After spending many years as a professional networker, Marlene has more than earned the title “Queen of Networking” in Durham Region.
“I didn’t set out to be a professional networker, but the more involved I got, the more I realized I had found my calling. I am a connector of people and a creator of opportunities. Helping build business and business people is what inspires me.”
Before creating Heart of Networking, Marlene was the Executive Director of a National networking group, Power of Women Exchange. Additionally she successfully ran a Direct Sales fashion business for more than two decades, working with a large team of Independent Consultants.
Helping women grow their businesses is something that Marlene does with grace and style. For Marlene, it has always been about connection.
“My passion for connecting people began early on in my career. Having been involved in direct sales for many years, I understand the power of connections, but it goes deeper than that. In my role, with Heart of Networking, I want people to use their connections to create future win/win opportunities.”
A natural mentor and teacher, Marlene is known not only for her outstanding business and networking skills but as a speaker, an organizer, a kind soul and someone who actively supports other entrepreneurs. She has always had a soft spot for those that appear to be struggling with building relationships. When she sees a business owner who is a little reserved, perhaps hesitant to speak up or ask questions, she goes out of her way to support them.
“It’s always gratifying when those same people I have supported then step into their power and build the confidence to flourish in their business. I certainly don’t take full credit, but I like to think in some small way, I had a hand in their growth.”
Marlene has always believed in remaining open to exploring every opportunity that comes your way. To some people’s standards, she might be a risk taker, but
she considers the more significant risk is to ignore an opportunity without fully understanding it. Marlene also believes the only true “job security” is what you create for yourself.
“As an entrepreneur, if something doesn’t work out, you take the skills you have learned, pivot, and create the next chapter!”
Always an active volunteer, Marlene joined the committee of 100 Women Who Care-Ajax Pickering Whitby in 2015. Since then, the group has raised over $100,000 for various charities within the Durham Region.
In April of each year, Heart of Networking hosts an event focused on volunteerism and the charities they support. Local charities are invited to showcase their organization and share how entrepreneurs can get involved.
Marlene is also an active member of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade. She was honoured to win Business Person of the year 2018/19. Being recognized in such a profound way is something she will always humbly and gratefully remember, particularly since her business ventures aren’t what some might consider a traditional business model.
She is a past board member of CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Professionals), volunteers yearly for the Parkinson’s Super Walk.
Marlene sums up her life work this way…
“I help women to Style, Sparkle and Connect”! As a Nygard Style Direct-Independent Stylist, Marlene loves to work with women to help them Style their best looks – whether their challenge is fit, fashion or budget! Always looking to up the style quotient, Marlene has added Plunder Design to her portfolio…adding the Sparkle with vintage inspired jewelry.
Marlene continues to Connect entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals through live, high-energy monthly luncheon events, robust online memberships and workshop training to solidly support both of these. There is a real buzz of excitement around the future of Heart of Networking.
“Over the years we have refined many aspects of Heart of Networking Events and we will continue to refine, based on the members’ needs. That growth and fresh energy keeps women coming back and has ensured the long term success of this group.”