Amy D. Kilpatrick
Public Speaker and Corporate Trainer
In 1996, with a freshly printed diploma and hours of internship, I started what I thought would be a life-long career in the field of accounting. For those who know me now, this is always a shock to them, as I have a very different personality than one would expect from an accountant. While it was a very rewarding career, I must confess, I felt like I was always wearing the wrong pair of heels. So in 1999, when asked to join the marketing team for the firm I was working for at the time, I jumped at the chance. I was looking forward to the challenge, or so I thought; what I found was frustration instead. I attended all the suggested events, joined all the suggested clubs and organizations, put in many hours loading up marketing material, handing out brochures and making small talk. Then each week our marketing team would come together and report to the partners. Needless to say, my expectations and my results were not in line with each other. I felt like a failure; I knew that there had to be a better way. Little did I know that I was soon to discover that there was a much better way to build my business practice, when I received an invitation to a networking event. I gathered up my business cards and headed out to what I thought was just another lunch and learn event. WOW! Was I in for a surprise, as this was no ordinary networking event. First, and I say this with mild humor, they were actually excited to learn I was an accountant. Needless to say, this did not happen often. I was taken around and introduced to all the members. I was asked for my cards and everyone seemed to genuinely like each other and they looked excited to be there. The energy was incredible and I found myself truly enjoying the event. Then the meeting was called to order and I had my first look at networking with a purpose. I could not wait to head back to the office and share my news. I was given permission to apply for membership to the organization, and to my excitement, their membership committee awarded me the sole accounting seat in the chapter. And so I was inducted as a member into the Noontime Networkers Chapter of BNI, Business Network International. I had no way of knowing that this was about to change my life.
As with most things, I jumped right in and got to work. I recognized that I had a couple of things I needed to work on in order to make this networking group work for me. I needed to get over my fear of standing in front of my peers and speaking and I needed to build personal credibility with the other members. The second was easier to accomplish than the first, and I began to see my results start to not only meet my expectations but to exceed them. Within six months of joining, I was bringing in clients at a rate that was causing others to stop and take notice. So much so, it created an opportunity for me to be invited to be a part of a start-up firm. My membership in BNI and the acquired knowledge of how to use that membership to grow my client base, gave me the courage to say yes.
Meanwhile, I began to explore opportunities that BNI had to offer. I stepped up into leadership and support team roles that allowed me great exposure and increased my credibility, and which ultimately increased my referrals. I became the Area Director for BNI and had a chance to learn more about word-of-mouth marketing. I read and listened to everything I could get my hands on by BNI Founder, Dr. Ivan Misner. Everything just made sense to me and better than that, it worked! I was reaching my goals and enjoying the challenge. However, I learned an important lesson: not all of my fellow members were having the same level of success that I was. So I began to work with them, and soon realized that I was networking differently. My success using BNI to build my business was higher because I applied the key concepts to my networking efforts, my business strategy and my word choice. I began to share with others my approach to networking and was gratified to hear the difference it was making in their results. I discovered that I had a passion and gift to train others and lucky for me, I had conquered, for the most part, my fear of public speaking.
In May of 2008, while attending the BNI National Conference, I was introduced to David Crumbaugh, another fellow BNI Director and CPA. Several phone calls later, we agreed to collaborate on a book together geared towards teaching accountants how to grow their practices using referral marketing. This was the beginning of Nspired Networking Enterprises, LLC. In November that year, we were selected to make a presentation at the BNI International Conference. This was the first time my strategic approach was taught in front of an audience of this caliber. We had attendees from over 49 countries and who were all specialists in their respective industries. These were also some of the best-of-the-best in the area of word-of-mouth marketing. Just imagine how David and I felt, when after our presentation, we could not move for the crowd that surrounded us. For hours, I felt like we were holding court in the lobby of the conference venue. I remember looking at David, and with a single glance, we knew that Nspired was much bigger than a book for a single industry. Our journey had begun. I resigned from the accounting firm a few short months later, and embarked on a new career. I was nervous, scared and excited all rolled up in one, but unlike before.. the shoe fit.
While admittedly the learning curve was a challenge, as we were creating everything from scratch in an industry that we were unfamiliar with, we celebrated some very early successes. Those successes have carried us to today, where we have a full comprehensive training program called "The Nspired Networker™" which features the "Master Your Network™" courses. This progressive program takes our clients from the basics, through intermediate to advanced skills and techniques that they are able to apply immediately to their business growth plan. My desire was to create a program that walked our clients through the maze of network marketing, so that they could achieve their goals. I love seeing the light bulbs go off and hearing how our training has made a difference in someone's business.
In 2013, I began working more with women audiences and was challenged to come up with material that was geared just for women. After beta testing several workshops and receiving some incredible feedback, the Nspired team got busy again and The Sassy Lady was created. Currently, we have two courses developed under this series, "Become A Woman With S.A.S.S!™" and "Networking With S.A.S.S!™. The foundation of the programs is based on one of my strategies "Positive Forward Motion". All the material has been created to Empower, Educate and Encourage women to reach their goals and to surround themselves with a network of positive support women.
I love what I do, and I am grateful for the gift that has allowed me to help others in a way that also feeds my passion. When asked to create a philosophy for the company, I summed it up with two little words that have become the foundation of all that we do here at Nspired.
Our philosophy is ..... Nspire Others!
I have a vision for Nspired that far exceeds David's and my first thoughts. When we began to put the final touches on our training programs, I soon realized that we were limited in what we could do if it just stayed the two of us. So the Nspired team began to grow and with it, the idea to extend the opportunity to others to become a part of the Nspired philosophy. In 2014, we are launching our Nspired Certification program that will allow professionals who have a desire to train others a chance to facilitate The Nspired Networker's training program.
We are also working on our online training module, NspiredU that is looking at completion in early 2015.
And remember that book that David and I once talked about? Well, we are finally getting around to writing it. Our goal is to have this out also in 2015.
My dream is big and includes international possibilities, but this time I am not scared, or nervous, just super excited!
I am often asked, "Where did you come up with the name Nspired Networking?" That is easy. My gifts were given to me and my leaps have been supported by God. Without Him, I would be unable to Nspire Others!
Amy D. Kilpatrick, an entrepreneur at heart, finds herself wearing multiple hats as President/Co-Founder of Nspired Networking Enterprises, LLC, and President of Creative Impulse Enterprises, LLC d/b/a The Sassy Lady.
As a corporate consultant and keynote speaker, she has created a very successful program, "The Nspired Networker™" which features the "Master Your Network™" training courses which teaches her clients how to generate higher level of referrals through the development of strategic alliances.
Amy is in high demand for the presentations that she has developed. She is the true "SASSY" lady and can be found working with women to help them find their own "S.A.S.S.Y!" style in both their professional and personal lives through her "SASSY Ladies" events and retreats.
As a former Award-Winning Executive Director for BNI, Business Network International. Amy has over 15 years of training business owners networking strategies. In 2011, she was nominated by her peers to serve on the Founder's Circle for Business Network International, along with 19 other Directors from around the world with Dr. Ivan Misner.
She has written articles for various publications and has been featured as a guest speaker on various radio shows around the nation.
Her greatest achievements are her two boys, Austin and Zachary and her biggest supporter, Doug Weiss. When she is not working, she can be found cheering on both boys at their various sporting activities or enjoying a round of golf with her favorite guy.
You can connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms.