Mixing business and pleasure was the perfect cocktail for a recent keynote in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. I was invited to speak on leadership resilience for an annual insurance industry conference where limestone filtered water had been sourcing worldclass bourbon since the late 18th century.

There was bourbon in the beer, the burgers and the barrels that lined every hotel lobby. Bourbon was everywhere but business was the theme of the day. We were excited to land in Louisville since this history rich city had recently been named a top ten city travel destination by CNN. Over 400 attendees converged to celebrate strong industry growth. According to the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, insurance staffing is expected to exceed 2.43 million employees by 2020. The insurance industry may not be a media darling, but it always provides stable benefits, work/life balance and a rich variety of cross functional work opportunities for careerists. Think cyberliability concerns and superstorm realities. The demand for top talent will remain strong as the industry provides diverse leadership job opportunities.

What we learned in Louisville, however, was actually a timeless recommitment to the importance of old fashioned, refined relationship building skills. Here are three tips worth reviewing:

1. Do your “reach out” connecting before you arrive at your destination. Sounds obvious but it takes time and effort to pick up the phone or send a social media message. Turns out a colleague, who ran the HR function for one of the world’s largest law firms, had just finished relocating their client services headquarters to Kentucky. She immediately connected me with influencers in commerce and business development in Kentucky. I, in turn, invited them to our conference as our guest for networking. Win-Win. Staying in touch and and helping others achieve success is the priority…and the old fashioned way still works. Priceless.

2. Southern hospitality is alive and well. I called a PR colleague and long time insurance client that had worked on the Wild Turkey bourbon brand campaign before I left for the conference. Turns out her colleague insisted on warmly welcoming us at our hotel bar(with bourbon, of course!) and that led to an invitation to a private tour of an authentic Kentucky horse farm and more business connections thereafter. If you’re not into horses, go for the 50 different bourbon varieties tour. Check out whether you’re a whisky wannabe or seasoned spirits sipper. Bottomline: Be a great guest or a gracious host. It pays big dividends in business and life.

3. People really do want to help you achieve your goals. You just have to get clear on where you’re headed and have the courage to ask for assistance. This particular conference keynote was the culmination of timing, tenacity and networking with the right talent at the right time to achieve the goal. So where are you reaching out and up these days? How are you helping others achieve their goals? Don’t bet on the horses or the bourbon trail for your business success. Reacquaint with these timely tips to win your race. Share your business building success story at and we’ll join you at the next Derby for a mint julep or a jump on more great business..

DLG Consulting is a leadership training company that keynotes, consults with companies and coaches peopleleaders to their next level of success. Learn more at, on FB and Twitter @DonnaLynSpeaks.

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting beautiful South Carolina recently to present on leadership resilience as a motivational keynoter for the Insurance Auditors Association of the Southeast. Go Greenville! and thanks Charleston for the initial send off. We were pleased to meet lovely lifeleaders in the spirit of southern charm and industry intelligence from one end of the state to the other.

In a brief conversation post conference with the event planners, I offered to pen a follow up article for their association e-newsletter. According to leadership at IAASE, membership welcomed suggestions on how to dial up their post conference connecting upon return to the office. Here were my three suggestions:

1. Share a valuable piece of learning from the conference with an office colleague, friendly competitor or industry contact. Showcase your generosity and enthusiasm for up to date learning. Sure, industry insiders that get excited about new audit classification codes or risk management industry trends are a special bunch, but by doing so, you model initiative and committment to professional development for all. How many of you know folks that attend conferences for continuing education requirements but never really put the new learning into action? Differentiate yourself.

2. Follow up with conference attendees on LinkedIn and preferred social media channels. When you invite a colleague to connect on LinkedIn, make it personal. Instead of the ordinary “I’d like to add you to my network” request, spice up your communication with a shared conference connection. For example , “Great to learn we’re both Clemson fans between IAASE sessions” or “Thanks for sharing industry laughs at lunch last week” make the invitation personally memorable. If you didn’t meet everyone you wanted to at the conference, reach out anyway with “Missed connecting in person at IAASE last week, but happy to be a networking resource for you in forward”. Your colleague will likely appreciate your generosity, timeliness and initiative in connecting.

3. Volunteer your time to support your industry association. We’re all trying to “keep the pace” today by doing work that truly matters. Investing in the programming caliber of an organization that supports your professional development should be a priority. Donate a few hours a month, be on an advisory committee or offer to “tele-meet and greet” new members to keep organization growth going. Your association board of directors will appreciate your creativity and willingness to share your precious time and talent. Maybe they’ll put you in charge of Twitter or Snapchat to get you started in a brief and bold way for colleagues that like to get right to the point. Ask any insurance auditor from the Southeast that might connect with you on point!

DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT keynotes, coaches and consults with leaders that want to develop impact, influence and resilience as President of DLG Consulting. She maintains ownership interests in two NJ insurance agencies, teaches economics/finance as an adjunct professor and is the insurance go-to gal for America’s Small Business Development Center in Lincroft, NJ. Share what’s working for you at or @DonnaLynSpeaks on FB and Twitter.