“Good relationships start with the ability to add value” – 60 Seconds with Siobhan Fitzpatrick, founder of The Networking Summit

60 Seconds With, Business | Tue 17 Sep | Author – Business & Finance
Siobhan Fitzpatrick

Siobhan Fitzpatrick, founder of The Networking Summit

What was your first job?

As a kid I worked in my father’s jewellery shop, ‘Three Castle Jewellers’ on South Great Georges Street where I cut my teeth on the skill of ‘people management’ and learned the value of customer service. However my first ‘real’ job out of business college was as legal secretary for an entertainment lawyer who represented bands like The Hot House Flowers and U2.

While an interesting client base, I quickly realised that admin work was definitely not for me. I much preferred being front of house and I’ve pivoted careers many times since then.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

It’s been a long and interesting journey so far with many achievements, but if I were to name one, it would have to be the launch and delivery of TheNetworkingSummit in 2018. The event brought together experts in the fields of networking, communications, branding and performance to inspire and educate attendees keen to grow their businesses and careers through networking.

It was a combination of 25 years’ experience in the events industry, a lifetime building and nurturing my network and a massive amount of risk in doing something that hadn’t been done before. It was hugely gratifying to receive such positive feedback from the attendees and speakers. I’m still hearing reports of attendees exploiting business opportunities that came out of the event.

The buzz continued for months afterward and people still refer to it as the best event they’ve been to.  We’re hopeful that this year’s event will exceed those high expectations!

In three words or fewer, how do you define success?

Happiness and meaningful legacy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

In such a competitive market place, it’s no longer enough to know your business or profession inside out, you need to have a presence or better still, credibility.

It was Kingsley Aikins who said, ‘It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you!’ Before I’d even heard that statement I had built my career on it, so I know first-hand how true it is.

If you could step into the shoes of one business person for a day, who would it be and why?

Without having to think about this one it would be Susan Hayes Culleton of Hayes Culleton Group. I’m privileged to know Susan and admire her greatly. Her work practice is phenomenal and while she’s growing her own practice and credibility, she always has time for others and delivers on what she promises.

I wouldn’t say I’m the best at multi-tasking so I think if I were to spend one day with Susan, I’d achieve so much more with my time.

How do you motivate yourself and your team?

Working for yourself, there is always the need to keep motivated and what works best for me is to surround myself with inspiring and motivating people. Like-minded individuals who I can learn from, grow with, support and be supported by.

I’m very fortunate to be a part of a number of networking organisations where empowerment and support are centre to their values. I’ve also recently started to go to the gym first thing in the morning and this definitely has helped to stay motivated and focused.

How do you relax?

There’s different types of relaxing for me. One is the need to have complete and utter quiet of mind (ie: no smart phones, work distractions) and for that I take to the Dublin and Wicklow mountains with the dogs for a nice long hike. There’s something about the energy of the dogs and the powerful views which can really centre you no matter what’s going on.

Then there’s the other type of relaxing which involves good food, fine wines and even better friends and family to have a good aul laugh – food for the soul!

What’s your motto?

‘Create value before you extract it’. Good relationships start with the ability to add value before even considering needing anything from the other party.

What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

Although my attention is currently on delivering this year’s TheNetworkingSummit, I’ve already got a clear focus on what 2020 will look like.

It’s bigger and more inclusive to those who have never been exposed to networking or the value of it. I’m also exploring more avenues to expand the brand, so definitely watch this space.

TheNetworkingSummit takes place on Friday, 27 September in the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport.