Jeni Smith is a networking strategist and founder of Networking KnowWho. During the lockdown period, her brand new networking business flourished as organisations pivoted to stay in touch virtually.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU >>
Networking Strategist and Founder of Networking KnoWho
Where is home?
Three reasons you love where you live?
The history, the countryside and the people.
THE DAY JOB >>
What do you do for a living?
I teach networking skills and create networking strategies. Having launched my business during lockdown, it’s been an interesting time to say the least, but I’m pleased to say it’s been a really positive one, too.
I get to work with lots of amazing people and help them on their own journey to success by improving their networking skills, relationships, techniques and get them to think strategically about their professional networking activities.
I could talk about networking all day so I’d better leave that one there!
A day in the life of you?
I’m usually up early to get ready for the day while my husband takes care of our 10-month-old. We swap at 7am so he can get ready, then I retreat to my office in the loft where I spend the rest of the morning working.
Work usually consists of writing, delivering, training, Zoom calls, filming/editing – and lots of coffee.
After lunch I get to spend time with Juno, my daughter. Playing games, watching the Wiggles, taking lots of walks with audiobooks, and generally trying to entertain her whilst simultaneously keeping her alive.
Before I know it, it’s dinner then bed time for Juno, followed by some more work if needed and/or ice-cream and some mind-numbing TV.
Any upcoming or ongoing projects we should know about?
One of the interesting diversifications that’s come out of lockdown for me has been the exploration of pre-recorded networking training.
I’ve recently launched my first online learning course; ‘Remote Business Networking: how to build professional relationships from home’, via the international learning platform, Udemy.
It’s a really exciting way of sharing knowledge and it opens up a whole new world of learners, so I’m really excited to see where that goes.
What does downtime mean to you?
Silence. Taking a nap. Those are absolute luxuries at the moment, so are always greatly appreciated.
LESSONS IN LIFE >>
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Everything! An astronaut, a ballerina, a singer, a doctor… I wanted to try it all, and I guess I still feel that way now.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
It’s not a rehearsal. You don’t get to do it next time – there is no next time, so do everything you possibly can in the time you have.
What is your greatest fear?
Which living person do you most admire and why?
It has to be Jacinda Arden. She’s the epitome of what a leader should be: strong, empathetic and above all, she listens. She banned plastic bags in New Zealand because so many children wrote to her worried about the impact on the environment.
Following the Christchurch massacre, not only did she show compassion and love, she showed strength and took action by making most semi-automatic weapons illegal within a month. And how she responded to COVID-19 I believe will go down in history as one of the most outstanding acts of leadership a country has ever seen.
LUXE LIVING >>
What is top of your bucket list?
Getting my PhD. I’d love to do my professional doctorate.
What is your most treasured possession?
My blankets. Yes, I still have my comfort blankets from when I was a child, and no I’m not sorry. I love them.
What does the weekend mean to you?
Family time, adventures and visits to a National Trust site with coffee and scones.
A memorable holiday?
Me and my husband went to Bali on our honeymoon, although it was almost two years after we got married (life got in the way), and it was just the most amazing adventure.
Dave hadn’t done the ‘traveling thing’ before, whereas I’d lived in Fiji when I was 18 with nuns and back-packed my way home.
We only booked our flights and a place to stay the first few nights, then just figured the rest out once we arrived. It was so much fun to have that freedom to explore a new country in that way, moving from place to place for three weeks was brilliant, and a holiday I’ll never forget.
Has to be my wedding dress. A Ronald Joyce lace gown with open back and pearl detail. Amazing!
Who would be your top three dinner guests?
Leonardo Da Vinci, my Dad, and Jesus.
The last place you ate?
We were lucky enough to spend the week pre-lockdown at Centre Parcs in Nottingham, so the last place we ate out was the Pancake House there.
Since then it’s been the kitchen table, breakfast bar or in front of the TV with a takeaway.
The last book you read?
I’m currently reading ‘Surrounded by Idiots’, which is about communication and personality styles. Before that it was ‘12
Rules for Life’ – a brilliant mixture of philosophy, religion and humour that I’d highly recommend.
The last sounds/music/podcast you listened to?
Apart from having the radio on in the kitchen (I’m a Smooth FM kinda gal) and listening to audiobooks, my current musical repertoire consists of cartoon theme tunes and the Wiggles.
The last series/TV show/ movie you watched?
I’ve loved Normal People, Hollywood and Killing Eve.
Three luxe things in life?
Adventures, restaurants and CHANEL.