Remember the 401 courses you took in college–the advanced seminars vs. the elementary level 101 courses? I felt like that’s where I was last Thursday night when I walked into the Four Seasons Boardroom in NYC for, of all things, the Boardroom–publishers of Bottom Line–networking dinner I’d been invited to. This was the second one I’ve been privileged to attend. I still feel wide-eyed about how exquisitely it’s done.

I go to many networking events each month, but none quite like this in style or content. Marty Edelston, who founded Boardroom Inc., instituted these high level get-togethers many years ago. He invites experts who have already contributed to Bottom Line newsletters, the product of Boardroom Inc., as well as professionals whom he would like to have as contributors. He provides a lavish setting and sumptuous dinner for all involved–no fee is charged for the honor of being in this prestigious group.

Marjory Abrams, the President of the Bottom Line and daughter of Marty, met me at the entrance to our private area and began introducing me to other attendees. Because the list is  well-culled, meaningful conversations began instantly. As soon as we were seated and the first course was being served, Marjory and her sister Sarah Hiner (Publisher and COO of Bottom Line Publications), microphone in hand, began reading the bios of all assembled so that we got to know who was in the room.

After everyone had stopped chewing (!), Marty addressed specific questions to each expert regarding his/her industry. At the table were men in women in the arts, medicine, finance, academia, law, wellness, coaching and more. We were each given about 5 minutes to address a current area of interest to the group at large. In between the introductory bios and the longer Q+A, we had time to learn more about our seat-mates, all of whom were fascinating.

I had many takeaways, including a beautiful bouquet that had been part of the centerpiece. I have three dates on my calendar to meet with contacts I made that night. I don’t know where any one of these connections will lead me. But, I’ve learned over my career that these kinds of relationships often lay the groundwork for whatever is coming next for me (and them).

It’s not what happens at these events that’s as important as what you do with what happens. I’m grateful to Marjory, Sarah and Marty for providing an evening with so many advantages.

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