Connecting With Professionals in Philadelphia

Philly PeopleWe are all only one contact away from our greatest success in life. The funny thing is, we don’t know who that is, or where and when we will meet them. In today’s economy, people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care. Who better to turn to when in the market for a new product or service in any industry whether for personal or business, than someone you know and trust, or, someone you know that refers them to someone they know and trust? That’s where networking comes in and it happens every place you go. Whether at a business networking event or a social event, we meet new people all the time, networking is exactly that, connecting and meeting new people and creating new relationships. One key factor is being mindful of where you are and how you have met them. For example, if you are at a business networking event, the main reason people are there is for business and to create new business connections. If you are at a social event, be it a baseball game, concert or party, people are not there for business reasons and not receptive to talking business. That is the very reason why creating the new relationship is the only goal while at events, and is the very heart of professional networking.

Here are some great events this March, where you can connect to professionals in Philadelphia.

Tuesday March 10th, 6pm
Ultimate Networking Logo Square_2Ultimate Networking Party Live Tavern on Broad At The Bellevue!
Join Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware professionals that are ready to connect,
in a cocktail party atmosphere, for an outstanding business networking experience.
Whether you are new to networking or a seasoned pro, our Ultimate Networking Ambassadors
will greet you, find out exactly who you need to meet, then introduce you to them, assuring
your night to be a success. Start connecting now with other attendees through our online
platform with meetup. The Ultimate Networking Party In Philadelphia.

Thursday March 12th 8pm
IMG_1477Jazz It Up Spotlight Live at Volvér
Join the excitement with an evening of live Jazz at Bar Volvér, one of Philadelphia’s most sophisticated venues, owned by Iron Chef Jose Garces. Enjoy an evening of live Jazz entertainment featuring musical director Tim Brey and his trio with guest vocalist Suzanne Sheer and featuring Jazz sensation Najwa Parkins performing live from 8-10pm. Attendees have a chance to win 2 Philly Pops orchestra tickets, dinner at Volvér and more.

Friday March 13th -15th
american_song_bookThe Philly Pops American Songbook Then and Now
Michael Krajewski, conductor, Tony DeSare, vocalist/pianist
Internationally acclaimed touring vocalist, pianist, and composer Tony DeSare provides a fresh
take on old-school classics. The New York Times described DeSare as “two parts Sinatra to one
part Billy Joel, meshed seamlessly.” DeSare joins the Philly POPS in performing classic standards
with his unique contemporary approach, from Frank Sinatra to Jerry Lee Lewis, including Night and
Day, How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved By You), Great Balls of Fire, and more.

Wednesday March 18th

Networking at SIXERS!
At the Wells Fargo Center For an evening of networking and 76ers Basketball!
You do NOT have to be a basketball/sports fan to attend this event!!!
$20 a Person includes an Upper Level End Court Seat to the game.
Network with 40-50 business professionals from 5-7pm in the Cure Auto Club,
then continue to network with your new friends while watching the game.

Monday, March 16th
Reading Terminal Market Brewing the American Dream Speed Coaching
Brewing powerhouse, Samuel Adams makes a stop in Philadelphia. The session will
connect those interested in the food, hospitality, and beverage field.
The workshop will start at 7 p.m., followed by 20-minute information speed
sessions with Sam Adams employees and small-business owners.

Thursday, March 19
Small Business ExpoSmall Business Expo
Decision makers and owners will fill the Pennsylvania Convention Center. During the Small Business Expo. Attendees will be able to build their connection list,
meet new clients, and even brainstorm future career opportunities. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, March 24
ultimate_networking190x70Ultimate Networking Party Live at Doc Magrogan’s West Chester
Tuesday, March 24th, 6pm join local professionals that are ready to connect,
in a cocktail party atmosphere, for an outstanding business networking experience live at Doc Magrogan’s West Chester. Whether you are new to networking or a seasoned pro, our Ultimate Networking Ambassadors will greet you, find out exactly who you need to meet, then introduce you to them, assuring your night to be a success. Start connecting
now with other attendees through our online platform with meetup.
The Ultimate Networking Party In West Chester, Pa.

Thursday March 26th
That MagThat Mag will kick off 2015 with it’s Music Series at Tin Angel
We like to feature some artists that we write about throughout the pages of the magazine.
Our first show case is at The Legendary Tin Angel, Philadelphia’s first real listening room.
This night we are featuring 3 amazing artists in which we feel you will enjoy.
Matt Santry, Melody Rose is a vocalist from New York.Alexis Cunningham just performed her
single “What You Give” on Radio 104.5 Live at 5.

Tuesday, March 31
Mayor Michael Nutter invites the Young Professionals group for a discussion titled “Unplugged”.
This 8th annual talk will revolve around what impact future graduates have on Philadelphia and how they can play a the role in improving the city. The speech will be followed by a business card swap and discussion that starts at 6 p.m. at Pipeline Philly (30 South, 15th Floor).

Unintentional Connecting: Networking’s 12 Days of Christmas

During the month of December we attend both business and personal holiday gatherings, but it’s the weekend before Christmas to the weekend after New Years that we tend to focus more on the personal holiday gatherings. This is where unintentional connecting, or as I like to call it, “Unintentional Networking” happens. Why is it “Unintentional Networking” ? Because this is the time that we often don’t look at what we are doing as networking, rather just enjoying the holidays with friends and family, but in actuality these are the closest connections we have, and if paid attention to and approached properly, they can become some of your most valued business connections. Here are 8 suggestions on how to make this time of “Unintentional Networking” work for you.

  1. Always Be Prepared, Carry Business Cards. I know this sounds very elementary, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to personal functions and have asked for someone’s business card and they did not have one to give. You don’t have to carry a stack, remember this is not a networking event, always have 5-10 cards on hand .
  2. Enjoy Your Time, Without Business in Mind. Hence the term “Unintentional Networking”. Remember you are not there for business, but keep in mind, these are probably people that you do not regularly see and are genuinely interested in what you are doing, as you should be the same with them. Simply catch up and enjoy each other’s company. Ehen the opportunity arises, you will know.
  3. Talk About Them, Ask Questions and Pay Close Attentions. The one thing I’ve learned over my 30 plus years of networking, people’s favorite subject is themselves. All you need to do is ask the questions, let them talk, and most important, pay close attention. People love to talk about their kids and plenty of times there is an opportunity for you to help, so ask about their children and grandchildren. Ask about their home and if they are still living the same place, ask about their careers. You can be the catalyst to get them into full story mode, then just sit back, enjoy the conversation and listen. The one thing that shows right away and is very obvious, is when you are talking to someone and as you are speaking they are either looking over your shoulder or around the room, or trying to formulate what they are about to say as you are speaking. Both of these action have a distinct tell of non-interest and usually felt with disrespect. Do not fall in that category, by listening attentively you will know where and if you will be able to connect professionally with them.
  4. Never Talk Business at a Non-Business Event. Always remember where you are and you will never overstep your bounds. At a family or friend’s gathering you are with family and friends, not business associates, that’s why you don’t talk business. If they do, don’t correct them, let them speak, but when they ask you about business, simply answer very briefly and follow it up with something like, “Hey, I don’t want to bore you with business talk here at a party, let’s get together right after the holidays and see what we can do.” This keeps it social and they will know you are respecting there time as well.
  5. Tying Down A Time To Connect. This literally takes about 1 minute. This is where you ask  “What’s the best way to get in touch with you?”, take out your phone and take their number and email address Then ask 3 simple questions: “What’s the best time to call you, is Monday or Wednesday better? What’s better, Morning Afternoon or Evening? Great is 7:15 good or 8:30 better? Then give them your card and just say, “All my info is right here.” The above days and times of course can be changed to whatever you decide. The reason for breaking it down that way is because when you ask someone when to call, they typically don’t know what to say, by giving them choices, you breakdown the barriers of confusion and they tend to remember you are calling them because they picked their own time to speak to you.
  6. After the Conversation, Scheduling. After you finish your conversation be sure to take out your phone again and put them in your calendar. I like to use Google calendar for this. Add them to your schedule and be sure to add them as a participant so your system will send them an email with your scheduled appointment and also send them a reminder. Remember this is a social function, so they will need to be reminded of your call.
  7. Connect Through Social Media. You would be surprised to find that the people that are close to you, really don’t know exactly what you do. Connecting with them on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and other sites will prompt them to get to know you more after the event. Remember, you had them speak more about themselves while you were at the event. After the event  they’ve realized that they don’t know you as much as you know them, you’ve created curiosity and now they want to know you.
  8. Make the Connection On Time. This is where most people fail, Be sure to call them or meet with them at exactly the time you have scheduled them. Understand that you have created curiosity and they are most likely looking forward to your call or meeting. at this point they have probably read your social media profile and they may have came up with a way to work with you. This is really your 1st impression to them, don’t mess it up.

Whether during the holiday season or any time of the year when at a social function. These 8 steps will help you build your network with people you already know and already know and trust you. These are the most valued connections you can ever have.

In the Philadelphia area? I invite you to The Ultimate Networking Group’s 175th Event Since 2009,  the 2015 Season Opener of The Ultimate Networking Event Live at Union Trust Finley Catering, Philadelphia, Pa. Tuesday January 6th 2013, 6pm. Don’t Miss The Event People Will Be Talking About Throughout 2015. $7 Parking at Central Parking Just Around the Corner. Register Now at http://ultimatenetworkingevent.eventbrite.com

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Happy Holidays,

Thomas Camarda

Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers Networking training, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group.

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PLEASE NOTE: All articles and networking tips in this BLOG are written by Thomas Camarda. All reprints in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, e Zines, on the Internet or on your own Website MUST receive the full written and expressed permission by Thomas Camarda. If you would like to request permission to “REPRINT” an article please email Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com with “REPRINT” in the subject line. Please specify which article from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” you wish to reprint and where you will be reprinting it. If you reprint on a website, please include the URL and the date the reprint will appear. If you reprint in print media, please request the address you will sent the publication to.

CONDITIONS: Once you have obtained permission, articles may be reprinted with the copyright notice, bio and links added at the end of each article as follows:

Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Camarda. Reprinted with permission. This article is adapted from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” at http://BecomingTheUltimateNetworker.wordpress.com Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers networking coaching, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group. Invite Thomas Camarda to speak to your group. Contact: Thomas CamardaThomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com 732-744-4719

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Gratitude, A Networker’s Attitude. Becoming The Ultimate Networker Holiday Tip

Originally posted on Becoming The Ultimate Networker:

What better a time of year for such a great topic. It is amazing how just being thankful can really solidify a bond between people. Although it sounds like the easiest thing to do, it’s actually so easy that often we forget to acknowledge it. Showing gratitude to your contacts and connections in business is as important as showing gratitude to friends and family. A simple “Thank You” phone call, email or post card goes a long way. Think about the feeling you get when someone is truly grateful for what you have done for them.  The heartwarming feeling of fulfillment that you experience is irreplaceable and makes you feel that everything you do for the person giving you thanks, never goes unnoticed. You will be more likely to work with that person in the future because of the way it makes you feel. This is what others feel when…

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Jazz Finds A New Home In Philly

Jazz has had a great history in Philadelphia, and now “Jazz It Up Philly” is working to bring jazz back to its rightful place. Philadelphia has been home to jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Sun Ra Arkestra, to name a few. Philadelphia was also home to over 30 jazz clubs up to the 1960’s. Although none of them are in Jazz_Philly_logooperation today, a handful of quality venues have seen the need for jazz and have answered the call. Venues such as Time, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Warmdaddy’s, Sassafras, World Cafe Live, and The Prime Rib, have been serving the jazz community and doing a great job. Now joining the scene, “Jazz It Up Philly” will bring you back to the days where you dressed your best, and entered a swanky and sophisticated supper club, to enjoy a spectacular evening of fine dining and dancing while experiencing a live jazz show that will showcase Philadelphia’s future jazz greats. #JazzItUpPhilly

The idea of “Jazz It Up” came to me a while back, as a monthly jazz event to be hosted in cities around the country to showcase not only the music but great artists from the areas the event is being held. In September of 2014, I met Charlie Bartlett and Tony Kauffman of KBM Productions and seen the work they were doing in the Philadelphia area and knew “Jazz It Up Philly” would now have a team that would be dedicated to making this event possible.

I then reached out to the owners of the venue that would make the event a Union Trust1 (200x133)class act and a reality, Finley Catering’s Union Trust. Now I would like to introduce to Philadelphia the world premiere of “Jazz It Up Philly Live at Union Trust” Wednesday November 19th.

Jazz It Up Philly Live at Union Trust will showcase 3 very talented artists directly from the Philadelphia area. These artists are:

Tim Brey:

10407274_609357072509281_7874846621531964404_nTim Brey is a young in-demand jazz pianist committed to keeping jazz fresh and relevant in an evolving, modern musical climate have made him a premier jazz solo pianist, leader, and sideman. He has had the privilege of performing with Mike Boone, Joanna Pascale, Terell Stafford, John Swana, and many more. He has extensive knowledge of the Great American Songbook and producers of Jazz It Up Philly are thrilled he is serving as the music director of this exciting new music experience in Philly
Chelsea And The Fair Weather Five
Chelsea and the fairweather 5Chelsea Reed and five of her talented musical friends love exploring the roots of jazz and finding creative ways to interpret forgotten songs. Drawing upon the influence of artists such as Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five bring the intensity and passion of early jazz to every stage they play to and put on one heck of a show. In addition to playing local clubs, they have played renowned Philadelphia venues like the Kimmel Center and World Cafe Live in addition to touring around the country.

Suzanne Sheer

Suzanne SheerA true ‘old-soul’ singer/songwriter in every sense of the word, Suzanne, who may be young, has musicality beyond her years. She seamlessly offers a neo-soul tone, jazz, and fantastic imagery in every aspect of her work. New to Philadelphia, she captivates her audiences and has caught the attention of such venues as Time Restaurant & Bar and The Underground Arts. She’s not to be missed!

We also enlisted the help of the perfect person to make the perfect drink, the 2014-08-11-Dan-Lan-Hamm-690x547(1)2014 winner of Philadelphia’s, GQ’s Most Imaginative Bartender Contest, Dan Lan Hamm. Dan will be featuring his own “Notes of Autumn” cocktail which will be highlighting delicious fall flavors along with other libations.

Come be part of what will be The jazz event everyone will be talking about “Jazz It Up Philly Live at Union Trust” Wednesday November 19th. For More information Click Here.

10 Reasons to Attend Business Networking Events

Every now and then, when I talk about attending events, I hear “Networking events don’t really work for me.” My reply is simple, “Is your business generated by someone making a decision? If you meet more people that can make decisions can you do more business? If the answers are “Yes”, and they always are, my reply is “Then let me show you a few simple steps you can use to make it work for you.” I can literally think of dozens of reasons to attend Business networking events, here are 10 of the best:

  1. Be Selective. Look at all the events in your selected business area and do your homework. Ask others in your network what events they go to and get their insight. We can always make money, but never make time. Choose what events you will attend wisely and attend them regularly. You cannot build relationships based on a one shot mentality. When you attend an event you will meet new people, when you attend that event again you will cultivate the relationship that started at the last event and build upon it.
  2. Look, Listen and Learn. Be very cognoscente of your surroundings and watch how other professionals handle themselves at each event. Listen carefully as other networkers introduce themselves to you and how they explain what they do and what they are looking to accomplish while they are there. The best and most polished professionals accept the fact that they will never stop learning. Learn from those who are where you want to be in your profession and always be in learning mode.
  3. Master Your Message. A business networking event is a great place to become one with your message and become unconsciously conscience of what you say and do. You have 30 seconds to convey who you are, what you do, what makes you different from others and why someone would want to work with you. That message needs to be the same to all. The more you listen and learn from others and the more you repeat your message, the more refined it becomes and the more polished you become.
  4. Position Yourself as “The Expert” in Your Field. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Caring about your industry will show through by your level of knowledge of your industry and its trends. If you were to refer someone to a professional, you would want to know that they will be in good hands, so would others when they refer to you.
  5. Increased Visibility. As the saying goes, ” Out of sight, out of mind.” If you are going to look to establish long lasting business relationships, you first need to establish yourself as a networking professional that others would absolutely want to have in their network, showing up is 80% of the success you will have as a professional business networker. When others see you appear at different business networking events, their acceptance for you grows stronger and you will attract top networkers to you.
  6. New Business Relationships = New Business. Strategic alliances, joint ventures, quality recruiting, and referrals are but only a few of what comes from a new business relationship and new business relationships start very nicely at business networking events. Attending the event itself is very important but only the first step. The fortune is in the follow up. Everything depends on everything you do with your new found business relationship after the event. This will turn your new relationship into new business.
  7. Look to Build on the Tools of Your Trade. Networking events are not only a great way to build upon your business by getting new business, it’s also a great way to find professionals that will help you make your business run smoother. Networking events attract sales professionals, attorneys, accountants, marketing professionals, website developers, promoters and many others that can help you along in making things run smoother in your day to day business. Watch for those people and ask how they can help you.
  8. Building Your Professional Team. In today’s business world it is crucial to have the right people on your team. Networking events also attract people that are looking for new opportunities. In today’s ever changing job market, many professionals have been displaced through downsizing and are looking for a position that will take full advantage of their talents. Here you may, very well, find people that can take your business to the next level
  9. High Touch Meets High Tech. Going out and meeting people face to face and looking them in the eye while shaking their hand triggers a bunch of emotions that compels others to react to you, that is exactly what networking events do. The next step is where high tech comes in. Once you have triggered those emotions connect with each of those professionals in social media on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. This will give them a chance to keep you in their sights and on the front line of their day to day communication outlets while getting to know you better.
  10. Lie, Cheat and Steal. Lie in bed at night thinking where you want to be in terms of success in your business profession and what you will do to attain that success. Cheat away some precious time from your schedule to attend business networking events every week. Steal the best introduction lines and questions from the best professional networkers you meet and tweak them to make them your own.

In Philadelphia, New Jersey , Delaware area? I invite you to attend The Ultimate Networking Event Live, Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware’s Premier Business to Business Networking Event since 2009.

Register Now at http://ultimatenetworkingevent.eventbrite.com

To contact Thomas Camarda fill out the form below:

Thomas Camarda is a professional networker, expert in his field, and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers Networking training, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group.

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Adding Content to Your Website or Publication is easy!

PLEASE NOTE: All articles and networking tips in this BLOG are written by Thomas Camarda. All reprints in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, e Zines, on the Internet or on your own Website MUST receive the full written and expressed permission by Thomas Camarda. If you would like to request permission to “REPRINT” an article please email Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com with “REPRINT” in the subject line. Please specify which article from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” you wish to reprint and where you will be reprinting it. If you reprint on a website, please include the URL and the date the reprint will appear. If you reprint in print media, please request the address you will sent the publication to.

CONDITIONS: Once you have obtained permission, articles may be reprinted with the copyright notice, bio and links added at the end of each article as follows:

Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Camarda. Reprinted with permission. This article is adapted from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” at http://BecomingTheUltimateNetworker.wordpress.com Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers networking coaching, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group. Invite Thomas Camarda to speak to your group.

Contact: Thomas Camarda

Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com

732-744-4719

Add Thomas Camarda to your Social Media :

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5 Ways to Win New Connections and Influence Decisions.

It’s no secret, emotions are powerful factors that play a Influencing Decisionsbig role in the decision making process. Emotions will move people towards or away from you, when choosing who they will do business with. To increase your network, you must appeal to people, to appeal to people you must listen to what it is they want and need.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why would people want you as a trusted connection in their network?
  • What sets you apart from the rest?
  • What value do you bring to their network?
  • Why do business with you?

These are all questions business people ask themselves when looking to expand their business network. Here are 5 ways to help win new contacts and influence decisions.

  1. Make people feel special. Smile and truly welcome your new contact without going into a hard sell. Your attitude must be one of friendly service, and interest, in them.
  2. Ask people questions that are specific to their  business and personal lives. What do you like best about what you do? What got you started on that path? Who would be the best new contact for you? What is your preferred method of building your network? Are you from the area? Asking these questions will get your new contact talking all about themselves. Pay close attention, and continue to question their comments. Asking questions will move them to ask you, so remember, the questions you ask, are most likely the questions they will ask of you.
  3. Tell a story. People love hearing stories, when asked questions from your new contact, turn your answers into short stories, about how you began your career and what has happened since. Remember, you’re not reading your life story, keep it short and to the point and always bring the focus back to your new contact, for example, So how did you get started?
  4. Make realistic promises. As we all know, first impressions are the most important. When taking the next step with your new contact, be sure not to just tell them what they want to hear in order to get a private meeting with them. When you say, “I definitely can make that happen for you, lets meet Monday and square it all away.” Be sure you can or all you will be looked upon is untrustworthy and  a waste of time to your new contact. If you say you will call them at 3pm tomorrow, put it on your calendar in front of them and be sure to call at 3. Be realistic, and then exceed their expectations!
  5. Provide a high level of service. Show respect for them and for their time by being on time for any appointments you may have set up. If you’re running late, call them to see if that will be ok. Be consistent and keep them well-informed.

All of these techniques lead to building trust, which of course is why, when it is time to make a business decision with you involved, and you have not disappointed them in the past, it will be easier for them to move toward you and refer other to you as well. People expect value from you, and they also want to feel valued by you. It really is not much to ask when doing business properly.

In the Philadelphia area? I invite you to try out these techniques at The Ultimate Networking Party Live, Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware’s Premier Business to Business Networking Event since 2009.

Register Now at http://ultimatenetworkingevent.eventbrite.com

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Thomas Camarda

Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers Networking training, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group.

Article Reprinting Instructions

Adding Content to Your Website or Publication is easy!

PLEASE NOTE: All articles and networking tips in this BLOG are written by Thomas Camarda. All reprints in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, e Zines, on the Internet or on your own Website MUST receive the full written and expressed permission by Thomas Camarda. If you would like to request permission to “REPRINT” an article please email Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com with “REPRINT” in the subject line. Please specify which article from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” you wish to reprint and where you will be reprinting it. If you reprint on a website, please include the URL and the date the reprint will appear. If you reprint in print media, please request the address you will sent the publication to.

CONDITIONS: Once you have obtained permission, articles may be reprinted with the copyright notice, bio and links added at the end of each article as follows:

Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Camarda. Reprinted with permission. This article is adapted from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” at http://BecomingTheUltimateNetworker.wordpress.com Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers networking coaching, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group. Invite Thomas Camarda to speak to your group.

Contact: Thomas Camarda

Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com

732-744-4719

Add Thomas Camarda to your Social Media :

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Fatso, Not So Anymore

11 years ago today, July 30th 2003, I weighed 476 pounds and faced certain death within the Slide1
next 6 months. This was literally the most scariest night of my life, as I was about to undergo a Gastric Bypass surgery at 6am the next morning, July 31st 2003, in which, what my doctors said, was a 75% chance I would die during the surgery. As I write this my hands are actually trebling as I remember what was to happen over the coming 8 hours. This is my story.

In February 2003, I visited my doctor because I was experiencing something that has never happened to me before. I was constantly getting full from very little I was eating. To many, this wouldn’t seem to be a problem, to me it was. I loved food and loved to eat. So when I went to the doctor and told him this, I expected him to think it was absurd, but to my surprise he didn’t and told me that he wanted me to take sonograms and tests to prove to me what he and other doctors have said he has been warning me of all my life. I went in for the tests and a few days later I get a call from him telling me to come in for the results. I said I would make an appointment and come in, he said, “No come in now, I’m waiting” and hung up the phone. Well, I don’t have to tell you how concerned that made me as I rushed out to see him. When I get there, he brought me right in his office and told me that over 40% of my organs were infiltrated with fat and I wasn’t going to live to see Christmas. Not only that but he also told me how and said I was going to most likely die of congestive heart failure and die in my sleep. Imaging the shock I was in to hear such a thing. See at this time in my life, I had just lost my father to Leukemia. He was diagnosed and 9 months later gone. In his dying days he told me to please take care of myself and lose weight because now that he won’t be here who would the family turn to. At that time I was also the father to 9 year old triplets, 2 girls and 1 boy. Now I am facing certain death. So I asked him what I should do and he told me that Gastric Bypass surgery was my only option and because of the situation and medical condition I put myself in, there was a 75% chance of dying on the table. I accepted the fact of my death and went home to tell my wife. When I sit her down and tell her this story she immediately started crying and asked, “So what are you going to do now?” I said, “Nothing, I have no choice.” I never will forget the look on her face as it went blank. The tears stopped and anger set in as she said to me, ” You have never given up on anything in your life and you’re giving up on this? You just lost your father at 39 years old and you still can’t understand why he died. How do you think 39 year olds are going to make any sense out of losing their father?” I turned to her and said “What am I supposed to do? There is a 75% chance I would die during the surgery.” She replied “There’s a 100% chance you’re going to die anyway in a few months, at least go out fighting.” This is the moment that changed my life forever. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I now was totally focused on taking the next steps toward finding the right doctor to perform this life threatening, but life changing surgery. At this time, what now seems so common place, Gastric Bypass surgery, was still being developed and new ways of doing it were still being found.

I asked my doctor for recommendations, he gave me a few, I interviewed them and could not be comfortable with any one of them. I then researched it myself and after interviewing a dozen different doctors I found Dr. Rafael Capella, I went to an informational seminar with about 50 other people and found him to be the one I wanted. I remember being so excited to find the right doctor, as he had me go through tests to make sure everything was going to be fine. He then set the date for December and I went back to my doctor to tell him the great news. When I went to my primary doctor to tell him this he asked if I had his card, I gave it to him and he immediately called Dr, Cappella. I sat there and wondered what was going on, that’s when his conversation started and I heard him say “You can cancel Thomas Camarda’s surgery, he won’t be alive for it in December.” Tears rolled down my face as I now knew all hope was gone, until my doctor forced the surgeon to move the date to July 31st. I don’t have to tell you how much of a hero I thought this man was.

As the time for the surgery drawn near, I remember the feeling of my legs giving out, my sleep apnea getting worse, my falling asleep at the wheel. I really thought i wasn’t going to make it to the surgery but the closer the date came the more excited I became to have it. On Saturday, July 26th, I had a huge party with over 150 people in my backyard for a barbeque, let’s face it, if I was Tommy Camping 2003going to die during this surgery, I wanted to see everyone before, so I called the party, “The Last Supper Party” everyone came and had a great time. I was going around so positive, telling people that next year at the same time I would have another party and the only difference was that I would be 225 pounds. Now I know that that was me losing over 250 pounds, but that what I intended to do and nothing could change my mind. The funny thing was that people were telling me not to worry about how much, even if I lose 50 or 100 pounds it’s ok. I love them all but what’s funny is how people put limitations on things they don’t even have a say in. I wasn’t going under a life threatening surgery to lose a few pounds. I’ve been on many diets in my life and have collectively lost over 1,000 pounds. All of them worked, I didn’t. This had to be the last one, so I wanted it all.

July 31st 2003 at 5am I arrived at Hackensack University Hospital, in Hackensack, NJ. I remember getting prepped for the surgery and now had a few minutes with my family, this was the most emotional time of my life. My wife, my 3 children and my mother were all there. This, what I felt, was my time to say goodbye to them all. I prepared a letter for each of them telling them how much I loved them. Gave the letters to my wife and told her to only open it and give them to everyone if I don’t make it. I realized that there was a 75% chance I was going to die within the next hour. What things go through a person’s head knowing this. Now they come into the room to take me for surgery, and I remember waving to the 4 people I loved the most in my life and as soon as they were out of sight, once again tears rolled down my face. All at once, I remembered something at that very moment. My Dad popped into my head and a conversation I had with him only a few months before his death. He told me “I know why I’m Dying”.  I asked “Why?” he replied, “I’m finished, I raised 3 beautiful kids with a women I loved all my life and you all are established and doing well. I did my job here and I’m ready to go home now. I’m finished.” Then the thought of him telling me to take care of myself and lose weight. I instantly jumped up and shouted “I’m Not Finished!” turned to God my father and said “God, Please get me through this, I know you will get me through this. I’m Not Finished, I Still Have Work To Do Here, Plenty Of Work To Do Here, Your Work To Do Here!” Suddenly a calm rolled over my entire body, I never felt before. I actually know that God’s hand touched me, he heard everything I said and came to me to let me know everything was going to be ok. I remember counting backwards from 100, I think I got to 97. 49 minutes later the was done, I wasn’t finished.

Coming out of this surgery was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life, I had what they call a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, The picture shows you what was done, but basically Roux-en-Y-stomach stapled diagramI was chopped, sliced, and diced and felt every bit of it, and it was all worth it. Every day I said to myself, “You’re going to be 225 pound wow, imaging that” Then I started actually dreaming what I would look like at 225 , I said it, thought it, and slept it every day and the weight was falling off me. No longer did I love food and loved to eat, I simply changed the way of thinking from, live to eat, to, eat to live, and it wasn’t that important to me anymore. I started looking at labels for fat content, and how much protein foods had. I was walking more, even running, I haven’t done that since I was a kid. But I refused to look at a scale, I didn’t even want to know how much I weighed or how much I was losing, even when the doctor weighed me every month on follow ups. I knew I was going to be 225 in a year and that was it.

Fast forward to Saturday, July 31st, 2004, 1 year to the day of my surgery. I promised everyone I would and I did, I threw a big party, invited all my friends and family and called it, the “If You Can See Me Now Party” I remember being up in my room looking out the window as everyone come in to the yard and as I was about to walk out I remembered I had to weigh myself. This would actually be the 1st time in a whole year and all I knew was “I better see 225”. I take the scale out, It was a digital scale, I placed it down on the floor, and hesitantly put my left foot on it. As I watched the numbers flickering I remember being so nervous as I put my right foot on the scale. I didn’t even want to look and was staring myself in the mirror. Then all at once I dropped my head to see what the number read and shouted, “YES!!!” and jumped off the scale. I was so shocked I had to jump back on to be sure I wasn’t nuts, and now with all the confidence I have put both feet on the scale watching as the numbers flickered and stopped at … 224.7. What a total success I felt, as though I can rule the world. I now felt If I can pix28
do this I can do anything. Now it’s time to great my guests, many of which have not seen me in a whole year since I was 476 pounds. I never will forget the looks on the faces of my friends and family as I walked out the door to the song “If they can see me now” What the mind can do, all I thought and lived the whole year was knowing I was going to be 225 pound on this very day, I go weigh myself to actually come in 3 tenths of a pound less without even looking at a scale in a whole year.

The following year I lost another 73 pounds and have maintained my weight of around 160 pound till today. In the last 11 years I have devoted my life to helping others do things they have felt they would never accomplish.  No, you can’t just speak words and it will happen, you speak word into action and they happen. in 2009 I started helping people connect through networking and teaching people communication and business relationship skills and started The Ultimate Networking Group. Through this group and it’s events, we have helped tens of thousands of business people succeed. I write this with the hope of touching the life of people that think they have a lost cause, that can never accomplish something because they feel it’s impossible. don’t ever try to do anything, just keep doing it till it works, and watch what will happen.

At the bottom I’ve added a few links if you want to know more about where I went for my surgery and the people who helped me.

Please feel free to connect with me directly and join my Group on LinkedIn: 

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Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Camarda.

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Thomas Camarda is a professional networker, expert in his field, and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers Networking training, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group.

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http://www.capellaplasticsurgery.net/all_in_the_family.htm

http://www.hackensackumc.org/our-services/surgical-services/department-of-surgery/bariatric-surgery/

http://www.hackensackumc.org/our-services/surgical-services/department-of-surgery/bariatric-surgery/register-for-a-seminar/

http://www.obesityhelp.com/profiles/bariatric-surgeon/dr-rafael-capella/

http://www.capellasurgery.net/