On October 10, 2016, John Lipinski’s Entrepreneurship Class and the Future Entrepreneurs Club welcomed former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch to campus. Over 200 IUP students and faculty were treated to a lesson on philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and networking presented by Batch.
To prove that networking is effective in the age of social media, Lipinski reached out to Batch via LinkedIn to invite him to campus to meet with his entrepreneurship students. As part of his presentation, Batch demonstrated how LinkedIn is one of his most critical tools in establishing
his professional presence and building his network. By linking key events in his life and demonstrating how he has progressively built his professional career, he delivered a masterful demonstration of how he has built his reputation and credibility over the years—and how one has to page way, way down before one sees anything
about his football career.
In a touching moment, Batch shared how the violent death of his sister inspired him to want to give back to his community, ultimately creating the Best of the Batch Foundation. With his foundation, Batch works to have a positive influence on over 300 children every year. He uses basketball as the vehicle to connect
and influence their lives in a positive direction.
Batch also shared how over the years he took advantage of opportunities to reach out and network when he easily could have been celebrating. After winning the Super Bowl for the first time, rather than just partying and enjoying the moment, he purposefully dedicated 45 minutes to going around the room and
spending a moment personally connecting with each individual. This thoughtfulness planted the seed to a number of future relationships.
We all have opportunities to go outside of our comfort zone and make the extra effort to establish connections. Batch spent some time at the end of his event meeting with the Future Entrepreneurs Club and shared with them one of his secret networking weapons—his
dog. Batch commented that his dog is more popular online than he is. But seriously, by using everyday moments like walking his dog or working out at the gym and taking the extra effort to reach out to people, being a strong networker can become second nature. It
takes very little effort to take out your ear buds and connect with the person next to you.
As a final piece of advice, Batch reached back to some football advice that he often shared with young players: Don’t cut yourself. (When a football player loses their spot on the roster, they are “cut.”) In other words, do the little things that it takes to get ahead. Do
the things that no one can see you doing that will make a difference. The proof will be in your effectiveness.
Batch commented that there are 40 other students sitting in your business class learning the exact same thing as you. There are hundreds of business schools across the country teaching the exact same concepts. Ask yourself, what are you doing to set yourself apart? What are you doing so that you don’t cut
Eberly College of Business and Information Technology