CEWiT hosted one of 25 Smartest Women on Twitter for anniversary celebration

By Sophie Babcock

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On Oct. 28, CEWiT celebrated its second anniversary with keynote speaker Kelly Hoey, an angel investor, strategist, and entrepreneur. Known for her commitment to the startup and tech industries, Hoey has been named one of the 25 Smartest Women on Twitter by Fast Company and one of Five Women Changing the World of Venture Capital/Entrepreneurship by Forbes. Last week, after sitting down with 25 students at an exclusive Q&A luncheon, Hoey delivered an inspirational keynote titled “A Courageous Leap of Career Faith,” sharing 13 tips to career success.

“When I started standing up for my career and taking calculated career risks - I moved my career forward in very interesting and unexpected ways,” said Hoey. “I didn’t set out to be recognized by Forbes or Business Insider or Craig Newmark for doing things such as investing, blogging or tweeting. I was simply doing something I’m good at on new platforms.”

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Kelly Hoey delivering her keynote at CEWiT's 2nd Anniversary Celebration

The following are Hoey’s 13 tips for a successful career:

1. Be the expert

“Be the go-to person for something. College is the start of your education – be a lifelong learner. Stay curious! I truly believe that inquiry and curiosity are the only skills that will not be obsolete in the next 5 years. Continually challenge yourself to learn a new skill. Embrace your ability to learn as strongly as you hold out what you already know or have achieved” 

2. Brag

“Self-promotion is not a dirty [hyphenated] word. Your career is built on what you know, who you know, and who knows what you know. Self-promotion is highlighting expertise and accomplishments. It's not sales. It’s about what you know and have earned due to your smarts and efforts - it's about what you deserve to be recognized for. When your primary currency in the information age is your knowledge, self-promotion is essential.” 

3. Develop relationships and build diverse networks

“I’m a problem-solver who believes that the solutions to most of our professional challenges lie within our networks. Rome wasn't built in a day (and networks of professional relationships don't happen overnight) and ideas without a network are just that, simply ideas. Since most opportunities arise through relationships and trusted referrals, build your network before you need it. From first hand career-transition experience, I know it takes time (12 to 18 months to be exact) to build a new network. It's not easy. It's work (guess that's why it's called networking).” 

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Hoey speaking with students during a special Q&A session during her visit

4. Take the meeting

“Technology is great, but it is too easy to hide behind the email, voicemail, text, Facebook post... Use technology with the aim of securing an in-person meeting.” 

5. Own the output (whether it is good, bad or outright ugly)

How many times have you diminished your accomplishments by responding with a ‘Oh, it wasn't just me,’ ‘Do you really think so?’ or ‘I couldn't take the credit for…’ STOP IT. And NOW. Next time you receive a work compliment, say two simple words: Thank you. Pause, and recognize the efforts of anyone who assisted in your success. And, own it when your work product is sub-par or leadership skills are less than ‘leaderly.’” 

6. Get out there and be visible

“Ah, a deadline or product launch or whatever client or class commitment (real or imaginary) is keeping you in the office/at your desk/on your computer. These things are the handcuff of our financial success and often a crutch propping up our procrastination muscle. Go back to Lesson #2 - Your career is built on what you know, who you know, and who knows what you know. No one knows what you know if don't proactively get out from behind your desk or your nose out of your computer.” 

7. Ask “why?” and be selective

“This may come as a surprise, but there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. You can't be everywhere and everything, so make wise choices with your time. I recommend asking ‘why’ when presented to with opportunities. And yes, because ‘you'll have fun’ or ‘you never know who you'll meet’ are sometimes the best answers to the ‘why.’” 

8. Use your network

“Don't spray then pray the people in your network will respond, come to your aid, support your crowd-funding campaign or present the perfect job offer in your email box. Do your research. Understand how they can help (information, introductions, guidance) and then ask for specific, focused advice. The economy has been in a tough, rather uncertain place since 2009 (in case you needed a reminder) and those of us who are sought out for advice are exhausted by general pleas for job-search career-transition help. Being precise in your request is being considerate and focused, traits which makes you someone who others want to help.” 

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Chair of CEWIT Alumnae Alliance Leadership Team Robin Steis, CEWiT Director Maureen Biggers, Kelly Hoey, and IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie 

8 ½. Follow up

“We all need a reminder to do this. You'll stand out if you follow up. And by follow up, I'm not simply referring to sending a one-time ‘thanks for taking the time to meet with me’ note. Stay top of mind by sending the occasional update to people who have been helpful. To quote Nike, ‘Just do it.’” 

9. Claim a good seat at the table

A seat in the room is fine, but why take a chair at the back or off to the side? Arrive early to meetings and don't be the first to leave. Survey the seating and sit near the decision-makers. Sit where you can be seen.” 

10. Dress for the next part

“If your ambition is to be a high-powered finance attorney or venture capitalist, then dress like one. Make a strong first impression (go back to Lesson #3, we’re still tribal).” 

11. Persist

“Get comfortable with silence and non-responses to your carefully crafted outreach. Find ways to reach out until you get a definitive no. Learn the art of sending email updates that don't require the recipients to respond. Remember you are not the only one who is trying to tap in to the experience or contacts or know-how of an influencer or connector. Networking pro-tip: leverage the eyeballs of the friends, acquaintances and professional contacts you've connected with on Linkedin or Facebook or Instagram by posting regular updates on those platforms.” 

12. Stay positive and optimistic

Yes, entrepreneurs are optimistic - how else do we keep pushing forward when everyone else tells us ‘it just can't be done?’ But there's a more practical reason to be positive: who wants to help someone who is miserable? You can't recommend someone who ‘hates their life and their job’ for another position. You know the advice ‘fake it till you make it,’ apply it liberally here.” 

13. Think inside the box

“You will never have all the time, information, team-members and resources you need. Get over it and get on with coming up with the best solution you can with what you have at hand. Remember Apollo 13?  Lack of time and resources are not your enemy, they are an opportunity to show your innovation muscles what you have really got. Be more resilient with the situation at hand because ‘If only’ keeps you stuck in one career place.” 

Hoey closed with a final piece of advice for students, “Decide what you want and unapologetically, ambitiously go for it.” Additionally, she created a student guide to LinkedIn that is available here.

To keep up with CEWiT’s Second Anniversary speaker Kelly Hoey, check out her website or follow her on Twitter. The Twitter coverage of Hoey’s keynote can be found with the hashtag #CEWiTAnniversary