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Life and Work with Veronica Mackey

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Veronica Mackey, Founder of Konnectory and Perfect Pitch LA. So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

How did you begin?

My entry into the fascinating world of business began as a representative for the Wilshire Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. I loved my job! Nothing thrilled me more than seeing entrepreneurs turn their dreams into successful enterprises.

But when the recession hit, I watched helplessly as business owners in the area closed their doors. Their dreams and life savings were gone. It broke my heart.

I thought of all the entrepreneurs who could have supported each other — if only they knew where to look. Maybe my friend who owned the travel agency might have survived with a few key referrals from the embassy official I’d recently met.

Years later, while watching “Shark Tank”. I decided to create my own pitch competition to help startup entrepreneurs find advisors, lenders, and investors.

I created Perfect Pitch, an open pitch competition where entrepreneurs compete for cash prizes while gaining access to experts who can provide funding and steer them in the right direction.

The positive energy, thank-you notes, and amazing networking that happens at Perfect Pitch events let me know I was onto something!

Has it been a smooth ride?

Everything looks so easy when you’re young and enthusiastic. So, it’s important to get going as soon as you can because you don’t want to lose momentum. Don’t wait for the time to be perfect because there is no such thing. Find a way to keep your dream going even if you can’t leave your job right now. Whatever you’re able to do to move your dream further will sustain you during difficult times.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Perfect Pitch – tell our readers more about your journey. What you’re most proud of as a company, and what sets you apart from others?

In addition to Perfect Pitch, I'm the CEO of Konnectory, a business-to-business matchmaking firm. I specialize in connecting entrepreneurs to their ideal audience through networking.

Konnectory went through a lot of evolution before becoming the organization that it is today. At first, I thought I would publish a newsletter that businesses could use to find opportunities. Then, I had a vision of it becoming a networking organization. Then, I just stopped pursuing it all together. As a young entrepreneur, I became disillusioned because of the lack of support I received from other entrepreneurs. Everyone loved it, but there was no willingness to help. I had created this larger-than-life vision, but there were no legs to carry it out.

I didn't really have a blueprint because I didn't know anyone who was actually making money connecting people in the way that I wanted to. The road to becoming a trailblazer is not a straight path. There are false starts and unexpected roadblocks. And, you never know how long it will take. This is part of the process.

Today, Konnectory creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect directly with their target audience through pre-qualified leads, referrals, and introductions.

We're very intentional about networking. When people register for our events, they are pre-matched to other guests in whom they have the most in common. Entrepreneurs are personally introduced to each at the live events by our connectors. We think this approach is far superior than traditional networking.

One of the things I’m most proud of was a connection I made between the distributor of a filtered water bottle company and a nonprofit that raises funds to build water wells in third-world countries. Through this introduction, thousands of dollars were raised, and wells were built in Africa.

What sets Konnectory apart?

What sets Konnectory apart is our approach to marketing. We believe face-to-face meetings are still the best way to do business. It builds credibility and connects people in a way that the Internet just cannot do. Of course, we use technology, but as a connecting tool, and not as a substitute for building relationships.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?

Focus on the “who.” Find out who is going to be at the networking event. Get a list if possible, and try and plan who to talk to before you arrive.

Time is precious and you need to be strategic. Also, don’t try and “sell” anything the first time you meet because that can be a real turnoff. They don’t know you, so they’re not necessarily interested in hearing a sales pitch. Networking is the starting point. From there, you follow up and begin to develop your relationship. Think of how you might be able to help them first.

Mentors can be anyone — a friend, teacher, pastor, or your boss. Or it may be someone you don’t know. I have lots of different mentors that I have never met. Most have come from YouTube. When I want to learn something or have a problem, I just watch videos until I find someone who resonates with me. Sometimes, I buy their book or attend a conference. It depends on how much (knowledge) is needed to satisfy my situation.

I recently joined It’s a free website that helps you find mentors.

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