I wasn’t always so good at networking. When I attended my first BeautyTech Orlando Social four years ago, I was overwhelmed. Everyone seemed to have a clique and the tables filled up fast. Old friends greeted each other with warm hugs and gushes, while I had to introduce myself to everyone. And then I met Debbie Doerrlamm, and she instantly embraced me even though I had only been on the NAILS staff for eight months.
Debbie taught me and so many others the fine art of networking. It was because of my lackluster first BeautyTech experience that I became mindful of introducing myself and others to those who were new to the event. Debbie’s legacy lives on with veterans like Maisie Dunbar and LaShaun Brown-Glenn, who brought new nail school graduates to this year’s event. I met nail techs who blog, make YouTube videos, traveled from New Zealand, and so many more interesting people. I met several techs in real life who I had only known from social media. Networking virtually can pay off in terms of followers, but even Debbie knew that there was no replacement for the real thing — which is why she brought her message board to life so many years ago in the format of the BeautyTech event.
I now consider myself to be an expert at networking. I’m not afraid to take an open seat at a table because I could meet someone remarkable. I love introducing myself because the nail tech I meet may just have the next great idea for a story. Spending quality time with someone makes bumping into them at a future tradeshow all the more rewarding — and in some cases can be the beginning of a long friendship.
Nail techs love networking events because they have the desire to connect. We all want to share, be accepted, and be remembered. Consider this note my personal tribute to Debbie. I wish I had known her better, but I know enough to say with certainty this community will not forget her, and that her legacy lives on with each warm embrace of a fellow nail tech. You can read more tributes to Debbie here.
To all my nail friends old and new, thank you for spending time with the NAILS teams and with each other at our event. If you didn’t join us, consider this a personal invitation to attend next year on June 2, 2018 in Orlando, Fla. I am looking forward to meeting you there!