In August 2016, my friend and founding client, Nicholas Oliver of people.io scooped the Nasdaq Rising Star Award at the prestigious Founders’ Forum event in Watford. Part of his prize was the opportunity to close the Nasdaq and have a one hour takeover of their billboards as well as other significant media opportunities.
Unable to resist such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, last week I found myself kissing my partner and son goodbye at Manchester Airport and jumping on a flight to New York.
As a working mum and a business owner, it can be hard to justify spending significant amounts of time away from home so from the outset I made it my mission to make this trip pay for itself in terms of new contacts, leads and insights.
I started off in style with a meeting with a senior writer from TechCrunch at the ice hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. Thanks to my old colleague from the West Coast who connected us before I arrived and another on the East Coast who comped me the tickets we were able to chat about the clients I’m working on, glean more insight into his editorial agenda and get some top tips for securing a much coveted spot at one of the TechCrunch Disrupt events. As always in this business, a face to face connection allowed us to really figure out what the other needed.
Over the weekend, I saw an old friend from when I interned at the Senate in 1999 and survived both my first trip on the subway system and a trip to Brooklyn. I also discovered via the power of Facebook that another friend from the UK was in New York that weekend with his girlfriend ahead of a move across the Pond in the Spring. Over a quick drink off Times Square he asked if I’d be able to help him with a marketing push for his business before he left the UK. And of course I can!
On Monday, I met a fellow associate from the Hoxby Collective for brunch to share our experience of working as part of the global platform and compare notes on life as a working mum. In the evening, I met the wonderful Lexi Mills, a contact through the brilliant team at Dynamo PR for drinks, dinner and a meeting of minds.
Tuesday, I managed to squeeze in a quick thank you lunch with the friend who’d helped secure the hockey tickets before the main event of the week – people.io’s takeover of Times Square. The team and our guests arrived at the Nasdaq for a run through and the chance to have some photos taken.
Little did we know that those same photos would be plastered across the Nasdaq building just moments later, interspersed with our advertising and branding and the live broadcast of Nic’s interview with the Nasdaq team. As you can imagine, the celebrations went on into the small hours and my headphones and scarf were casualties of the night. A fact recognised in this week’s PR Week diary.
Nursing a sore head on Wednesday morning I was packed and checked out of my hotel when my new friend Lexi emailed to see if I could make a intro meeting with a client of hers looking for help in the UK market. We managed to snatch a quick coffee before I headed to the airport and discussed some ways I could help the business.
In a world of increasing globalisation it’s perfectly possible to work, meet and play in almost any part of the world and be as effective as anyone tied to a desk. My spur of the moment flyer to the Big Apple yielded some fabulous fruit in the form of new connections, friends and business leads and gave me some good solid headspace when I was completely off line to process ongoing work.
While I won’t be jetting off anywhere exotic anytime soon it’s reassuring to discover that no matter how small your world can sometimes seem, your network will take you further than you ever imagined.