Spotlight on Matt Baker

As difficult as it is to follow last month’s Spotlight (Ryan Seelhoff), the Orlando office is proud to put the Spotlight on Matt “the Touchdown Maker” Baker! Matt’s dedication and work ethic is paying off in a big way this year as the Orlando office continues to grow and mature in a very challenging market. When Matt isn’t spreading the good word about Conexess, he facilitates sports training sessions in his home town of Saint Cloud, Florida. Conexess is proud to have this beast of a team player on OUR team!! Go Matt!

Best thing about living/working in Orlando:

Being close to family, and the amazing weather year round.

Favorite part about being a recruiter:

Having the opportunity to help people find the perfect career path.

Nicknames:

Baketrain- I’ve had that name since the high school football days. (Toot…toot!)

What is something you are passionate about?

Fitness and helping develop young athletes.

Little known fact about you:

I have huge addiction to workout sneakers. I must own over 20 pairs.

Best place to eat in Orlando:

Jimmy Bear’s BBQ.

What is your favorite weekend activity?

Boating and spending time with family and friends.

Connect with Matt on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

The Nerdiest Blog Post You Ever Did See

Or, as most of us would say, Happy Valentine’s Day! Working at an IT Staffing company, nerdiness just comes with the territory. In the spirit of the upcoming “holiday” (thank you, Hallmark), here are our best geeky pick-up lines. Enjoy!

“Roses are #ruby

Violets are blue,

It’ll make my day

If I get a call from YOU” 

“Do people call you Google? Because you’re everything I’ve been searching for.”

“You are hotter than the bottom of a laptop that has been in use for 5 hours.”

laptop

“If I had a bitcoin for every time I saw someone as attractive as you, I’d have one bitcoin.”

bitcoin

“Talk nerdy to me.” – Jason Derulo

talk nerdy to me1

 

*User discretion is advised – these lines have been known to make Trekkies and computer programmers alike go weak at the knees. Just make sure you’re prepared to catch the intended recipient when he/she falls.

 

Lessons Learned while Networking

If you don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you hear about an upcoming networking event (and by warm and fuzzy, I don’t mean about to hurl), never fear – that can change! Speaking as a former wallflower, I can now confidently say that I genuinely enjoy networking events. If you had told me that I would feel this way 10 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. Or more realistically, giggled timidly and then awkwardly shuffle-walked away. Attending networking events well is all about perspective. The first networking event that I went to by myself was a little bit terrifying – nerve-inducing to the point of giving myself an audible pep talk in my car in the parking lot. It went a little something like this:

“Kayte, you are a big girl, you can do this. They won’t be mean to you, and if they are you can leave immediately. Just walk in, order a drink, take a quick lap, meet one person, and then you can leave.”

I ended up staying for 2 hours. I had a wonderful time, and made connections with people that I still keep up with nearly a year later. Since then, I have tried to attend one event each week. Not because I’m a cat lady and have nothing better to do with my free time, but because every time I go to a networking event, I walk away with something new (and not because I’m pickpocketing people while I’m there). Here are a few tidbits that I’ve picked up along my networking journey; I hope they are helpful to you!

  1. Set a goal before you walk in: my goal is always to meet at least one person. I don’t let myself leave until that happens. Decide what you want to glean from the event, and don’t let yourself bail until you have achieved exactly what you intended.
  2. Practice makes perfect: turns out that my high school lacrosse coach was right – the more you practice, the easier networking becomes. The hyperactive butterflies in your stomach will subside, you’ll begin to see familiar faces as you attend regular meetings, and before you know it, friends you drag along will comment that you seem to know everyone in the room – imagine that! So allow yourself to make awkward conversational faux pas in the beginning, stumble through a discussion with a CEO without realizing he’s the CEO until it’s too late to recover, and forget your business cards – you will learn from all of these experiences! And as painful as the situation might seem in the moment, odds are that no one will remember you as “the girl who spilled wine on herself” at the next event. Keep practicing! It gets easier, I promise.
  3. You just never know who you’ll meet: making valuable connections is the whole point of networking. If you have registered for the event via a site like Eventbrite, you may have access to the guest list and can then mentally prepare for the people you will meet there. Otherwise, you can just walk up to someone and start a conversation – that person could be your next employer/best friend/business partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/etc. You just never know!
  4. Humans are better than the 9:00 news claims: I cannot tell you how many times the strangers I’ve met at networking events have offered to help me. Whether it is a videographer suggestion, or recommending a friend of mine for a job opening, people (in Nashville at least) are pretty great. And while you never know what someone might be able to offer you, you also don’t know how you’ll be able to help them. This has been perhaps my favorite aspect of networking – getting caught up in the “how can I help you” mentality that everyone seems to share.
  5. Clinging to your safety raft gets you nowhere*: Bringing a few friends or coworkers with you to a networking event is great. BUT if you only talk to them all night, you might as well have gone straight home from work and watched Netflix because you will be missing out on all of the benefits of networking. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be intimidating, but taking the easy road is often not the most beneficial in the long run. So let go of that safety raft and make some new connections, you won’t regret it.

Here are a few of the networking events that I have attended in the Nashville area. Check out their websites, and I hope to see you at an event in the near future 🙂

Nashcocktail

Nashville Geek Breakfast

Network After Work

12th & Broad events

WiTT events

Girl Geek Dinner

What are you favorite networking events? Any tips to share? Leave a comment below.

*Unless it’s a literal safety raft and you’re stranded in the middle of the ocean, <my nightmare> then please hang on for dear life.