It’s Who You Know

Aug 28, 2020

By Rachel Siegel


Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? This is advice often given to job seekers, since many positions are filled using personal contacts instead of advertisements. The relational nature of the world is true about all facets of life, not just finding a job. Though the nature of relationships have changed drastically in recent decades, they are the foundation of our lives, from finding a doctor, to fundraising, to getting a seat at the table. That’s why social networking sites are so popular. You never know when you may benefit from a relationship you have, even from a connection you haven’t seen in years.

Relationships also drive The Collective. The executives and leaders we have spoken with over the years understand the power of relationships. Relationships with other women leaders in similar positions help conquer the loneliness they feel in that top position. It helps them build partnerships, discuss challenges and successes with others who have been in similar situations, meet new funders, and get seats at the right tables. And sometimes, it helps them consider their next venture or make connections that will get them where they want to go.

How do you actually build these relationships? We selected 10 leaders who are disparate in terms of where they work, what they do, the length of time they have been at their organizations, their race, the way they practice Judaism, and more. This was intentional, we learn best from those with different experiences. With the first meeting of the second cohort of The Collective last week, we spent an hour getting to know one another. The leaders each shared her “river of life” – where she came from, where there were twists and turns, where there were rocks in her path, and where she is heading. The leaders got to know each other quickly and deeply. These relationships are just beginning but will continue to grow over the course of the year. Now the cohort members each have nine other women who they know, and time will tell where those relationships will take them!