August, 28th, 2019 at 3:26 pm
Guest blog by member Jennifer Jurgovan
Community among professionals is one of the most important and overlooked parts of careers.
Many of us work in commission based, cut throat industries, where other professionals are our toughest competition. I began my rural career in restaurants. First, I was a breakfast server (I still cannot believe that General Manager hired me in my jean jacket and hot pink yoga pants – I had come straight from a class for an impromptu interview!), then dinner, then catered events. When I felt that my serving career was coming to a close, the Owner of the business created a role for me as Hospitality and Catering Sales Manager. I was so excited that he believed in me more than I believed in myself and created that new role – it was incredible.
For years I grew in this fabulous family owned restaurant company as Catering Sales Manager. This growth was both in numbers, increasing the profitability and volume of events, and in community. As I became more and more involved with my job, I found that I really loved the vendors I worked with, and we became good friends. Wedding planners, rental companies, photographers, bands, you name it, we were all buddies.
Over time I also became close with our competing venues and catering companies as well. It gave me so much joy to know that if I could not do an event, or if it wasn’t the right fit for our company, that I could recommend the Client to a friend, and know that they would be well cared for.
These positive relationships among competitors created exciting experiences with Clients. When we would have vendor meetings for multi-day events with more than one catering company, Clients were always surprised how well we all got along, and how much fun we had, despite being competitors for their business. The strong relationships we had in the Catering community created an environment of trust and fun for our Clients. The camaraderie we all had made my heart full.
Fast forward to today, I am fresh in a new career in Real Estate. In this new profession, I quickly realized that there was not the same feeling of community that we had in Catering. There is a lot of behind the scenes gossip, chatter, and grudges that are difficult for me, as the new girl, to navigate. For the first few months I was not sure how to be myself in this new ultra competitive and gossipy arena.
As the Universe would have it, one of my best girlfriends from the Catering & restaurant world also made a transition into Real Estate. She and I decided to start meeting each month to catch up and chat business. I am a compulsive question-asker, and she knows pretty much everything, so it was perfect. Quickly she revealed that she also felt this void in community among Realtors, and missed the tight-knit feeling we had in Catering.
So, The Breakfast Club was born. This group meets once per month for one hour to talk about systemic issues, best practices, and abundance mindset. Anyone in Real Estate who is young(er) and wants to build the community with us is welcome to come.
What we found through this experience is that sometimes you have to create the community you are looking for. That is how Women in Rural started. That’s how our Breakfast Club started. If you are feeling a void of community in your professional workspace, create it. Camaraderie and Community are what make work fun, and helps all parties have more success. The more we work together at Breakfast Club to create abundance and opportunity for each other, guess what? More opportunity and abundance appear. The more closely we examine certain practices/traditions that could be a systemic flaw, the more likely we are to create a real solution for Realtors in our town. And of course, the more time we spend together, and the more we enjoy each other, the better our working relationships will be as well. A rising tide floats all boats – and I want to be on it.