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Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Speaker, trainer and award-winning entrepreneur – these are just a few words that describe Cameka Smith, Founder of The BOSS Network, a community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online engagement and event-based networking. Working towards one simple goal, BOSS® is “Bringing Out Successful Sisters” to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women.

Under Cameka’s leadership, The BOSS Network has become one of the fastest-growing women business communities, garnering several accolades such as a Top 50 Website for Entrepreneurs (Inc. Magazine), 10 Best Career Sites for Women (Forbes.com) and one of 9 Twitter Accounts to Enhance Your College Experience (BlackEnterprise.com). In recognition of her achievements, Cameka was listed in Jet Magazine as a 40 under 40 Entrepreneur, named one of the Top 40 Chicago Game Changers by Ariel Investments, The Network Journal listed her one of their 2016, 40 under 40 Business Leaders, and she was presented with a Rising Brand Star award by the Adweek in 2017.

In today's conversation, Cameka and I discuss the power of networking and building relationships. She shares why she launched her business, and how she developed a business strategy to monetize her brand and grow her business.

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Connect with Cameka:

Resources Mentioned:

Tweetables:

A few of the questions I asked Cameka:

  • Who are some of the women in your life that you're grateful to have around you and those who have really inspired you?
  • What would people who you know today find surprising about you as a teenager growing up in Chicago?
  • What did you have to give up to glow up? Did you have to shift your mindset, let go of people?
  • What are some of the lessons you've learned about building relationships?
  • How important is networking and social media to building and nurturing these relationships and an individual's personal brand?

Key Points from Cameka:

  • I am grateful for my mom and those who came before us. Because of them we are who we are.
  • Our dreams and visions are tied to other people’s dreams and visions
  • Cameka Smith used the power of relationships and networking to build The BOSS Network, a community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other.
  • Find those who are looking for the same thing you’re looking for and build the solution
  • Cameka Smith talks about building the business strategy to monetize the brand and grow her business
  • Your business vision and desire to help people cannot be sustained without a forward-looking strategy
  • If you’re gonna be in business, you gotta know your “why?” or you’ll be very easily deterred and distracted by everything else that is going on around you.
  • The “why?” of The BOSS Network is to give women of color a platform to showcase their talents and their gifts and give them resources and opportunities to help them expose their brands.
  • You have to build relationships and not just your rolodex
  • BOSS stands for “Bringing Out Successful Sisters,” and its mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit in women
  • When building your network or social following, focus on quality not quantity
  • Here’s great networking advice from BOSS Network’s founder, Cameka Smith: Do your research before you get into the room, so you can drive the conversation and have something of substance to talk about.
  • We must be sure we are operating with good character in our professional relationships to build authentic connections
  • Social media is the great connector. It allows you to connect with an audience that you would have never otherwise met
  • Connect the dots on all your media platforms
  • Leadership does not always mean being out front, but it means serving in a capacity where your work impacts more than just yourself
  • I operate from a servant leadership standpoint: looking for ways to serve my clients, my tribe, and give women in my network access and resources
  • Great leaders are people who have crafted, molded and created their own table to have that conversation, then taking that information back to their communities
  • Collaboration is so key: you can reach new audiences by collaborating with people in your industry or even other industries

One Action To Blaze Your Trail:

Go out and serve other people. Serve someone who can't give you anything in return.

 

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