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In an interview with SBJ Editor Eric Olson, left, Daniel Ogunyemi says networking should be more emotional than transactional.
SBJ photo by Christine Temple
In an interview with SBJ Editor Eric Olson, left, Daniel Ogunyemi says networking should be more emotional than transactional.

New Burrell hire: Networking should be less 'transactional'

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A self-described extrovert, Daniel Ogunyemi has become known in the Springfield area for his networking skills.

Ogunyemi last month was hired by Burrell Behavioral Health as its learning, development and inclusion partner after nearly two years a volunteer coordinator for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri. This morning, he shared some networking tips while speaking as this month’s guest of Springfield Business Journal's 12 People You Need to Know live interview series. The interview with SBJ Editorial Director Eric Olson was livestreamed via Facebook.

Ogunyemi, 24, said his biggest tip when it comes to networking is to get to know people.

"I want to hear your story first before we talk about any recruitment or anything; I want to hear who you are, where you come from, what you like to do, what you're passionate about, what your hobbies are. How often do we talk about that with people?" Ogunyemi said. "Most of the time, it's can I sell you this, can I do this or can you do this for me?

"That's kind of a sucky way to live when everything is so transactional."

Further, Ogunyemi recommends networking participants purposefully meet new people at events, rather than stick with their friend circles. In this way, he said a person can build "social capital" that can be useful in the long term.

That social capital came into play for Ogunyemi this year, when he sought new employment after his wife was laid off and his child's day care closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I knew I probably had to find something else, unfortunately," he said, noting he maintains a close relationship with the staff at CASA. "I reached out to a connection that I've maintained for the last two years here at Burrell. That was the extent of my job search."

At Burrell, Ogunyemi helps the nonprofit build community relationships, particularly when it comes to diversity and inclusion. He said the job essentially is a human resources role that involves employee training, development and recruitment.

As a young professional working in Springfield since 2015, Ogunyemi also weighed in on how the city can attract and retain a more diverse workforce.

It starts by working to eliminate divisions among the existing population, he said.

"This north side, south side nonsense has to stop," he said. "We have to recognize first of all that diversity is all of us. We are all diverse because we're in different skin.

"Figure it out. It's not that big of a deal. It's relationship building."

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