Mike Flood, a long time Saint Anne’s parishioner, remembers his first introduction to LinkedIn, the rapidly growing business social networking site, very well. It was 2003 and a colleague suggested he join the site. Firmly established as the controller of his company, he shrugged and put if off until 2005.
Little did he know that four years later, in the midst of the country’s greatest recession since the great depression, he would be seeking a new position. A sale to a foreign investor, which he helped implement, resulted in a new management team.
“I realized that people may know you through an organization but once that connection is lost they may not be able to find you,” Flood said. “This is where I found LinkedIn to be an important business tool.”
In March of 2009, Flood joined the career transitions group at St. Anne's. Once the group petered out, he wanted to improve on the concept. He was encouraged by parish social ministry coordinator Linda Leone to build on the group.
Fellow parishioners Tom Stenson and Joe Farelli joined forces with Flood to start and sustain a thriving professional network within the St. Anne’s community and they are using LinkedIn to spearhead it.
“Our goal was to create a networking group online and in person where parishioners can share ideas, network and help each other,” Flood said. “We wanted to reach out to those who were not in transition as well as those who were seeking employment.”
Stenson added, “Our focus is on business development whether you are looking or would like to help.”
Farelli, a labor attorney, grew concerned that he was seeing many parishioners when reviewing their severance packages. “I knew I had this expertise and I wanted to find a way to contribute,” he said.
At their third meeting parishioner Joe DeMicco, founder and president of AIMG, a full service website development and Internet marketing agency, gave a compelling presentation on using LinkedIn as a networking tool.
Patrizia Batelich-Armstong, a certified public accountant with 20 years experience, found the evening’s presentation relevant.
Attendee Liz Conroy, a market research professional, who is seeking a new position, also found the presentation insightful and took the time to introduce herself and network.
It’s been three months since the group’s inception and they currently have 120 members. Flood, Farelli and Stenson are proud of the group’s growth, noting that it’s a very diverse group in both age and occupation.
According to DeMicco 70 percent of jobs are found through networking. DeMicco’s presentation echoed that old adage, “it’s who you know,” even in an era when change is the name of the game; that can make a pivotal difference in the business world.
The group is open to Saint Anne’s parishioners. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anne’s, 35 Dartmouth Street, Garden City. To join the group, search under LinkedIn's "Groups" section for Saint Anne’s Professional Networking Group. For further information or to volunteer your services, contact Linda Leone at 352-5904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.