054: Building yourself up then getting out there to meet people with Therese Heeg

About Therese Heeg


Therese M. Heeg, M.S, ACC, is Founder and President of LifeWorks Coaching & Training and is an ICF Certified Coach who brings over 20 years of coaching experience to her clients. She is a master at growing and developing people from the C- Suite to the front line and has worked with clients in the United States, Canada, Europe and Africa. This experience has informed her ability to customize a coach approach to fit the client’s culture and to ensure alignment with strategic goals and metrics.


What is something that has lead to growing your network unexpectedly? (1:50)

“Over the years I’ve found that most of my networking is kind of unexpected/expected because I stay open to people around me whether it’s in line at a grocery store or on a plane. One of the unexpected ways that I’ve grown my network globally is through couch surfing and Airbnb.”


What has been your favorite place to travel to? (2:55)

“I really do enjoy Europe, I’ve been all over the U.S. I love New York City; I just got back from New York. But I have to say Amsterdam. Maybe that’s because my last name is Dutch. There’s a little sailing town named Heeg.”


What advice would you give to people who are more introverted than extraverted and may find networking a challenge? (4:00)

“I can really relate to that because when I was young and in high school I was really introverted. I would hide behind my friends and they would do all of the talking. Even through college I was just really shy; people thought I was stuck up. When I graduated I realized that in order to be employable I would have to learn to talk to people! So I read the book What Color is Your Parachute and really learned how to connect with people and I got hooked. For people that are more introverted, I tell them that it’s not about you. It’s not about being interesting where you have to prove yourself; it’s about being interested. Showing genuine authentic interest in the other person.”


Share with us one of your best networking stories (6:00)

“Early in my career I taught at the university level, and because I was so hooked on this informational interviewing/networking thing, I required my students to write a paper about their career goals. Then I required them to go out and have at least one informational interview. I remember this young man was coming back to school for architectural design because he was a carpenter and he injured himself. So he calls up this company. He not only gets an interview, he gets a tour of the plant and a job offer, part-time, in drafting while he finished his degree.”


How do you stay in front of your network or community? (10:40)

“I go with my gut feel and an ebb and flow in relationships. What I’m excited about is how technology allows us to get back in touch with people. When I lose touch, I don’t worry about it. I just think ‘well I’m busy and they’re busy’ and I can jump online and find them on LinkedIn and reconnect. I think technology really helps us stay connected more than anything.”


What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks? (12:00)

When I work with career coaching clients the first thing I do is look at their LinkedIn profile and say, ‘Uh hello! You need a photo and you need recommendations! This is how the world works now.’ Once they have that I really help them tap into their own network. You don’t have to necessarily go out and meet strangers. You know people in your neighborhood, people in your church, people in your community, people you’ve worked with. You just need to start telling a story.”


Digital networking or traditional networking? (13:25)

“It’s an ‘and,’ Lori! You know I love technology. I grew up in a time of not having all of this, so I just love it. But the in-person is critical too. I just finished a 6-month training program in conversational intelligence which is all about making personal connections with people, even complete strangers, which is easier to do in person.”


If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career? (17:25)

“Because I was a first-generation college student, I was already asking myself all these deep questions about ‘who am I? What do I want to do?’ and I tried a whole lot of different things, so I would not change any of that. I did get to study at the U.N. In New York and I think that the only thing that I would have done differently is to stay in New York City.”


Who would you love to connect with and do you think you could do it within 6 degrees? (18:50)

“I get so excited about the people that I meet on a day-to-day basis, I don’t usually think about heroes; but I would really like to meet Michelle Obama and Barack Obama. Now we go full circle back to Airbnb because I started hosting Airbnb about a year and a half ago when I started my business. I thought that it would be a cool way to have cash come in while I was growing my business. The first person who came and stayed with me showed up and she just needed a place to land in Milwaukee so she could go to graduation at UW-Milwaukee. When she got to my place, she told me ‘I just spent the summer working with Michelle Obama on her communications team as an intern.” So, your question made me realize that if I wanted to meet Michelle, I probably could!


What book are you reading right now? (20:50)

For fun, Trevor Noah – Stories of a South African Childhood. What a cool book. He talks about growing up in South Africa as a mixed-race person and it was illegal at the time. He’s such a great storyteller. On the work side, I’m reading Patrick Lencioni’s books. I already read his Five Dysfunctions of a Team but I’m reading another book about teams and one called The Advantage. They’re both really good.


Any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network? (21:50)

“Get a full LinkedIn profile then get out there and meet people! Be interested, not interesting! Have fun and trust people. Know that it’s a gift when you ask someone to network. It’s a gift to them as well as it is to you.”



You can get in contact with Therese on LinkedIn or her website at lifeworkscoachcenter.com