Networking Nights and my New Colleague Stephen J. Arthurs

At the end of June and early part of July I've had the great opportunity to participate in some networking events and community celebrations. The first was the 25th Anniversary Celebration and Networking night for the London Small Business Centre. This fantastic organization offers connections to learning, resources, and funding opportunities within the community to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Without John and the rest of the staff at the SBC my own business Rebecca Nash Photography would never have really gotten off the ground. Their grand celebration took place on June 21st at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn here in London. Unfortunately, due to illness, I was not able to personally attend the celebration though I hear I missed out on quite an evening. I was thrilled to be able to participate in the event and ongoing celebration of the SBC’s ongoing success as the photographer for the new staff photos needed for their small magazine they were putting as part of the celebration with articles and success stories. What an honour to be asked! I can’t describe my excitement when I received a copy to find my photos (and photo credit) appearing in the first few pages.

The following evening was the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) networking night at The Keg Steakhouse. This is part of a pilot program to encourage communication and cooperation of the entrepreneurs, mentors and community partners outside the formal relationships. It was a great night to catch up with some of the people involved that I already knew and a great environment to meet others and discus our experiences. This was the first time I saw any networking really pay off. Here’s how it went...I met Derrick, a web designer who was funded by CYBF, at a networking event a few months back. We went out to coffee and got to know each other and each other’s businesses. This time we were both at a networking event where a mentor-in-waiting approached Derrick about a web design project. After these two spoke for a few minutes it came up that this gentleman would be in need of a photographer to photograph his artwork for the new website. At this time Derrick turned around and introduced me to Stephen. All of a sudden attending a small networking event has turned into work for two of us just by keeping in touch. But it doesn’t end there!

That night I was hired to do the photography for this project without Stephen seeing any of my work, reading any of my testimonials, knowing me at all, or even discussing price. His only questions were 1) Have I photographed artwork before? (no) 2) Would I be willing to try this? (of course!) and 3) Did I have any time available this week? (I was free the next day). Of course upon arriving home that evening I hoped online immediately to see what I could learn about this artist. Oh my goodness, what did I find? Well not alot, and most of it from multiple sources...but I was able to quickly see that he is a nationally recognized artist. The next morning I visited Stephen in his home to photograph his work and had the opportunity to discus his work and experience. Stephen is an interesting person and fantastic artist. This is just the beginning of a new relationship as friends, artists, and colleagues. I can’t wait to see where this goes.