208: Relationships are found in every community - with Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew

Meet Froswa' Booker-Drew

I am intrigued by relationships, particularly building networks to address issues in organizations and communities. Because of my extensive background in leadership, nonprofit management, partnership development, training and education, I've been quoted in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Thrive Global, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. As Vice President of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas, I lead a department focused on community initiatives and philanthropy.

You've been doing some research so can you can you share with us what your research is about?

When I started my dissertation, I was really thinking about this term called asset based community development, which really is looking at how all communities, no matter how challenged they may be, have these assets. And part of that is social capital, and that relationships are found in every community. And so just going through learning about how social capital has shown up, I wanted to find out how women who were diverse, shared social capital, because there really wasn't a lot of research that looked at how diverse women come together and do that.

How do you identify assets in your community for local business?

Two authors, McKnight and Kretzmann, talk about five areas that  exist in every community that are assets. It is the local economy, looking at businesses, chambers of commerce, it is associations. So those homeowners associations, looking at sororities, fraternities, all of those, and then they talk about institutions as another one. So your hospitals, media, those are institutions. And then lastly, kind of open space. So for local businesses, it's really important to think about in those five categories, where can you find potential partners that can either create visibility. Are there opportunities for corporate social responsibility where you can do some of your giving? And in every community, regardless of how challenged or marginalized it is, there are all these assets that are opportunities for businesses to engage where they can create a client base, but in addition, look at it as a way to give back.

So you've got a book out there, "Rules of Engagement to Making Connections Last." Can you tell us a little bit about that?

That book is really based on my research group with these women. I started learning all these lessons from these ladies, and I think that's the power of social capital is the storytelling. When we're in proximity with people, we can learn so many things. And I noticed the women in the group experience something called "perception transformation." It's when I'm listening to you, what I may have is an idea can change because I'm in a relationship now and I'm going, wow, that happened to you? It may not be my experience, but now I can identify with it. And so I took all of these experiences that I learned from the ladies, including my own and created a workbook that has a number of lessons in it to help people think about the way that they engage.

Could you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?

My former boss taught me this tool that he said when he meets people, he doesn't start off talking about himself. He always asked people tell me your story. And I found that to be so profound, because one thing that we know, many of us like to share about ourselves and talking about ourselves, and it takes away the anxiety of walking in going, here's my business card, who are you?

So how do you stay in front of her best nurture your network and your community?

I am one who likes to immediately when I meet someone within 24 hours, I would send an email and thank them for meeting with me. Or if I got a card, I try to follow up with people. Instead, we can sit down and have lunch, it's become a little bit more complicated now because of the work that I'm in and the number of people that I'm blessed to meet. But I try to make sure that I'm keeping in contact with people, whether that is, making sure that I'm providing valuable information on my Facebook page or LinkedIn. I really use my Facebook page as a tool to provide information and so that is a way that I'm able to still engage my network and people are able to see that you're a resource.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I love the face to face and talking to people. I like to be able to see
reactions sometimes Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and all those things are great because it's instant information sharing. But you don't get the opportunity to hear intonation and inflection and all those different things and body language. 

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the six degree?

Oprah Winfrey. I would love to meet Oprah. Yeah, I think it's possible. I have some folks that I know who know some people know her and it's probably not even six degrees. I think we're all so connected. I think it's learning to leverage those networks that we have. And so I'm trying to leverage that now.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think it's just getting out there. Get started. Don't allow fear to get in the way of possibly meeting someone that can help transform your life and your business. If you commit to twice a month to having coffee with someone and meeting new people, man, imagine what your network is going to look like at the end of the year because of all the people that they will commit you to.

How to connect with Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/froswabookerdrew/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/froswa.bookerdrew

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Froswa