Executive Director, BNI - Southern Virginia
Lisa Renz of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a third-year doctoral student in the School of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Regent. In the midst of studies, her life has become all about networking. Networking doesn't just further career, but it is her career.
Lisa is the executive director of the Southern Virginia franchise of Business Network International (BNI), the world's largest referral networking organization. Professionals join BNI to promote their businesses through referrals and to share ideas and information. As a franchise owner, it is Lisa's job to form networking groups among members while training the groups to grow their businesses through networking.
Lisa's passion for networking has developed as she has experienced the role it can play in one's life and success. Before buying the franchise, Lisa joined BNI to help grow a catering business. When her business doubled as a result of BNI contacts and referrals, she became passionate about teaching others to become effective networkers. Now she says, "Networking is my life. It has made me a well-rounded person both professionally and personally - it's more than just about business success. The impact of helping someone else through networking impacts you in a way you never thought it could." And she has definitely helped others. One of her clients developed a new business into a multi-billion dollar organization in four years. In Lisa's words, "You can accomplish anything you want through networking."
Lisa encourages students to network with people of all ages and situations: "People tend to network with people who are similar to them and can miss a lot of opportunities." She also encourages students to consider networking etiquette: "Do not ask anything from anyone unless you've done something for them first. Develop a relationship with them, get to know them personally, and help them make a connection or achieve their goals. It's a two-way street - networking is about relationship building."
Her key to success? "Take the focus off of yourself and put it on other people and their needs and you will benefit in other ways."