Yesterday was a day that I was looking forward to because I had an important lunch.
...not particularly important for me, but for my niece, Lauren. This meet up was just a last minute idea I had to give Lauren an introduction to some guys I work with that might be able to provide career advice or, better yet, some actual connections in DC, where she would most like to end up. We all met up at Panera - me, Lauren, Matt and Paul.
The place was incredibly crowded, so once we found a free table, the introductions were easy and casual. I imagine that Lauren may have approached this informal get together with her "interview hat" on - I on the other hand was just as excited about the spinach salad and bistro french onion soup that I was waiting on! I was happy that the conversation started to flow pretty quickly.
A little background:
Lauren recently finished her Master's degree
(in a subject that I know so little about that I can't even properly write it here)
from Georgetown. At work, I had recently interviewed my co-worker Matt for
, and he had noted that he had lived and worked in DC for a few years - even headed up some think tanks, which was the keyword that caused the lightbulb to go off in my head. I thought "I need to get Lauren to sit down with Matt one day." When I approached him and explained why I'd like him to talk with my niece, he immediately agreed and suggested that I invite Paul, who is a political advisor that we work with. "Okay," I said, "if you say so." Paul was happy to oblige.
Back to Panera:
The amazing part for me was that once I made the initial introduction, my part in this whole thing was done. Like Mike Meyers' Linda Richmond character, I put these people together gave them the subject of "ideas for Lauren" and said "Discuss!" I drank my coffee, no big whoop. I sat there listening and tried to keep up, but the information was so beyond my scope of knowledge that it didn't take long until I had given up and just chose to enjoy my You Pick 2. Normally, I would try to at least learn something new in that kind of situation, but it wasn't about me (and I was starving!). However, I had a flash, and I knew that this was one of the reasons why I created Project:IDWIL. How could I have overlooked this in all of the planning?
is: "look, I realize that I can provide a lot of information for my daughters when it comes to some things they can pursue in life, but for the things that I can't, I want to build this tool - IDWIL - so that when I have run out of the information that they seek, I can then introduce them to an expert in the thing that they want to learn more about."
This was happening - right in front of my eyes, and I couldn't have had any more warm fuzzies than I was experiencing right then.
I watched Lauren - I've known her for years. I know how intelligent she is. I know that she probably gets bored talking with me because even though we relate on certain levels, I can't even participate in the political discussions that are obviously "her element." But here, at this lunch, she could talk politics with these guys in a language that she must really miss while she is back in the rural midwest. Some clever anecdote would be made and they would chuckle - I would smile as well (a second too late, of course!) - but little did they know that I was just thinking about how clever I had been to make such a good iced coffee!
In the end, connections were made. As I've written about this before,
In this case, I hope that the selfless result was that Lauren got new ideas for pursuing her career and the selfish result is that she thinks of me in a positive way - that I knew some interesting people that could be a great connection for now as well as in her future.
What are some connections or referrals that you have made with others? Or connections / referrals that had been made to you that are memorable? Leave your stories in the comments below.
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