Unlocking Opportunities: Networking Insights and Building Relationships with Gabby Borrero

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In this podcast episode, Lindsay Dollinger interviews Gabby Borrero, an entrepreneur who shares her journey into entrepreneurship and her passion for removing barriers to access for women entrepreneurs. Gabby discusses her experiences as a mixed-race individual and the importance of equal access to resources. She offers three networking tips, emphasizing the value of building personal connections and treating everyone with respect. Lindsay shares her approach to networking on social media, particularly on Instagram, and the importance of engaging with viewers. They also discuss local networking opportunities and recommend various communities and organizations. Networking is SO important!


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 This is an AI-generated transcript of an episode of the Purpose and Pixie Dust podcast.

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(00:00:01) - Oh, we're alive. Hello. Hello. Welcome back to another Purpose and Pixie Dust podcast interview. My name is Lindsay Dollinger and I'm super excited for our guest today. Gabby So, Gabby, please introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about you, what you do and how you started doing what you do. Yes. So, hi, my name is Gabby. I live in northern New Jersey and my journey into entrepreneurship started when I was in grad school. I started building a vocal recording studio from an operations standpoint alongside my partner who was the audio engineer and the recording engineer. So that was really my foray into the work that I do now. I practiced a lot of community based marketing, community based fundraising and really making sure that we put our community first and serve from a like from our hearts and always focus on income after impact. Impact first income came second, especially with the artists that we were recording. After a few years of that, we had our first. So I have a four year old and a two year old, and then when I was pregnant with my two year old, I started no Plan B coaching and consulting.

(00:01:09) - And then that was about three and a half years ago now. And then I started my network, the Next Generation Network, about two years ago now, really focusing on making sure that there are no barriers to access for resources for women entrepreneurs and business owners. Oh, my gosh. Okay. I can't wait to unpack this because I feel like there's so much there. Okay. Your focus, what you were just mentioning is on that no barrier access. How did that passion of yours come about? Or like, what's I feel like there's got to be some sort of story there, you know, Why are you so passionate about that? Yeah. So I am mixed. I am Colombian and Norwegian. And my dad came here when he was eight from Colombia, and he grew up in Brooklyn and grew up in some pretty rough neighborhoods and experienced and still does a great deal of racism. And when we talk about barriers, there were these were in the times when HR wasn't present. So a lot of the companies that he would work for, he experienced some pretty blatant racism that was never addressed.

(00:02:13) - And I always as I got older, he would share the stories with me. Even just the other day when we were chatting, he was getting emotional, sharing stories about how there was one man that did come in who was Hispanic as well, and who opened doors for him that others for three years had been slammed shut in his face. And being that I was mixed because I wasn't full Hispanic or I wasn't full white or European, it also meant that I had barriers to resources. I didn't really know how you're supposed to save or apply for college. I didn't understand that, Oh, am I allowed to apply for all these different colleges? Even though my parents have let me know I can only go to the county college because that's all that they could afford. So I didn't have the right access to networks that could have maybe broaden my horizons, which we know how important it is to have people on your side that have been through it and maybe could have shown me ulterior ways that I could have funded college or different expansive networks.

(00:03:11) - And then I did a lot of work with my church growing up, going on mission trips that allowed me to see how the other half lived per se, and allowed me to see that at the end of the day, we're all human and I think that we all deserve the same access to resources. Will we ever get a fair piece of the pie? That's like a never ending kind of theory. But while I'm here on this earth, I'm going to do every single thing that I can to ensure that those that come after me have an easier time than I've ever had that don't have to go through the things that I had to experience in order to get where I am today. Yeah, yeah. I love that passion and that purpose so much. That's one of the huge reasons that I'm a Spanish teacher. I because I do that as my full time job. I'm not sure if you knew that, but I am a high school Spanish teacher. And, you know, once I started learning about other countries and I studied abroad for the first time and then the second time and third time, you know, and I just kept going abroad and just hearing perspectives from people that were so different from the way I grew up or the people that I, you know, even surrounded myself with.

(00:04:20) - And it's not like my fault. It's just the people that were in my area. And then, you know, hearing stories like that. And I'm just like, oh my gosh, I have so much empathy. And also, yes, so much desire to to change our world and have those equal opportunities for everyone. So I love that. Absolutely love that. So let's talk a little bit about your network community and how networking is so important. What tips do you have? Because a lot of my listeners or viewers are women who are building online businesses. So what are some tips that you can give us for especially women just starting out and how they can be successful in that area? Yes. Oh, my gosh. I just went live about. Two hours ago with OTG. She's based out of Las Vegas, but she has an amazing event that's coming to Vegas in September and I'm going to be hosting some networking breakouts and some interactive sessions and learning sessions. And that was one of the questions that she asked as well.

(00:05:15) - And the three answers that I gave was, first of all, I want you to start local. I think that it's a very popular notion to join programs that might be massive, where you're 1 in 10,000, 20,000 people that are part of that program. But I would ask that if you do do that completely understood. But also try to bring your networking at a local level, because oftentimes our energy can transfer much easier in a person, a person like in person format versus online. And sometimes you can feel alignment strategies and energy differently. And that's where you know, okay, maybe it's time for me to exit this or maybe this is a relationship I should really lean into. So I ask that you find local groups if you don't know of any, let me know. I in any single hub. I definitely know of an active Facebook group or an active community that have in-person events within that given location. Then my second one is whatever platform is you're choosing, mine is usually Instagram. I always call it kind of my playground, my place where I show up.

(00:06:18) - I feel like I can show up truly as my authentic self. Make it your mission to get to know as many humans as possible that are choosing to spend their time following you, watching you, watching your content. And I share this often in my stories and people will say, Oh my gosh, you know, that really impacted me. I didn't think of it that way. But if I have a story and let's say 100 people view it, I believe it's my my duty to know who those people are, to check in on them. And then if they're watching continuously day in and day out, they're observing my content. I'm going to go ahead and make an introduction. I'm going to say, Hey, would you like to network? Would you like to chat? I'd love to get to know more about you. So really building that relationship first and it comes from the people that are probably already watching the work that you do, maybe admiring you, maybe they have questions, maybe there is some sort of collaboration that that could occur.

(00:07:09) - But that would be my second one. And sometimes my biggest pain point of those that always have the desire to grow bigger followings is I want you to get to know who's already following you first, and then imagine how much bigger your impact could be once you get to know them and then can add more friends, you know, into that plate. And then usually my third one is that treat everyone that you can with a level of respect that you wish perhaps your younger self could have gotten or could have received. I've gone to several networking events where maybe I went alone or maybe I was noticeably uncomfortable and someone in the room made it their priority to help me feel at home. So whether that's you, whether that's you, that can be that change in a networking event where you see someone that seems to be floating off alone quite a bit or doesn't really seem to know anyone there to be the change and to perhaps do something that could have made your younger self feel more at ease in a networking event. Just, you know, lead with love and compassion and respect.

(00:08:12) - I'm over here like having a coughing fit. Sorry. I'm like, thankfully I'm muted. So when I do this in audio. But yeah, this happened to me all week for my allergies. Oh my gosh. There's literally so much that I went back with that. So the second thing when you were talking about your stories and interacting with people I think was huge because there is so many times, especially with Instagram, that I have heard from people that they have trouble building community. And I love how you share like you go and you look who viewed your stories and, you know, message them and reach out to them because I'm guilty. I don't do that very often at all. I actually just looked at it yesterday for the first time in a long time. So do you do that? Like, do you have a set process for doing that? Go on and explain that. I'm going to try to find a cough drop really quick. Yes, for sure. So I usually check in every who's watching my stories at least solidly once a week.

(00:09:09) - I normally know everyone on there already, and if I don't know anyone, I'll send them a message. So I would say I do that once a week and then I also do have a good amount of DMS that I may have missed or I may have tagged and wanted to go back to. So I will dive deep through. I'm talking hundreds of DMS. I will go all the way down. I will do that at least once a month, if not once every two months. If I've really been slacking or just I haven't, I haven't prioritized it. I tend to do a lot of my relationship building in the DMS. Normally I always am able to convert that into a different area. That's a little easier to manage than Instagram. DM But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it doesn't work out or sometimes I don't answer for a while or they don't. So I always aim to check the stories at least once a week and directly reply to individuals, which is why my favorite thing to do is those different kinds of slides and quizzes.

(00:10:04) - But I know almost everyone that watches my stories and it's so nice to be able to scroll through and be like, Oh, this person's new. Let me send them a welcome or she's watching my story again. Like she's been watching my stories for three years or four years. And I think that it's beautiful to be able to know that, you know, the people that are taking the time out of their day to check up on you, too, because in a way, that's what they're doing. If they're watching your stories, they're seeing how you're doing that. That's super intimate. Yeah, Yeah. No, I love that. And that's such a good point because you can usually pick out those people who are newer because you're right, you see the same names over and over again. Yeah. Which I never thought about doing on Instagram. I feel like my platform of choice is usually Facebook because that's where I started doing business. You know, I'm like an OG Facebook girl where you had to have a college email address to join, you know? Yes, Yes.

(00:10:52) - And so I very intentional with doing that, like my post. But I'm going to definitely start doing that in my story. So thank you so much for that tip. Yes, of course. So you started talking when you were just answering that about local groups. Do you have any places that you love to find local networking for women who are like, I don't even know where to start? Like, are there any certain websites or searches or anything that you can give us for that? Yes. Oh my gosh, this is my favorite question in the whole world, because whenever I network with someone that's normally one of the main questions I ask is what free communities are you part of? But what paid communities are you a part of? I truly believe that as an entrepreneur, especially if you're an online business owner. I love the free. But if we get into some of the paid and we do a little bit of strategic of the both, it's a beautiful, beautiful synergy across the two. So some of my favorite memberships are Hey mama, Hey, Mom is awesome.

(00:11:46) - They also have a really great presence in some major hubs. So I know that you're located in Florida. I believe. I believe at least actually Ohio. A lot of people in Florida, because I go to Florida a lot, it's like it's on the vision board. But I'm in Ohio. Okay. Okay. Okay. So if anyone's listening and they happen to be from Florida, hey, Mama has a really great presence there in LA and some of the areas in California and New York and different hubs in almost every state there's a Hey, mom, a community that you can attend in person events, member led meetups. I also love a new community that's semi new, that's kind of based along the mid and West coast that's starting to move into the East Coast, which is called the like minded Collective. That one's led by Claudia, Claudia, Claudia. But that one's amazing as well. I also love for any consultants out there, The Upside by Erin Halper. She doesn't do at least the last time I was a part of it.

(00:12:44) - She doesn't do many in-person events, but great virtual events. I also have my own network where I do events once a quarter along the East Coast. That's called the Next Generation Network, where we focus on bi weekly virtual networking. And then if we're talking other free communities where you can find people I mentioned earlier. ATG So she has a branding, personal branding for entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs, Facebook. Group. There's a voice to visibility. I can definitely give you a link of all my favorites because I have like a whole docket that I kind of keep depending on what state they're in, what area they're in. But I also love, like local women's centers and local small business development centers that usually do free programming because they're run by the government or run by the SBA, and they're just arms or siblings underneath the SBA. So I would always say to go to the sba.gov and then use the local resources map to put in your zip code and find some local business centers or women's centers that nine times out of ten are doing local events and could use your help with marketing.

(00:13:50) - Yeah. Yeah. That's so awesome. Oh my gosh. I was not expecting that. Like so many. I'm just like, you tear it down. Oh my gosh. So many. I hope you made that like a lead magnet or something. Like you're document you should so you can collect collect emails for giving that out because that is so valuable. Um, I haven't heard of like half of those. I'm definitely going to need to do that. So you have your own virtual networking community for someone who has never done virtual networking, because I know the first couple of times that I've hopped on some calls, especially for the first time in a community, I can feel like like not really sure what to expect or even maybe like a little bit awkward. So what what could you tell people to expect? Like if they specifically attended yours or just virtual networking in general? Like what does that flow kind of look like? Yes. So a lot of virtual networking events that you're going to attend mine are speed networking events, so they're with structure in mind.

(00:14:49) - And I have an entire structured plan that we follow. So I always mention this on any emails you get before joining the call, but we always do an intro exercise which includes you write kind of not a pitch, but you sharing what you do, who you are, where you're located and opportunities that you're open for. We then go through 4 to 6 different rounds that are normally seven minutes each, that are normally one on one or, you know, a three scenario, but never more than three. And then from there we dedicate the last ten minutes to you sharing how we can show up for you in a tangible way. So I'm talking share your booking link for anyone that you're open to coffee chats with or share the link to your upcoming freebie or your upcoming program or event that you have. I found that in the past I would say, how can we support you? And it would be very vague and very hard for anyone to actually take action upon it. So that is my format. I've seen similar formats to that in speed networking.

(00:15:47) - Speed networking is nothing new. Of course, being bringing it virtually just means that there are some communities that place more of an emphasis on just getting to know each other. In my speed networking, I want you to find collaborative partners. I want you to find future clients. I want you to find people that you can truly see as members of what I call your bispham. So it's our job to make you feel comfortable. But it's also our job to help you connect the dots between people that we know that we want to directly introduce you to. Where I would see that in the past and some other events that I would go to, it would be a little harder for me to say, Oh, could you introduce me to them? And it's like, Oh, I'm not sure. You know, I'll have to think on that. I'll see if you're ready to to be intro to so and so. So I think if you're going to be coming to a virtual networking event, trust that the person that's leading the event has done their research, has taken all of the feedback that previous attendees have given and have curated a beautiful event for you to be able to show up, to be seen, to be heard and supported.

(00:16:49) - And if you go to an event and you don't enjoy the energy or you don't feel like it was beneficial to you because there are a lot of people that are doing speed networking right now, if you feel like, okay, I got to know a bunch of people, but none of them can really help me move my business forward. And this isn't the season that I'm in, then feel free to send me a DM or, you know, shoot me a message on on LinkedIn and I'll be happy to share some awesome networking events where really the people in there are there to build with you, collaborate with you and curate relationships that will last the test of time. I love that and I love how you pointed out the three types of relationships that you could have so you could meet someone that you're going to collaborate with. You could meet someone who's going to be a future client, or you can meet someone who's either going to connect to you with someone or you can connect them with someone you know that has that need.

(00:17:38) - And that last one especially, I feel like we don't think about a lot. Um, but when you actually, when you started talking today and you were talking about the equality and when you were mentioning you mentioned going to college specifically, the first thing in my mind I was thinking of someone. I'm like, I need to introduce you to her so you can be on her podcast because she works with first generation college students. And I feel like you have so much that you could probably share with that. And so like, those are some of those relationships that I feel like. We don't even think about when like. Don't even think about that when you came on my podcast today. Right. But like, there's so much more possibility when you're meeting people that you don't even know until you start diving into it and like, really getting into it. Yes. And I think one of the most important things that I say all the time is that if you're networking only to meet clients, you are you're missing out.

(00:18:33) - You're missing out on a whole world of family of support. I think for those who are like, Yeah, but I'm only networking so I can meet my next client. Or if you feel like networking isn't working for you because you're not landing clients, you might be focusing on the wrong aspect of things. And I would ask that you show up with the intention of being there fully and being open to understanding that sometimes you're going to go on a networking call and it's just because you're going to meet one person who someone's going to refer you to that's going to give you a speaking gig or a podcast opportunity. I think you have to really have your options open and also know your goals and say, Wait, if your only goal here is to only get clients, maybe you might want to be a part of like a BNI or some sort of community that's really focused on solely solely referrals. And that's what everyone's there for because that's the number one thing I always hear people talking about and community leaders talking about of, Oh, so-and-so dropped out of my group because they didn't get enough referrals.

(00:19:30) - But don't they don't understand that relationships are long game. No, not everyone understands that. And if you're someone who can't wait, go ahead and join a membership that might be a little bit higher price, but it's going to give you those guaranteed referrals that maybe you're looking for. Okay, what's A, B, B? And I. So what does B? I can Google it real quick, but what does the B and I stand for? So here in northern New Jersey and I know that BNI is not global, I think almost global all across the US, it is a higher pay in and they meet, I believe it's once a week, so it's also a bit of a higher frequency. But you go to the meetings knowing that if someone comes in, it's only one person per specialty and that person right, has paid to be there and that person is giving you leads and you are giving that person leads. It's and now I don't want to like misspeak on it because I have a lot of friends that are in amazing BNI group.

(00:20:27) - So it can be an amazing community for you, but it also is for you. If maybe you're at a different level in your career and you don't really see the need to join all these groups that I just mentioned prior, you're like, I'm good. I just need more access to more clients and more referrals. Perhaps A, B and I that has an open spot for you in the work that you do. Might be the best. It is going to be a larger investment and it's also going to be an investment on your part of time and also making sure that you give referrals to the other members that are in your group. Interesting. I hadn't I have heard of that concept within groups before, but I've never actually heard the term BNI. So yeah, it's old to BNI has been around for a while, so yeah, if anyone has any spin offs, it's more likely than not because maybe they attended a group like BNI and then just didn't like so and so about it and so they put their own spin on it.

(00:21:17) - Okay, I love that. Oh my gosh, you have so much good information. I feel like we could talk forever. So what is one piece of advice to the person listening today? Like one takeaway that you are hoping that they take from our conversation to move their business forward? Yes, I think probably one takeaway which might not directly relate is that you should be able to show up as you in every room that you step into. So whether I just mentioned BNI and you decide you want to go enjoy, I hope that you know that you are allowed to be your fully authentic self. You do not need to muffle yourself. You do not need to sit quiet in a corner, especially if you're a woman listening to this, especially if you're someone who's maybe overcome traumatic instances in your past or maybe has had any issues with boundaries. I think a lot of women are people pleasers and we have so much on our plate. When you go out and you network, I want you to know that you can be whoever you'd like to be and don't ever feel the need to change yourself because someone else told you that you need to be more digestible or you need to be a smoother glass of water to drink.

(00:22:19) - You're a little too hot. I need you more at room temp. I ask that you please join groups where you feel able to be you. That's like my number one takeaway. And if you don't feel like you can be yourself or you're changing yourself or you're becoming a person that you never really intended to be to, to have those check ins once a quarter, is this still filling me up? Is this still serving me in the way that I intended? Know that you can always back away from memberships? Don't be afraid to cancel a membership if it doesn't serve you. No one's feelings are getting hurt. It's just time for you to maybe move on to a new phase of life and a new membership to go along with it. I love that so much. It's actually one of the things that I love best about going to networking events where I know no one is. I'm like, No one has to know, you know what I mean? Like, there's there's nothing that they are prejudging you on.

(00:23:05) - Like you get to go and really be yourself. Like really, really, really, truly be yourself. And I love that. So, yeah, great advice, Great advice. So I like to ask my guests a few rapid fire questions at the end that kind of really have nothing to do with anything, but it's just, um, well, first of all, maybe this does. What is your favorite or most recent business or personal development book that you have read? Like one that you're like, I really loved it. You should read it to, Oh my gosh, I need to remember the title of it. But one of my great friends, Chris Junior, recommended the book to me. It was based on people that were going to be hosting events like kind of how to host the best events ever. From a business perspective, I need to get the title. But he was like, Yeah, this is like exactly what you already do, and I want to let you know that like it's valid.

(00:23:54) - But also, if I can't remember the title that one, my really good friend Bridgette Aileen Sisco sent me the book The Go Giver, because she was like, This is exactly you. You need to read this. I think I validate things for you. And I read that book and The Go Giver is amazing. For those that really believe in the impact over income messaging or servant leadership and servant mindset, that would be the best book to make you feel seen. Oh, I love that. And if you think of the other one, let me know and I'll link it. Yes, I will. I will. I will find it because I'd love to read that. I've read the go giver. That one I have read. Yeah. Um. Morning. Routine. Evening routine. Neither. Both. Morning routine. Because night routine. I'm already being overcome by my two and four year old, so I just succumb to their whim and whatever they want me to do and try to keep some semblance of structure.

(00:24:42) - So my morning routine is definitely up doing some bar or Pilates, getting my body moving, having some coconut water with orange juice and some sea salts in there and some lime and honey and just really trying to fuel and energize myself. But also sometimes I love to just chill and make mini muffins with my partner. And so I'm definitely a morning person and definitely morning routine. Overnight routine. Okay. Love that. I love that. And what is your favorite place you have traveled and or like a bucket list destination that you really want to go to? I probably would have to say I've been blessed to be able to do a lot of traveling and my family is going to Italy in about a month and a half. We'll be spending eight days in Italy. We absolutely love the Amalfi Coast. We love the vibes and we're not loving the stairs, but it's going to be great. No strollers in sight. But say Positano is probably one of my favorite places in the year on Earth as well as Naples.

(00:25:47) - We stayed in this beautiful Airbnb that was right by Mount Vesuvius. That was just such a family. Small town feel outside of Naples and the best pizza ever that was there. So definitely Italy, I would say. Okay. Okay. Favorite place. And I love that you already have another trip booked that you're going back because it's, you know, we all have those like favorite places and then it's like, okay, we're going to go there once and then. Might not go back for five, ten years ever. You know what I mean? It's like, no, go back if you loved it so much. Go back. That's it. Exactly. Okay. Well, so fun. Well, Gabby, tell us all the places that we can confine you, where we can connect with you. And I will be sure to put these in the show notes, too. Yes. Okay. So IG is my fave. I have two accounts on there. No plan B consulting where I share a lot of behind the scenes, behind events that I go to and networking tips.

(00:26:40) - And then I also have we are the Next generation network and then my websites are no plan B Consulting and the Next Generation network. And then I'll LinkedIn. I'm Gabby Borrero or Gabriella Borrero. I ever I forget which one I have on there but those are like the main ones that I use and of course TikTok or under the same handles threads Under the same handles. Yes. Those are my main places. Awesome. Well, thank you so much again. And friends, if you were listening to this and loved this show, please take a screenshot. Share it in your IG stories and make sure to tag us because we would love to have a conversation with you about it. Yay. Thank you.




About Gabby: Gabriella has helped many entrepreneurs birth their business into a successful and thriving vessel. Gabby built The Vault Music Studio with her husband in 2017 and has implemented many processes and strategies so the business can remain profitable all while building communities that allow them to stay visible. She has her Master's and Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and her Associates in Hospitality Management. Her passion of serving others started at a young age and she has not stopped since. No Plan B is Gabby's first solo business venture, she serves as a coach and consultant to female founders whom are building their service-based businesses. The Next Generation Network is her network where she connects social entrepreneurs in connecting via biweekly speed networking calls. You can find her at local events and conferences saving seats for her clients and biz family to sit at, she believes we all have a seat at the table.

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