Gelie Ahkenblit is the founder of, an online resource for Phoenix entrepreneurs and local business owners on the hunt for professional networking events, mixers, and training seminars. Networking, as Gelie knows, can lead to new connections, job offers, more customers and profit, and even invites to fabulous parties.

Since not everyone is a natural networker, we asked Gelie to share not only her networking tips, but a story of how confidence and conversational skills can help you get ahead in your career.

Gelie’s Networking Tips:

  • Seek out events that your potential clients attend.
  • When you’ve made a connection, find out what their interests are and how you can help them achieve their goals.
  • NEVER sell at a networking event. If you feel a mutual connection, schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss partnership opportunities.

Gelie’s Networking Success Story: I Crashed a VIP Party in Vegas

“About two years ago, I attended the Perfect Business Summit in Las Vegas. During the first day’s sessions, I worked the room and talked to as many people as possible, always ending with the same question: ‘Any exciting plans for tonight?’

It quickly became evident that there was a VIP party happening that evening and I wasn’t on the invite list – yet. I was determined to find my way into that party. A few more strategic conversations with the right people and I had myself a personal invitation from the guy hosting the entire summit.

I made my way to the party and soon was chatting with a representative from PowerPay, the company sponsoring this VIP shindig. We had a great conversation and then I continued to network throughout the evening.

On the final day of the conference, people were asking whether I’d make another appearance at that evening’s VIP event. I had a decision to make: do I go home on my 9 p.m. flight, or do I spend another night in Las Vegas?

I decided to leave myself open to opportunity and went to the party, where I ended up meeting the rest of the PowerPay team. By the end of the night I had made a strong connection with them. After the trip, I followed up with my new PowerPay connections and got them to sign on as a sponsor for an upcoming Signature Event, which we put on quarterly and is attended by more than 1,500 members.”Gelie Ahkenblit

What’s the networking tip you can take away from this article? Always put yourself in the path of opportunity.

For even more personal networking tips and success stories from local business owners, download our free e-book: How to Network: 5 Stories You’ve Gotta Read.

Image courtesy of Gelie Ahkenblit