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Your network is your net worth
Superconnect story of the week with Priyal Keni
Superconnect story of the week with Priyal Keni
Written by Helené van Tonder
This week I called up Priyal Keni to chat about a great connection she’s made on leap.club. Priyal has an infectious energy, and we ended up speaking about lots more!
Given that I’m a beginner when it comes to networking, it was really inspiring to listen to Priyal. She’s fairly new to networking herself, but she basically went from zero to hero within a couple of months.
Fun fact about Priyal: she’s a professional rifle shooter 🔫, has been on the Indian team for 6 years 🇮🇳 , and is a national record holder 🥇! (Sorry Priyal, that toy gun was the best emoji I could find…)
Below are the transcribed snippets from our conversation.
What do you love about leap.club?
Networking is very important to me, and I’m someone who actively uses LinkedIn. But one of the challenges I face is that LinkedIn is really an ocean. There are too many people. It’s a big struggle to find the right kind of people to connect with.
The idea of a private, close-knit community of women who are all in it for the same reasons really appealed to me.
I have so many things on my plate already, so time means a lot to me. And leap saves me a lot of time and effort! It’s very easy to find the kind of people I’d like to connect with because the app has so many subgroups. I can just pick up my phone, open the app, and within a few clicks I find myself scrolling amazing and relevant profiles.
So far, everyone I’ve interacted with on leap were super approachable. That’s not the kind of experience you get elsewhere. On other platforms, it’s very rare for a message to convert into something solid and long-lasting. But on leap, it’s as if people are proactively there to help you and support you. If you make a post, they get in touch with you. Just yesterday I was looking for volunteers, and people pro-actively added me to the clubhouse focused on social impact.
All these little things add up to a lot. It’s very empowering. It’s a safe environment. You can come out and seek help. As women, that’s often something we lack — we can be very apprehensive to seek help. At leap, the environment makes it so easy to just say “Hi, can someone just help me…” And no one is going to judge you, rather 10 people are going to jump on board to help you. It’s something I really like.
Why is networking important to you?
For a long time, I didn’t understand the importance of networking. But now it’s started to click for me: your network is your net worth. I always thought your work or your education would and should speak for you, and that opportunities would come to you based on that. I believed hard work would get you places. That’s the notion I had until 2020.
But then, in 2020, I was looking to switch jobs. I badly needed it, but nothing was working out for me. So I thought to myself, “Okay fine, I cannot sit hand over hand. It’s not going to come to me on a plate. I’d have to take things into my own hands — be it beg, borrow, steal.” I was committed to doing whatever it takes. I spent 5 years studying for a degree, but I realised that it was my connections that were actually opening the doors for me. So I started talking to more people. That’s how it began.
I put my LinkedIn on steroids. Initially, it was pretty awkward for me; it felt weird. Talking to strangers is something I’ve struggled with since childhood. But now I’m very comfortable. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. I learned this the hard way.
Now I believe that networking is the single most important thing in your career. If you really want to set out on a growth path, you have to invest in relationships. These are the people who are going to push you ahead, open the right doors for you, and connect you with the right people and the right opportunities.
How do you approach networking?
I’ve started keeping a journal for networking. I’m sitting with it right now. I dedicate certain days of the week to networking. On those days, I make sure that I spend 1 hour on networking — checking leap, checking my LinkedIn, following up with people I’ve connected with before, or connect with new people. Every Saturday, I set up at least 3–4 video calls with new people, and Sundays are for catching up with people I’ve already interacted with.
I network very proactively. It’s not something you can do only if you need something. Just think about it from the other person’s perspective: If someone just walks up to you saying “hey, I need this can you help me?”, you’re not going to do it. But if you already know that person for a year, you trust them, and you have some things in common… you’re way more likely to do it.
You’ve made a great connection with Ananya Sachdev. Tell me about it :)
Yes, my very first superconnect on leap was with Ananya Sachdev. I randomly stumbled upon her profile, and I liked that she was a sports enthusiast as well. She’s a state-level basketball player. I did rifle shooting for India. So I reached out to her.
The very next weekend we jumped on a Zoom call, and we spoke for more than an hour. Now we connect on a Zoom call almost every week! We have so much in common — our academic backgrounds are similar, we’re both sports enthusiast, we both have sport-related side-hustles (she hosts a podcast with amazing sportspeople, and I have my own NGO that is sport-based), we’re both crazily entrepreneurial, we know so many people in common, and even when it comes to our plans for the future — we’re both the same age — we think about it in similar ways.
Our conversations are so powerful and dynamic. Just chatting with her cheers me up, and I think “Wow, that is one like-minded, dynamic woman of my age!” Many of my other friends or people of my age are in a let’s-get-married-and-settle-down phase. But that’s not where I’m at. I have so many plans and ambitions, and so does she. We are just on the same frequency, and it’s an incredibly valuable relationship for me.
Our connection was almost completely accidental. We just connected based on sports. I couldn’t have guessed that we’ll hit it off this well! She’s actually based in Japan. I’ve never met her in person, but it doesn’t feel like that at all. It’s quite crazy and wonderful.