Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts hosts event
“Xtreme Networking,” a regional networking event, was held last Friday at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. The event served as a networking conference for business owners, professionals, community leaders and nonprofits within Western North Carolina and North Georgia and offered them the opportunity to come together for the all-day event.
Karen Wiley, an Ellijay resident, attended the event to gain insight into networking as a future entrepreneur. After retiring from the Air Force after 21 years, Wiley decided to settle in Macon County and has been contemplating starting up a cycling business to fulfill her naturalist ambitions. According to Wiley, networking events like Xtreme Networking are so important for her because she is still trying to figure out what she wants to do. “I am still thinking about different options and what it is exactly that I want to do. I want to began building contacts and networking events are a great way to do that.”
In between open networking the keynote speaker, Dale Stewart gave a presentation on “Adaptive Leadership in Times of Change.” Stewart, best-selling author of “On Your Own: A Family’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness,” shared insight into his newest book “Rings of Survivability” which being published by McGraw Hill and is planned to be released in October. According to Stewart, Mc- Graw Hill is expecting "Rings of Survivability" to be the most printed and distributed business book printed in the last two years. Stewart has been doing networking events since 1985 and has visited 101 countries for events ranging from military seminars to corporate risk assessments. When Stewart isn't traveling for work, he and his wife call Asheville home. Although he began his professional career as a physicist, Stewart believes that it is the theoretical and research-based aspects of the theory of chaos and pattern recognition that he learned as a physicist that allows him to be successful in teaching adaptive leadership methods.
Stewart shared his methods of not simply mastering “how to manage change” but rather “how to lead adaptive change.” His presentation discussed how leaders of all kinds can be more innovative, effective and successful in today’s global marketplace. The premise of Stewart's speech, and his outlook on his own life, the importance of being able to adapt to the changing business environment of today's society. “Leadership in today's business environment is different than it used to be,” remarked Stewart. He attributes the success of what he teaches to his innovative methodology. “I teach people how to think rather than what to think, which is different than any other seminar that tries to tell you what do and how to do it,” said Stewart.
Following the keynote, the attendees moved to the Boiler Room Steakhouse for lunch and two 50- minute breakout sessions of their choice. Breakout session topics included: “Mastering Lead Generation,” taught by Emily Breedlove of the Black Rock company; “Networking for Good (non-profits, charities and campaigns),” taught by Mike Jackson of the 'Macon' Sense Campaign; "Your Networking Toolkit,” taught by Krista Lyons of Pride Promotions; “Building a Network through SEO taught by James Pader of WinterSun Websites, “Social Media Networking,” taught by Mary Anne Baker of Innsights.com; and “Networking to Monetize your Vision,” taught by Speaker Mandy Wildman.
To round out the intense day of networking and training, the event concluded at Rana Rinata Restaurant for an evening social to give attendees the opportunity to further their connections in a more relaxed setting.