The Secret Sauce of Networking and Building Lasting Connections – EP 11


Networking is the most powerful tool to open the door to your next career opportunity.  Today’s guest shares the secret sauce of making connections and building lasting connections.


Deidre McVay-Schulmeister was the Development and Membership Associate for the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, NM. She operated the museum’s entire membership program, from exclusive event planning to member experience services and record keeping. She also assisted with fundraising initiatives for the museum that support its STEM educational programming, historic aircraft and missile restoration projects, exhibitions, and COVID-19 relief, including managing the entire operations of the museum’s annual silent auction, The Einstein Gala. Deidre graduated from Heidelberg University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honors in Political Science with minors in Legal and International Studies. In 2017, she graduated from the University of Dayton with a master’s degree with honors in Public Administration. She has served on the Boards of Directors for two organizations: the Young Professionals of Albuquerque as their secretary and the Kirtland Spouses Club as their parliamentarian. The museum, as well as these organizations helped her grow her professional network both within Albuquerque and Brevard County. Now, she serves as the co-founder and chair of her gender neutral society’s, the Euglossian Society, alumni council, as well as one of the Euglossian Society Alumni Representatives for the Alumni Greek Leadership Council of Heidelberg University. Finally, she is currently a member of the Board of Trustees, as well as the Community Outreach Liaison, for the US Air Force Space & Missile Museum Foundation in Cape Canaveral, and represents them in the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce in their Military Affairs Council. She was currently seeking employment within Brevard County, however, her professional networks have led her to find a Local Workforce Development Board that helps all persons, including military spouses, find employment in Brevard County, called CareerSource Brevard. She worked with them to train for interviews and find open positions within her niche career field interests of nonprofit organization development/advocacy and governmental affairs/policy, and as time progressed, a position within their own organization became available and was referred by her career counselor. As of the end of April, she is now hired for that position, and serves as a Program & Planning Officer, and is grateful for not only the support and kindness her professional network has given her, but also the welcoming support her new team at CareerSource Brevard has provided her!

Things we discussed in this episode:

  • How to leverage networking when switching careers
  • The importance of building long lasting connections
  • Strategic networking versus casual networking
  • Steps to take after making the initial connection
  • Why following up with your connections is important
  • Why you should be transparent outside of the military community
  • The secret sauce of networking
  • How to end the conversation leading to the next engagement


Meet Laura:

Laura Briggs is empowering the freelance generation. Through her public speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps freelancers build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all their time, family, or sanity. Laura burned out as an inner-city middle school teacher before becoming an accidental freelancer with a Google search for “how to become a freelance writer.” Since then, she’s become a contributor to Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Writer’s Weekly. She worked for more than 300 clients around the world including Microsoft, Truecar, and the Mobile Marketing Association. She’s delivered two TEDx talks on the power of the freelance economy for enabling freedom and flexibility and how it’s being used to address the technical skills gap in the U.S. Laura is the host of the Advanced Freelancing podcast, a sought-after public speaker on the gig and digital freelance economy, and a freelance coach focused on aspiring six-figure freelancers. Laura’s books, courses, and coaching have reached over 11,000 people.

As a military spouse, Laura is passionate about serving her community and founded Operation Freelance, a nonprofit organization that teaches veterans and military spouses how to become freelancers and start their own business.


Connect with Laura:


Operation Freelance