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Networking and Business Tips from Buffalo’s CEOs: Part 2

This is the second and last part of a two part series called “Networking and Business Tips from Buffalo’s CEOs” event that was presented by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership at the Pearl Street Grill in downtown Buffalo. To view part one that appeared previously in Buffalo Rising,  please click on Networking and Business Tips from Buffalo’s CEOs: Part 1.
I thought it would be interesting to ask the auction CEOs what kind of tips they might be offering in the area of relationship building, business advice and career advice. I was amazed at how they were able to give such great off-the-cuff answers. Also I realized their answers would be general in nature, though in a one-on-one situation likely to be much more specific to one’s niche. Often I was inspired after hearing their comments:
Michael McQueeney Managing Partner Summer Streets Capital Partners

“Build your strengths. I don’t personally think you can fix your weaknesses, it is not a productive use of time and money. You need to find a way to build on your strengths, to capitalize on them. Find a role where you are most successful. In my life experience, when I’ve been trying to fix my own weaknesses, number 1 it is really frustrating, number 2 it is no fun, number 3 I’m not going to be successful. That is not a great combination for success and happiness. When I get involved with something, I achieve a series of successes, I find other people that can offset my weaknesses and we all succeed together.”

(Well Mr. McQueeney certainly could have written a few chapters in Marcus Buckingham’s bestselling book, ” Now, Discover Your Strengths“. Buckingham identifies 34 different strengths, and thru 180 questions you are able to identify the five strengths that pertain to you. By identifying and leveraging your top five strengths, you are most likely to make a difference in an organization. As opposed to keying in on improving on your weaknesses, which will certainly make you better overall, but will not make you a difference-maker in the organization.)

Frank Curci President and Chief Executive Officer Tops Markets 

“Networking is an important part of your career. If you can get around town, be open to different things, and make sure you network with people in Buffalo well enough in order to get to know what opportunities are out there, I think it is a really important part of furthering your career. Get out there and get to know people, talk to them about what their experiences have been, and really cast your net pretty wide. In my career that has worked well for me. I’ve always tried to never say no to something, to make sure that the people I work with know that I am ready willing and able to go above and beyond what I’ve done in the past. Also try to take on as much responsibility as you can.”
Gary Schober President and Chief Executive Officer Hodgson Russ LLP 
“Being in the legal profession, relationships are completely what the practice of law is all about. In order to be a successful lawyer you not only have to be a good technician, but you also have to be able to create and maintain and grow relationships. My advice to all lawyers, particularly those at Hodgson Russ, is in developing relationships, go with what works for you. Don’t try to be all things to all people, and definitely don’t try to be something you’re not. If you are a shy and reserved person, work with that, and find a context in which you can meet people notwithstanding your shyness. If you’re outgoing, obviously that is easier to work with, so do use it.
So the number one recommendation I have is… be yourself. Figure out how to use your personality to work for you. The second bit of advice is it doesn’t come easy for anyone. The only exception to my first rule about being yourself is that if your personality is inherently lazy, that is going to be a handicap that you are going to have to overcome. Because relationships means work. Not the same thing as digging the ditch kind of work. But it means having to get out there and meet people, it doesn’t have to be a party like this, it can be a church gathering, a bowling alley, it can be almost anyplace. But you have to  be willing to get out there, be yourself, and exert effort at meeting people. As I said the only personality trait that you will have to overcome if you have it is laziness because laziness will hold you back.” 
(Networking if for everybody, no matter who you are! What a wonderful idea. And that it is not easy for everybody, that it takes a lot of effort, no matter who you are.)  
If you found this networking event interesting you might want to check out other upcoming Buffalo Niagara Partnership events.
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