Curtis Meyer, Reporter
Alana Muller, CEO of Coffee Lunch Coffee, a guide to professional networking, spoke on Oct. 19., to a group of local business owners and leaders at the Foundry in Block 22 of downtown Pittsburg. Muller was showcasing her approach to networking and connecting in both everyday and professional life.
Muller has been involved in networking and communications for most of her life, working with several different companies.
“Years ago, I was an executive with Sprint, and I made the decision that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So, I picked five people who I knew in the community who I knew were good active professionals and I asked them to meet me for coffee or lunch. To my surprise all five people said yes. The interesting thing is that all five people asked me a final question that was really meaningful to me, and that was ‘what I can do to help you?’ The fact that they were willing to help me was incredible and honestly sort of changed the trajectory of my career. What that did was I was able to say well who else should I go meet with. All five of them gave me the names of three to five more people, and I started meeting them, and it just sort of blew up,” said Muller.
Muller has an MBA from the University of Chicago, and currently serves with several organizations such as Mike and Karen Herman Fellowship for Women in Entrepreneurship. She is also the recipient of several awards, including being named the NextGen Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal, instructor of the year by the Turner Construction Management Program, and many others.
Her presentation included 5 tips for networking success. Having a great attitude, preparing beforehand, reaching out, being generous, and saying thank you were all the points she went over in depth. Her tips were not just for current business leaders, but also can be applied to Pittsburg State University students.
“What I especially like to remind young people of people young and early in their career, is I really think it’s important to remember that you have something to offer also. A lot of young people say I don’t have anything to offer that’s just not true. I mean, I think young people know so much more about technology, they know what’s actually going on in the streets, they kind of have eyes and ears, they’re very good on social media, and they grew up in a time where they thought the technology didn’t exist. My own son, when he was an infant, I remember putting a phone in his hands, and that was before the iPhone even existed. For you all, you don’t even remember a time before it existed,” said Muller.
Muller also has written a few books, which she had displayed on a table nearby available to be purchased. There was also a short raffle, with mugs, books, and tote bags being given away to the lucky winner.
Whether you wish to become an entrepreneur or not, Muller advises that you work on your networking skills.
“100 percent networking is so important no matter what your degree is or what you’re interested in. Even if you’re not going to work its important because I think that the socialization is so critical, in that whether it’s for personal reason, you’re just reconnecting with a friend, getting to know somebody as a friend, or it really is for specific professional purposes or community involvement, I think networking is the way to do that,” said Muller.