raven norris: the networking connoisseur

Can you please provide a brief background of Women Who Work?
Women Who Work is a women’s empowerment and networking movement for current and aspiring career working professionals to connect, gather and share knowledge with an evening of networking. We host 3-4 events a year. It was founded September 13, 2014 by me, and we are focused on inspiring others through our actions and integrity. We recognize that a vision and a dream require nurturing and mentoring in order to blossom. Supporting these professionals, no matter what stage their vision is in, proves to be the key in rebuilding a strong community, as well as sustaining a growing economy,

(For more information please like the Women Who Work page on Facebook or follow us on Instagram @womenwhoworkaug!)

When did you realize your talent, and your passion, for PR and marketing? Is this an industry that you always wanted to go into?
I initially wanted to be in the medical field but I found my passion while volunteering for a friend. I was asked to help market an organization on the Ga. State campus and surrounding AUC campuses in Atlanta, Ga. The program was a huge success and I loved being able to see the results that I produced for someone else.

What advice do you have for women looking to get into this field?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Because in the end failure really isn’t failing, it is a learning experience within itself. There’s a constant learning curve in the PR/Marketing industry because no consumer/public is the same nor are the different industries that one may enter. Continue educating yourself and remain current on industry trends. I suggest subscribing to Lynda.com, attending seminars and building your network on LinkedIn.

You’re also the networking connoisseur, and just the word “networking” can freeze people up. What advice can you give to those who are struggling with networking as a skill, or can’t seem to grasp the concept?
If you’re nervous about networking start with the network you already have. Grab a coffee with an old classmate or past coworker. Catch up on what they are doing now, how they got there and advice on what they think you should do next. Be honest about what you’ want when speaking to people that you admire. Whether you are looking for sponsors, a job or a mentor be specific in your wants so that there is no time wasted. Prepare a detailed “elevator pitch” with specifics about what you do or want to do in laments terms. But most of all listen more than you speak.

Can you tell us a little bit more about Khloe?
AHHHHH the love of my life. My motivation is what I call her. I have a soon to be three year old (Jan.3) daughter who is simply my mini me. She walks, talks and laughs just like me. I definitely want her to become a woman of her own but for now I will take her wanting to be my shadow.

How do you balance (if that word even applies) being both a mother and a professional? You’ve found a way to excel in both of these areas, so do you have any tips for other women out there who don’t think that it is possible?
No such thing as balance lol 🙂 You do what you can and execute those things flawlessly. Some things will fall to the back burner so you have to be good at prioritizing but as long you put your all into whatever you’re doing you’ll be fine.

If applicable- what techniques do you incorporate while working with men in high positions? How do you make your voice heard?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Whatever you’re presenting or whatever the topic of the meeting is go in prepared. Do your research and grasp your own opinion about the matter and be able to back your opinion with numbers and/or statistics. You always want to leave that wow factor with men. Stand your ground, be open to what others have to say and be you. No one thinks exactly the same but as long as you’re able to properly explain your reasoning behind your thoughts you’ll be fine.

What professional advice do you have for women in the workforce, or what common errors do you see?
Most women don’t ask for what they want. Yes, this is cliche but it still holds true today. In order to get where you want to be you have to ask for what you want. No, is not the worse phrase in the world. I believe that “what if” is. You never know unless you try. Go after EXACTLY what you want until you get it, because if you’re willing to work for it then you deserve it.

In your opinion, is there a glass ceiling?
Yes and no. There are glass ceilings set but there is always someone that can break that barrier. If you’re knocking and that ceiling doesn’t collapse then that’s not the place for you. Women and minorities can go as far as they want to go but it definitely takes perseverance.

Where does Raven want to be 5 years, 10 years down the line?
5 years from now I would like to be working with a professional sports league to gain experience in that industry. 10 years from now I would like to open my own PR/Marketing firm.

Do you have a personal mantra or inspiration that gets you through the tougher times?
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build the door.

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