Networking, especially in a recovering job market, can be difficult for many people. There are articles, books and videos dedicated to teach people to network but once you have the tips, the next obstacle is implementing them.
That is why Aleeia Abraham, a music producer and paralegal, along with others, organized the entertainment and networking event called “How to Conquer Yourself,” to motivate and inspire neighborhood residents.
“Every person has value,” Dunstan Abraham, the event’s host, said. “It does not matter what your professional status or your education is because you may have friends in high places and then you may start off from humbling beginnings but you may rise to the status of CEO. Do not underestimate the value of networking even if they say they sweep the floor. Five years from now they may be in a position far removed from where they started so every person has value.”
The event, held on July 28, started on the Afrikan Poetry Theatre stage with musical performances. Musicians included Ishmael Levi, who sang Bob Marley covers, and Khalilah Rose, an artist who specializes in redemption music — a popular genre in countries throughout Africa and the Caribbean.
“This event is all about uplifting, not just black people but all people,” Rose said. “These songs will hopefully inspire and uplift you to a better place.”
The Afrikan Poetry Theatre, located at 176-03 Jamaica Ave. in Jamaica, has been a staple of the community for decades. Programs offered there include a youth group and planned trips to Africa — in October, a group will travel to Ghana.
“The opportunity in Africa is enormous,” the theater’s cofounder and Executive Director John Watusi Branch said, urging young attendees to think outside of the box when it comes to achieving their dreams. “There are so many opportunities if you have the skills. There’s a glass ceiling here and it’s hard to get above that but in Africa you can hit the ground running.
Special guests also included Annmarie Ahoussi of the Ivory Coast Community Organization, Executive Director Geetha Morris of the Yonkers Community Health Center, Associate Director Harriott Myers of the Women, Infants and Children Program at Harlem Hospital Center, Roy Paul, a political commentator and analyst — who will moderate the upcoming mayoral debate at York College on Aug. 7 — and featured speaker Bryan Ogilvie.
Ogilvie, a native Queens resident, recently published a book whose name inspired the networking event, “How to Conquer Yourself: Discipline & Willpower for the Conscious, Creative Thinker.”
“One of the most important things to remember is the value of developing your contacts,” Dunstan said in closing. “Do not assume because you met someone, shook their hand and took their card that you have a contact. It is like with any relationship. It needs to be nourished, cultivated, and hopefully, over the years, it will bear some fruit. It is a balanced relationship. Networking is valuable but you have to contribute and not just take from people.”