K elly Cohen might be known in Orlando as a “Jedi of networking,” but the ease of speaking to others is something she’s worked on since childhood, when one of her biggest fears was public speaking.
“Growing up, I had a fear and I would talk my way out of public speaking,” Cohen said. “I should have known then I’d be a good advocate if I could talk my way out of it.”
Now, what once was a challenge has helped develop Cohen’s talent of networking and building professional relationships.
In her role as managing partner at Southern Strategy Group of Orlando, Cohen must speak publicly, making presentations to clients, and via her involvement with local organizations such as the Orlando Economic Development Commission. That, in turn, has given her the opportunity to make connections throughout the business community.
“Kelly is a mastermind at building relationships,” said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando EDC. “She really gets the regional vision for Orlando and helps bring in new, high-level investors with a focus on attracting, growing and retaining jobs.”
Now, Cohen is taking her networking to a new level, teaming up with Stephanie Darden of Prismatic to begin a new initiative called Cause + Effect.
“The Cause + Effect initiative allows me to do what I do best: Use my network to do good and provide some much-needed best-in-class services to a deserving nonprofit.”
Kelly’s quick tips on networking
- Do your research: When networking, learn about the people you will talk to. Try to find something in common with them.
- Be persistent, but respectful: When networking with high-level people, be respectful of time. Push the envelope if you need to, but do so delicately.
- Be authentic: Don’t try to alter yourself for others. Show your personality, and others will want to build a relationship with you.
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By: Megan Ribbens
Orlando Business Journal