Steps to Networking – Step 21: Teachers, bosses and colleagues

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 4th, 2010

STEP 21: Teachers, bosses and colleagues

Your teachers, bosses and business associates also know and can attest to your strengths and abilities. And, they often benefit from your success. When you progress, it’s a reflection on those who taught you; when you succeed, it makes your mentors look good and enhances their stature and credibility. If you become a major success, they can become minor celebrities.

Teachers, bosses and business associates, past and present, have extensive and valuable contacts. They usually pinpoint who to call, when to call and what to say. People in the know can often accomplish more in one phone call than you could do in years working on your own.


In his marvelous book, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, Harvey Mackay relates TV personality Pat O’Brien’s networking story.

At the University of South Dakota, O’Brien was a student of Dr. William O. Farber, chairman of the Political Science Department and a master networker. Since South Dakota is so isolated, Farber decided to build a network that would help his students extend their reach so they could reach their full potential. In his network, Farber joined forces with powerhouses including Al Neuharth of Gannett Company, Inc. (founder of USA Today), Robert Swanson, CEO of Greyhound, Del Webb and General Mills, Phil Odean, CEO of BDM, Ken Bode of Washington Week in Review, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, former Senator Larry Pressler and two federal judges.

When O’Brien told Dr. Farber that he was interested in pursuing a broadcasting career after graduation, Farber contacted another former student, Tom Brokaw. Brokaw was then the news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles and made one phone call that got O’Brien a job at NBC in Washington, DC. Two-days after being a student in South Dakota, O’Brien was working for David Brinkley, a giant of news broadcasting, in the nation’s capitol. Because of networking he was able to launch his long, highly successful career in broadcasting.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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