, PNA. Professional Networking Association is a remarkable organization that I have a lot of respect for. Ever since I moved to the area and stopped networking 99% online, I needed the hugs and handshakes and PNA brought a consistency to my schedule.

This past year was far from my ideal. I started the year with about 10 members and had a goal of growing it to 20 members. Our last meeting had 3 members and I’m not sure who’s coming back in 2019 but I know I am.

Our club took some pretty tough losses. Early spring one of our insurance reps had a stroke and never returned. My friend Kyle who had gone through LAF Tech workshops passed away unexpectedly. Our chiropractor had scheduling conflicts and our real estate agent also had scheduling conflicts. The grief is what froze me. Once that happened I couldn’t build momentum in promoting the group. I lost focus.

This was the first year I was 100% LAF Tech in my group instead of Dreamosity. I had made the shift because social media is not very useful until you have a memorable presentation. There is quite a bit of overlap and it worked pretty well.

Folks often ask me if I switched to the financial industry and no I did not. I did attend several financial workshops with my PNA Vice President, Jonie Martinka and loved the learnings. I also published a book called Financial Joy this year so I can see where the confusion is. My perspective is that financial joy is a result of sales success mixed with awareness and appreciation for what’s going on around you. When you do social media right, when your presentation is memorable, and you have your head out of the sand, joy is exhilarating. I don’t think you need to be wealthy to find joy in your success, simple appreciation is a great place to start.

These are the 7 big lessons I learned at PNA President of the North Creek Chapter in 2018.

You can be small and mighty!

One day we had five folks in the room and passed 5 referrals! The myth about having a large group has some truth but it’s not required. I can still recall a day in 2017 when it was Christmas in July and I received 5 referrals in one day!! These little yellow sheets are our referral slips and it’s so exciting when someone hands you one.

Support others but stay focused

Primerica is a brilliant organization that supports people with financial needs and investing needs. I became a customer this year and had massive strides in my savings and retirement planning. My 2 companies are plenty for me. I don’t want to get distracted and try to sell things that I really am not an expert on. I’ll always have financial reps I can refer you to but I don’t need to shift careers to support others. Compliance is WAY too tricky in my mind as well. I want to be able to be creative, collaborative, and not have to send in my video anytime I want to share a story or perspective. You can support others and stay focused. Just because there is a grand opportunity, it doesn’t mean it’s what you should focus on.

Grief builds community – and don’t wait to honor someone

The day I learned about Kyle’s passing was pure chaos. Tears, phone calls, and a deep dark stroll down memory lane. Death happens. I sometimes wonder if my own early experiences with grief has made me a bit colder or more cautious about love. Seeing folks rally around and put together a beautiful service which several of our PNA members show up to was inspiring. I hate that we see friends at events like this and I wonder why mini-reunions aren’t more of a thing, maybe in 2019.

The first meeting after Kyle passed was an “Open House” and the room was packed. It was our planned attempt to bring more people into our community. The thing I regret about this was not taking a moment of silence. I led the meeting in my typical Hallmark fashion and I didn’t say what I wanted to about Kyle. I was so mad that he wasn’t there anymore. I was a wreck on the inside and I just wanted to celebrate who he was. I wanted to talk and share and provide some sort of support and hope for our group.

Losing Kyle was a major loss to the entire PNA family in 2018 and I know not everyone knew him and that’s their loss. He was an incredibly kind, strong, and motivated individual. He was an asset to our group and I miss him.

Most of our group showed up at his memorial service. Kyle got us talking about God, heaven, and what this life is all about even though he wasn’t here. It was a really special day, hard, but special.

Creating a compelling vision isn’t enough

I’ve thought a lot about what was different from being President of Key Club back as a senior in High School and leading PNA North Creek. I had taken the club from like 35 to 105 in 6 months or something remarkable. I loved it and had a blast with my leadership team and recruiting young students to see the vision of Key Club and how volunteering could help them get into college. High School had the gift of density in the sense that I could invite 10-20 a day, get a ton of no’s, and still have PLENTY of people to talk to. North Creek is an area, it’s not even a town, so finding all those people to talk to was WAY harder. I didn’t personally ask more than 20 people all year to join the club.

I posted on Facebook a few times and I asked my team to recruit. That wasn’t enough. While I still have a compelling vision for our North Creek Chapter, I know the advertising dollars will have to increase and the focused marketing campaigns will need to target MORE people. This FULL house picture was our open house and that day, we had a VERY productive meeting in terms of passing referrals. North Creek will grow to a healthy size and that’s a vision I’m going to keep sharing next year as the club secretary. I told my team, I don’t want to lead this the chapter in 2019, but I’m willing to follow and support them 100%.

Lean on other PNA chapters

I don’t know if all PNA community members do this but I believe we need to have more cross-pollination of events, trainings, and open houses. My favorite open house of the year wasn’t even a PNA one, it was one Lara Grauer hosted at her house, in her fancy garage she turned into a studio for her photography business. She’s a member from the Lynnwood chapter and it was a wonderful experience for me to spend time with others in the PNA family. I believe it was also very influential in me joining InSpark Coworking¬†after connecting more with Tracey Warren as seen in this picture below.

Always attend the PNA Christmas Party!

This is an obvious but important lesson! The Christmas parties make the whole year worth it. We all need to play, dance, and sing a little more in this wonderful world we wiggle our way through. My favorite is always the super Jenga game and then the final dancing as we clean up. Celebrate with your community.

Cheers to an incredible 2019! It’s been an honor to serve, share, and receive referrals! What did you learn from your PNA Community in 2018?