Building relationships, giving back and never stop learning are the three things that I believe are immensely valuable to moving to the next level. - Katrina Keys
We’ve all heard the advice that networking is important for our careers. And regardless of your profession, your industry or demographic, the message is loud and clear. If you want to be successful, you need to spend time networking. Networking is about building relationships one person at a time, and even though she will not admit to knowing everyone in the world, I would have to challenge her on that!
In this feature, we showcase the power of networking through the lens of Katrina Keys, an extraordinary HR Consultant, entrepreneur and relationship builder and also your favorite networkers, favorite networker! I had the pleasure of connecting with Katrina through a mutual friend and little did I know, she has connections even within my circle of influence, people that I've either worked with or are close friends with. Katrina is a serious professional that aims to genuinely help people and I love the fact that she represents the true essence of a Re.engineer - - Living Like There Is No Box!
Please take a moment to learn more about Katrina's background and how she is leading in the networking space.
Katrina Keys is a Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience in all aspects of Human Resources. She holds a Senior Certified Human Resources designation that is as near and dear to her as her MBA, her MA in Organizational Management, and Bachelors in Journalism. Katrina’s biggest accomplishments are her two children; her daughter who attends college in Colorado and her son who attends college in Texas.
Currently, Katrina is the owner of C and D HR Consulting as well as a Network in Action franchise – NIA 5.0. C and D HR Consulting is the missing piece for small to midsize businesses focused on improving their organizational culture and engagement. NIA 5.0 partners with business owners and leaders to focus on the growth of their knowledge, business, and connections. This partnership facilitates networking across each organization, supporting business growth. Obtaining her Business Networking Certification in 2019, aligned and supported her thought process that networking is a critical piece to success not only in business but in life.
In her free time, Katrina is the Networking Liaison for Single Mommies Can (singlemommiescan.org), handles recruiting and interviewing for a non-profit’s youth ministry volunteers, and provides volunteer support at job fairs and as a presenter for career workshop(s). She is also involved with a local HR organization, specifically on the HR Gives Back and the University Liaison Committees. Traveling, playing board games with her kiddos, growing roses, shopping, and going to the rodeo are just a few of the things she enjoys in her off time.
Katrina is a passionate advocate of relationships, volunteering, culture, and employee engagement. She believes that networking is about building relationships one person at a time. Her commitment and drive afford her the opportunity to witness the power of networking and she is proud of the relationships that she continues to build and support. She really does not work a day in her life because she truly loves what she does and gains strength and knowledge from watching others succeed.
Q: From your foundation in Human Resources to now networking with highly influential business leaders, what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Katrina: I was inspired by the opportunity to truly make an impact without constraints and misguided agendas. I am now able to connect and talk with people across the world without a fear of what ifs...will someone within the organization disagree or is this a competitor or is this partnership aligned with the organization’s view? Being an entrepreneur was not a dream or a goal but an opportunity (to make an impact).
Q: We have just completed an engagement survey and one of the top 5 reasons why professionals are not engaged in their workplace is because they do not have a mentor. How have mentors helped you in your journey?
Katrina: Having a mentor and being a mentor has allowed me the opportunity to share without the fear of repercussions, to have people who will be honest, have people who know me and are invested in my success. Remember that a mentor you start with may change, however it is important to always have one involved in your life. Having a mentor is like having a coach, they know what you are capable of and see where you are going or need to go and will push you as needed.
Q: I am really inspired by the engagement you have from around the world with your Network In Action International brand. How do you prioritize it all and still inspire others in the process?
Katrina: I prioritize based on impacting lives. If what I am doing is not impacting someone’s life it moves down the list. I have been blessed with a level of discernment that allows me to know what I need to say, respond to and do in order to provide a level of inspiration whether it is with my kiddos, friends, family, colleagues, referral partners or connections.
Q: What has been the most difficult challenge with making the transition from a corporate environment to becoming an entrepreneur?
Katrina: The most difficult challenge for me has been measuring my accomplishments. So often in corporate America accomplishments are measured by a project moving forward, a monetary or non-monetary bonus or even verbal kudos. However, when you are an entrepreneur, you have to determine what indicates that you have accomplished something. My journey is not someone else’s so I had to reflect and figure out what that was for me.
Q: What advice would you give to other young professionals or entrepreneurs looking to take their career or education to the next level?
Katrina: Building relationships, giving back and never stop learning are the three things that I believe are immensely valuable to moving to the next level. When building relationship it needs to be planted so that it can take root and grow. The relationships need to be fertilized and watered regularly. What does that mean? These relationships are more than a connection, they require reaching out, checking in, and genuine interest in others’ lives, success and well-being. When it comes to giving back, my recommendation is that young professionals and entrepreneurs find a way to give back tied to something for which they are passionate. Passion and giving back should go hand in hand. Finally, they need to stay focused on increasing their knowledge. I have a never stop learning attitude. My goal is to learn one new thing daily tied to business or life in general. These three things have pushed me throughout my career and my life.
Q: You consistently encourage everyone to seek out new perspectives and you are definitely a supporter of diversity of thought. What are some of the more recent examples of how you are collaborating?
Katrina: Collaboration is a great way to learn new things and new ways of thinking. I chat weekly with a ‘colleague’ (Brandon Herndon) about who we can connect with whom, what successes, failures or misfires we have had and there is always quite a bit of cheerleading of each other. During this weekly conversation we talk about what would go in our book about the importance of relationships and networking. (Yes, there may be a book in my future.) In addition, I am a part of The Three Best Ways podcast that focuses on promoting small business owners and providing them with an opportunity to share their why they do what they do. Finally, I am part of a group called the Houston Executive Advisors that meets monthly where our focus is on collaboration 100%.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Katrina: What keeps me up at night is wondering if I was able to make a difference - did I send over all of the referrals that I documented during my call, did I connect the right people to each other and did my LinkedIn post add value.
We owe a lot to Katrina. Re.engineer's recent success is because she has been instrumental in opening up our collaboration perspective. It's because of her, we have produced more content in the last few weeks versus the last few months - - all because of connecting and leveraging with other powerful professionals. She has opened up a new world of opportunities for us, and for that we are grateful.
Katrina, you are a certified Re.engineer!
Contact Information: LinkedIn, Katrina Keys