Beverly Johnson's 5 Real Life Networking Tips

By Jasmine Browley

“You have to know what you want--touch it--speak to it and before you know it, you have it.”

On Tuesday, my life was changed. Or at least I think it was. Cameka Smith, founder of The Boss Network, an online membership group for professional women, held its 5th year celebration. The  event hosted a  panel of bosses, Amy Hilliard, Erika Summers, Doris Boulrece and Teneya Gholston with supermodel  Beverly Johnson as the guest of honor.

I managed to wipe enough drool from my jaw and have a conversation with the trailblazer about journey from model to mogul. Here's a few of the gems she dropped on me.

1. Always have an endgame in mind.

As we all know, Beverly said that a career in modeling is usually a short lived one, a fact that she realized at the young age of 21. “I was on magazine covers thinking to myself, I have to find a way out of this--I have to be able to take care of myself when they don’t want me anymore,” she said.  She decided that she would turn her name into a brand and she branched out to other business ventures, including her latest, hair extensions.

2. Own it.

Before launching her latest line of hair extensions and pieces, Beverly said she was under contract with a company that required her to exclude Black-owned stores.

“I couldn’t even, in good faith, be the face of the brand anymore because I was not ALLOWED to sell to my fellow business owners,” she said. “So I stepped out on faith and did it my own way.”

3.  Be the dumbest person on your team.

Ok maybe she didn’t use those semantics, but you get the point. Surround yourself with experts in their prospective fields.  “It is so much easier to focus on what you want to accomplish when everyone around you really knows what they’re doing,’’ Beverly said.

4. Keep your day job.

“One day I was a student, the very next I was model--just like that,” Beverly said, “but I knew that I needed to support myself if the modeling thing didn’t work out--I’m STILL like that.” If your dream has not come to fruition, it is okay to still fund it with the day job in the meantime. If you step out on faith, be sure that you have a plan, or be prepared to have some challenges.

5. Embrace your past.

Beverly mentioned that she is in midst  of releasing a memoir with Simon and Schuster, revealing  some of the most pivotal moments in her life.

“While writing my book, I remembered things that I forgot happened,” she said. When speaking about the romantic chapter in the memoir, she joked “I kept asking myself, ‘dang girl, you did him too?’” She spoke on the fact that although there were some questionable moments, she wouldn’t trade them.

“In order to be who you want to be, you have to love who you have been.”
Writer, editor, lover of music and nappy hair, entertainment journalist Jasmine Browley has two blogs (JasminesJournals.com and TheRnBBlog.com), dozens of freelance contributions {including Uptown Magazine}, and is known to keep her ear to the ground, and her pen to paper. Follow Jasmine on Twitter: @JazBrow

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