How to Network Like a Boss

Photography provided by NEW Cincinnati


This year, the Network of Executive Women (NEW) Cincinnati celebrates ten years of successful leadership and diversity development in our region. 


NEW is an organization that helps thousands of professionals (both men and women) learn leadership and diversity skills and build connections to advance careers and transform the workplace. NEW Cincinnati was founded in 2008 by executives from Procter & Gamble and The Kroger Co. who recognized the need to advance diversity within the industry. 


For the last ten years, NEW Cincinnati has helped bridge the gap between professionals of different genders, races, ethnicities, skills and companies by providing professional development opportunities. Through events that range from large biannual learning and networking events with nationally renowned speakers to small mixers and group events, women and men in Cincinnati network, develop relationships and learn valuable skills that they can implement in their daily work and personal lives. One statistic that shows the group’s dedication is the fact that more than 80 college graduates have found placement in full time positions through mentoring provided by NEW Cincinnati leaders. 


Embarking on a NEW Mission


In addition to personal growth, today NEW Cincinnati is on a new mission to advance women, grow businesses and transform the industry’s workplace through the power of community. Particularly, there is a drive to build a more flexible, collaborative, inclusive and authentic workplace. 


In the spirit of a virtual networking event, we reached out to four key leaders of the organization to learn why they find value in NEW Cincinnati and a personal networking tip. Check out their insights:

Jill McIntosh, Vice President of Merchandising, Natural Foods at The Kroger Co. 


Jill McIntosh became involved with NEW Cincinnati because she wanted to make a difference in the development of diverse talent for the industry. “NEW Cincinnati provides a network of support, development, friendship and growth opportunities,” said McIntosh. “We’ve made progress developing diverse talent in our industry but have a long way to go. I like that NEW Cincinnati can be a lever to help accelerate that advancement.”


NETWORKING TIP: “Don’t underestimate the power of this Network (NEW Cincinnati) and what it can do for you personally and professionally, no matter where you are in your career.”



Dawn Shirley, Vice President Communications & Media, 84.51° and her daughter Sydney.


A NEW Cincinnati member and volunteer for many years, Dawn Shirley leads content strategy and is inspired to bring dynamic, leadership-focused speakers to the region. “Over the past 10 years, more than 10,000 professionals have attended our events and given us positive feedback on our content, speakers and networking activities,” said Shirley. “Our survey results validate the relevant and inspirational nature of our speakers and events. One recent event nearly topped 1,000 attendees.”


NETWORKING TIP: “Make the time to help coach and mentor others. By sharing your passions and creativity with both your peers and our future leaders, you can impact lives. It’s up to us to help influence strong foundations and help fuel growth in others.”



Kourtney McLean, Digital Sales Director, Valassis


Kourtney McLean joined NEW Cincinnati after relocating to the region in 2010. She appreciates learning leadership lessons from the world-class speakers like Condoleezza Rice, Indra Nooyi and Geena Davis and at more intimate events. “Small group learning events are a tremendous benefit,” said McLean. “Recently, Life Design Coach Cherylanne Skolnicki challenged us to consider that if you can dream it and plan it, you can do it. One member took that to heart, accelerated her career and helped found a political movement called the Centrist Project. That’s game changing.”


NETWORKING TIP: “Step out of your comfort zone. If you see someone standing alone, walk up, introduce yourself and get to know a little bit about them. Someday it could be you at an event for the first time alone.”



Lisa Vannis, Audit Partner, Deloitte


An appreciation for the diversity of the members, from life or career stage to the variety of companies represented in NEW Cincinnati motivates Lisa Vannis. “I’m energized by the passion and dedication I see in other members,” said Vannis. “My personal and professional growth over the past two years has been significantly impacted by the relationships and friendships I’ve made because NEW Cincinnati provided the opportunity for us to connect.”


NETWORKING TIP: “Show up early to networking events. This allows you to meet and have a meaningful discussion one-on-one before other attendees arrive. Also, remember to reconnect with people in your network whom you have not seen in a while. Not only can you catch up, but listen to see how you can help them. A network should provide mutual benefit. It’s about helping each other.” 


For more information about NEW Cincinnati, visit, email NEWCincinnati@newonline. org or visit