Mari Carmen is a new Thought Leader. As an Author, Blogger, Executive Coach, and Speaker, she has a distinctive ability to inspire and develop core leadership competencies with her direct and candid style and compelling sense of intuition. Her most important role right now is to be the Lead Coach and Founder of The International Women’s Leadership Academy.

Mari and I first met through a networking group when we were both starting our businesses. We’ve had the opportunity to work and network together over the years and we’ve even spent time together serving on the Board for the Women’s Business Forum. I’ve been blessed to watch Mari develop her business and define her personal niche as a Leadership Coach for Corporate Executives.

After 20 happy years in corporate, Mari took some time off when her daughter was ill. While working with her daughter during the healing process, she began implementing the internal coaching programs she had developed for her company. As she implemented some of the strategies to help her daughter, she began to focus on her own self-care. Once she started treating herself as a “whole human” she began wondering how she could go back to corporate.

Mari reached out to her mentors, the people in her network, to help her discover what she wanted to do. With the realization that she has over 20 years of training, coaching, human resources, and leadership development experience, she decided to explore how she could offer these services from the outside and create a more balanced life for herself.

She shares that you don’t have to leave corporate to have balance, but she was already out and was ready for something new. It was at that moment that she realized the value of the network she had built. She says, she didn’t really network as she should have, but she had a network. She attributed the success she’s had in her business from the very beginning to the relationships she has forged and now teaches executives to network inside of corporate as part of her coaching program.

Corporate networking is a wonderful way to grow within the company, to connect with mentors, and to leverage your skills in a way that serves the company. Networking internally isn’t just about work, work, work, there is a personal component to it. That is where relationship comes in.

Mari shares a great example about creating allies within your company to help you get your job done. She suggests that you make friends with the people you bicker with the most to smooth the way. Find the commonality that you can both work toward and focus on that so everyone wins.

Mentors are everywhere. Mari demystifies the Godly image of mentors. She suggests becoming a mentor yourself. Mentor someone, regardless of your level. There’s always someone younger or newer. This is always the first step, think about what you can do for other people in your organization.

Mari attributes the success of her business solely to her network. By focusing on relationship building and sharing what you have to offer, they refer you to people who need your services. She believes that networking and building relationships is best when you are not attached to the outcome.

From her own personal experience, Mari has identified four things that get in the way of effective networking. As a Persuasion Coach, Mari teaches the “4 Barriers to Effective Persuasion”, the four reasons people don’t listen to what you have to say…

  1. It’s not a good idea
  2. They think it’s a good idea but don’t think anyone else is doing it
  3. They think it’s not going to work for them
  4. They don’t know how to do it

How do you lower that invisible barrier? It’s taking the time to listen at their communication level. If they think it’s not a good idea, use one approach. If they don’t know how to do it, use a different approach. Great advice!

Think about each of the barriers and think about the different strategies to continue having a conversation and the unattachment to a specific result. Mari shares that too many people go for the sale. “Networking is not for selling, networking is for creating relationships. Sales are a byproduct of a strong network.”

Mari identifies as an introvert and rather than seeing that and an obstacle to overcome, has learned to embrace it as a strength and has identified how to network successfully. Realizing that building relationships and focusing on the giving has gotten her out of her head and into her heart. When she started “not making it about herself”, she feels that her message comes out very naturally.

Mari shares a great story about connecting within her client organizations. She looks for opportunities to connect with executives 2 levels above the person that has brought her in. One of the connections that she talks about has led to some very large contracts and more connections. She attributes her success to becoming friends first and not being connected to the sale.

Last year Mari launched her International Women’s Leadership Academy specifically with a desire to address how women approach the world and business. After developing the program for a global company and completing a beta test with them, Mari successfully launched a 3-day intensive workshop in New York City in November of 2019.

With her focus on women in leadership, Mari is creating a space for women to overcome their own personal challenges, release the beliefs that are holding them back, and develop new strategies and systems to help them at work and at home by focusing on, as she calls it, the “whole human”. She teaches that building relationships and being a mentor to others is an integral part of that development.

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