I Wan’na Be Like You

I Wan’na Be Like You

November 20, 2017

Introduction from Alana:

I’m thrilled to welcome back to CLC my dear friend, Karen Stakem Hornig, whose piece from last November, “Relo Action Plan,” was a huge hit!  Karen was appointed Executive Director of the National Insurance Producers Registry (NIPR) in 2014 by the NAIC Board of Directors.  She served as Deputy Insurance Commissioner for the State of Maryland beginning in 2008, where she assisted in the development of the agency’s legislative package, managed the operations of the Maryland Insurance Administration, and oversaw the producer licensing area and the implementation of State Based Systems (SBS) in Maryland. She was also an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law and served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Baltimore Police Department. Hornig received her B.A. in History from the Notre Dame University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law.

In addition to all her accolades, she is also a wonderful friend with enormously helpful insights about business and life in general.  I’m delighted she continues to share her gifts with the CLC Community.  With that, I give you Karen Stakem Hornig.


The Monkey Song” from The Jungle Book.  Guest Post from Karen Stakem Hornig.

When my sons were children, Disney’s movie The Jungle Book was a favorite.  The sound track is hard-coded on my memory including the jazzy track I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song).  The song expresses the desire of Louie, the monkey king, to be human like young Mogli.

When it comes to networking, I wa’na be like my 28-year old son, Joseph, who has remarkable networking skills.  He’s agreed to let me share his story and networking strategies.

After graduating from American University in Washington, D.C., Joseph worked in marketing and communications for a small trade association.  It was a great experience, but after 3 ½ years he saw little growth potential. He was open to moving and focused on Southern California after a visit in February of 2015.  “We were having a brutal D.C. winter and I had a long commute on public transportation.  LA was like paradise.”

Joseph first set up telephone interviews with connections of family and friends to get a better sense of Southern California.  He concluded it was a good fit and then used his university network.  Starting with AU’s career center, he set up an appointment to ask for resources and advice.  An important resource was LinkedIn alumni groups to identify alums in positions or industries in which he was interested.

“Use LinkedIn for research, but use your alumni directory contact information for reaching out.  It’s free and people are more likely to check the email listed on their alumni profile than LinkedIn.”

From March through June, while researching and applying for jobs, Joseph contacted AU alums working in both DC and LA.  He asked for advice, not a job, and for an informational interview.  “I explained I was figuring out my next steps and needed a sense of the job market.”

Joseph got a great response.  “People are very generous and willing to help.  Many said that someone had helped them early in their careers.  There was a sense that people were paying it forward.”  The results were tangible.  “One person invited me to join a job board he manually curated for nonprofit openings.”

Researching open positions was key because he “started seeing patterns or lanes of opportunities.  It became clear that higher education had a lot of openings for my skill set.”  So, he signed up for a higher education job list serve, which was very valuable.

Next, Joseph visited California and lined up five days of interviews, clustered by geography.  He targeted two groups: older, established professionals; and his peers who could help him with a social network and housing leads.  “I wanted to come to California with a team of supporters in place.”

During that week, he interviewed for and was offered a position in higher education. Less than six months from when he began, Joseph had secured a new job and was living in Southern California.  Because he simultaneously researched, networked, and applied, “when the job offer was made, I was prepared to accept it.”