Artists, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs: Kymberli Speight, Former Air Force Officer and Author

A common challenge for our armed forces veterans as they transition out of the military and into civilian life is building their professional and personal network. Kymberli Speight, a former Air Force officer herself, recognized this problem and after a civilian career that included human resources, recruiting, and contract administration, she decided to become a career coach for military executives transitioning to the private sector. As a career coach, she noticed that while everyone recognized the importance of networking, people struggled in learning how to apply it.

This episode of ae2 explores networking and the inspiration for Kymberli’s new book, I Need To Know You: How to Meet Ordinary, Extraordinary People and Improve Your Life.

After teaching people how to network for a while, Kymberli thought that she shouldn’t just teach networking, she needed to lead by example – she needed to live it. So to build her clout, Kymberli gave herself a challenge: get to know 100 people in 100 days. As she began meeting people, she noticed that conversations tended to fall into two categories:

  1. Conversations that challenged her beliefs and made her stop to think why she thought differently and ask herself whether that was valid.
  2. Conversations in which people were grateful that she listened to their story.

You should approach networking professionally and personally differently, but most important skill to networking, Kymberli says, is being a good listener. And (spoiler alert) introverts, who tend to be the most intimidated by networking, are usually better listeners. You’ll make more friends by showing your interest in other people than by trying to get people to show interest in you. 

Watch the episode below to learn more about networking from Kymberli.

If you are unfamiliar with ae2, this Web-series from Hiller Measurements is a long-form interview-style program that explores thought leaders at the “business end” of companies, creative works, and research. In each episode, Hiller Measurements’ President Jeff Olsen explores the creative drive, personal motivations, and stories of perseverance of visionaries who are still “in the hunt.

Through ae2, our aim is to find the business model in the engineering mind, the drive and technique a gifted artist is developing, and the impact for good that outweighs the personal risk taken on by bold business creators. Overall, the goal of our series is to inspire viewers to step out, build, and create.

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