The Secret Sauce: Social Media and Networking

How often do you play video games?  What is the first thing you do when you are playing a new game?

When I sit down to play a new game that is filled with scenery and objectives, every part of my being wants to explore and experiment.  I’m curious how far I can wander before the screen freezes; I want to see where the path leads; I’m in awe of the creativity of the designers, and I want to know what happens when I push certain buttons!  (I drive my husband crazy, because he wants to achieve as much as possible as quickly as possible!)

In the debate about Social Media and business, some say it is the future and it must be explored!  Others say it is a source of information and connections and a critical marketing tool.   While another group says it is a waste of time, a risk and that it must be tightly controlled!

In the summer of 2010, I learned that I would be moving from Baton Rouge, LA to Tulsa, OK.  I was moving to a city I had never lived in AND starting a new business.

After watching the YouTube Video:  Social Media Revolution 2 I was convinced that Social Media was the future and that it must be explored!  At the same time, I knew NOTHING about any of the Social Media Platforms. (I was sure that LinkedIn was just a glorified address book and I wasn’t even on Facebook!)

Within days of joining Facebook I was catching up on the lives of family members I had not seen in over a decade and literally watching and laughing as my cousin’s adventure with a skunk was shared in real time…  (Yep – I was hooked!)

When I joined LinkedIn I did two things that come naturally to me.

  1. I explored. Creativity is more important than knowledge.”  Einstein
  2. I networked.  “The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” –Bob Burg

In that process I joined several groups that looked interesting.  One of those groups was called The Lead Change Group on LinkedIn.  (I did not know anything about the group except that I’m freaky passionate about Leadership and about Change and I was exploring!

Shortly after I arrived in Tulsa I realized that Mike Henry, The Lead Instigator of that group lived in the area.  So I called Mike and we met for coffee.

Mike explained that The Lead Change Group was a virtual group of people from multiple countries that were passionate about Character-Based Leadership that they had decided to instigate a leadership revolution!  I also learned that besides their presence on LinkedIn, they were on Facebook, and Twitter, and collectively wrote a popular leadership blog.  I was in awe!  Here was a group of people focused on the things that make the cells in my body dance!  …So I started to spend A LOT of time with them:

  • I blogged with them
  • I Tweeted with them
  • I joined their calls
  • Then Mike shared a dream to turn up the volume and create a local group that would host events to engage others in a dialog about leadership challenges.  And soon I had the opportunity to work with several local partners and Lead Change Tulsa was born!
  • Then the virtual group decided we should write a book.   So 21 of us, from 3 different countries, began collaborating. In spite of the fact that most of us have never met in person we successfully launched The Character-Based Leader, Instigating A Leadership Revolution…  One Person at a Time.377028_10151043037557083_218040194_n

I share all of that for several reasons:

  1. To emphasize that Social Media works.  (Just before my move to Tulsa, I knew one person in Tulsa, I’ll give you a hint…  I’m married to him!)
  2. In less than 2.5 years in Tulsa, I got to know a lot of people!!!   At least 1/3 of the people I met here were introduced because of The Lead Change Group. I ran into another 1/3 of the people I met in Tulsa repeatedly because of The Lead Change Group.   (Some of them even said, “Wow – you are everywhere!”  Which is cool because I rarely gave up evenings and never gave up weekends with my husband and yet there were more than enough opportunities to make connections and to launch a new business in a new city.)
  3. By joining the group I had the opportunity to spend time with people from all over the world that are passionate about something I am passionate about and to learn from them.   …And WOW have I learned!
  4. When I joined the group, I knew NOTHING about blogging, or Twitter, or Social Media, and I knew one person that hung out in that space!  Today I am a Co-author with 20 other people that I would not know if we had not met in the virtual world.  

In November 2012 my husband and I were asked to make an international move and Social Media became another lifeline:

  • It connected us to others that had and were living as expats in different parts of the world – their wisdom helped us set our expectations and plan with more confidence.
  • It connected us to people that were currently living where we were headed – and they became friends and great sources of information long before we arrived.
  • It provided additional ways to stay in touch with family, friends, customers, and my network.
  • It kept me connected to people that love leadership as much as I do.  (And allowed me to stay involved in another virtual book project.)Energize Your Leadership e book and paperback

Inc Top 100 Leadership-Speakers-badgeAnd in spite of living halfway around the world it continues to provide opportunities and recognition for writing and speaking.  Top-100-Badge




If you are new to Social Media, I encourage you to do two things:

  1. Pretend you are a kid again.  Be curious.  Explore
  2. Network!!!  Seek first to add value to others.  Be willing to volunteer.   Ask how you can get involved

If you are looking for virtual connections check out these Social Media Groups ~

  1. The Lead Change Group
  2. Lead With Giants Community
  3. People Skills Chat Community
  4. Lead From Within Community
  5. Be A Leader Community

(Some are on LinkedIn, some on Twitter, some on Google+, some on Facebook and some in multiple locations!)


This is a link to the 2015 Version of Social Media Revolution

Photo credit:  iStockPhoto







President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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7 thoughts on “The Secret Sauce: Social Media and Networking

  1. It’s hard to believe this conversation is going on but I know it to be true due to the number of businesses that I work with that are not using it. Although rare in most cases, a lot of companies are afraid of the negative rantings that an upset customer might post. You know what? Those conversations are going on any way. At least with SM you have a public platform to address…to show that you are sorry expectations were not met and that you are sorry. That type goodwill goes a long way with the customers and is worth a lot of positive PR.

    • Teresa,

      You are such a trend-setter and a leader! I love that you get it, that you lead by example by using social media yourself, and that you encourage and unleash your team to do the same thing!

      You are inspiring!


  2. Chery,

    It’s nice that you’ve shared your story with us. It’s been great to interact with you on Twitter and in the Lead With Giants Community. You’re a Giant!

  3. Hey friend. What a great post and story. I’m amazed at the way people can come together with common ideals and make things happen. Your energy and your passion for positive change and character-based leadership will be missed in Tulsa but it will be welcome with your connections, but in your travels and in your social media world. I’m grateful for the connections and the difference we’ve made. Thanks for everything. Mike…

    • Mike – You are such a gift! I am so thankful that I got to know you in person and even more thankful that we can stay connected virtually! Thank you for your vision and committment to Lead Change!