Overcoming networking challenges in entrepreneurship — Lorraine Marchand

3 min readMar 26, 2024
Photo by freepik

As we navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship, the importance of a robust network cannot be overstated. In a recent panel with Renu Vitale and Gretchen Meyer (see video below), we explored effective strategies for building and utilizing networks to overcome hurdles. Both panelists brought to the table a wealth of experience, with Renu’s expertise in executive coaching and Gretchen’s innovative approach to financial consulting. Our conversation highlighted the Columbia Business School’s Women’s Circle’s commitment to fostering a supportive community and advancing women’s leadership across all stages of their careers. It’s an initiative that encourages women to build meaningful connections, share resources, and support one another in the business arena.

Gretchen Meyer’s approach to building a client base through genuine connections resonated with the fundamental ethos of networking: the power of authenticity. Her journey from nurturing a single client to fostering a nationwide clientele speaks volumes of the organic growth that stems from true engagement and trust-building in professional relationships. It’s not about the number of connections but the strength and depth of each that fortifies an entrepreneur’s network.

Renu Vitale’s take on the psychology behind networking emphasized the importance of self-recognition. Acknowledging one’s value is not just about self-affirmation — it’s a strategic element in networking that changes the dynamics from seeking to offering, from asking to sharing. When entrepreneurs perceive themselves as assets, their networking transforms into an exchange of value, positioning them as contributors rather than petitioners.

I believe that networking, at its core, is about fostering reciprocal and enduring relationships. The Women’s Circle continues to be a testament to the power of shared growth and support. It’s an initiative that not only encourages networking but also ensures that the ties within the network are intertwined with encouragement and mutual progress.

The discussion was a reminder of the integral principles of networking in entrepreneurship. Leading with the intent to assist, cultivating authentic connections, and recognizing the intrinsic worth of one’s offerings are not just strategies but are the very tenets of a thriving professional network.

These insights embolden women to build meaningful connections that champion collective success. In harnessing the shared knowledge from Vitale and Meyer, and reflecting on it within the framework of the Women’s Circle, the session was a reinforcing narrative that networking has the potential for innovation and the impetus for entrepreneurial ventures. It’s a reminder that our networks are as resilient as the trust and value we invest in them. This is how we don’t just build businesses but also fortify the very pillars of support that underpin successful entrepreneurship.

Connect with Lorraine on LinkedIn.




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