The problem of finding a way to get over 1,000 quilts delivered to Japan was presented to me yesterday. The solution wasn't through "connections," "friends," followers," the solution came from my very first networking group that meets face to face around an oval table once a month. This group holds my networking heart because they always say, "yes we can" as a group and think outside the box many times each day. These are a group of seasoned professionals who are used to finding a solution and creating true relationships.
Our chapter leaders had originally worked through their local contacts. One chapter was in charge of coordinating the delivery, the other took over getting the word out to 5,000 quilters to lend a hand. The quilters came from an old fashioned newsletter list from a quilt shop in Placentia, CA – Calico House Quilting. Once I heard that the delivery effort had stalled, panic set in with the quilters and dissent through the group. I stepped in thinking with all of my social media knowledge this would be easy with Facebook and Twitter. Not the case. People either didn't respond or had vague ideas or wished me well. No solutions there.
Then I thought about my local women business orgs in Oregon, that wasn't it. Then I got smart. The binkies were in Orange County – DUH – my favorite networking group is still South OC PR. I miss it more than any group I've ever moved away from due to the roundtable format. Sure enough, I sent an email out to the group. Within less than an hour I had 10 fantastic ideas and contacts. From there, four were underway. Within 6 hours, I was contacted by the president of Shin Koyamada Foundation, Shoichi Nakagiri. We spoke briefly this morning after the Japanese Consulate referred me to him as someone who could make things happen. He returned my call within 20 minutes and told me he would write at the end of the day. True to his word, he did and said he could get our 1,100 quilts to Japan.
Our group in Vacaville is still trying to pull it together with Fed Ex who has told her they would also ship her 800 quilts to Japan for her pro-bono.
I was speaking to Doug Erber, president of the Japan America Society in Los Angeles earlier. He said that at the moment there is no infrastructure in Japan to distribute these quilts. He was hoping to be able to coordinate something in a few weeks. This may work as our group will continue to make blankets.
We have a few people in our group that had put in motion additional contacts to make this happen. I asked them to lovingly put the brakes on for now and thanked them profusely for jumping into action.
THIS is true social networking – true human networking – human relationships. I am blessed.