In the fall of 2008, Heather Battaglia was a director and vice president at CitiMortgage, in charge of a very successful and profitable division that she saw as recession-proof. Just before the end of the year, as the economy tanked, she was laid off.
Heather thought she would have no trouble finding a new job. She had strong academic credentials and an impressive résumé of corporate experience. But as she began going through her connections, cold calling and doing whatever else she could think of to find her new position, no job materialized. A month went by, then two, then three. Here is how Heather tells it:
I had never been unemployed before; recruiters were always finding me. Now nothing was working.
Eventually I got together with seven other laid-off executives who all belonged to a networking group and created an event for executives who were looking for work.
A couple of people in the group had your book, and they said, “Whatever we do for our event, we need to make sure we are helping others and giving first.” Here we were, all out of work — and our conversation revolved around how we could help others find jobs!”
The newly formed ExecNet of St. Louis adopted a mission statement and a vetting process for new members that included the question, “Are you committed to helping other executives first?”
By the spring of 2009, we had over 150 members in our group — and we were all focused on helping each other first. Many of our group had landed new jobs, others were in final stages of interviews, and others were just getting started. Our group was only three months old and already moving mountains!
Heather and her colleagues were in dire straights — but instead of giving in to recessionary anxiety, they took control of their own state of mind. In focusing their efforts on providing value to others, they created their own booming economy — and it paid off handsomely.
We reprinted this entire exchange in Go-Givers Sell More. A few weeks after the book appeared in the spring of 2010, Heather gave us this update:
We are changing our name to ExecLink, and now have standing-room-only monthly meetings with 500 members, and a regular 130+ executives attend the meeting. Can you believe it has only been a year?!
And here’s the best news: all the original seven founders have landed new jobs and continue to participate in the events.
Thanks, Heather, for the fantastic story for our book — and for the inspiring example!