Judy Thomson

Judy On Learning How To Network The Hard Way

Two pivotal things happened as I was beginning my career as a chartered accountant. Firstly, I was given a box of business cards–in those days they were embossed—and I was told, ‘go forth and network’ as if it was the most J Thomson Cardnatural thing to do.  As a newly minted chartered accountant I equated networking with sales, and that wasn’t me. I was in the professional services and like lawyers, architects, engineers, HR professionals, sales was the domain of others—people in business development. Plus, at 26 years of age, I didn’t really know how to do it. Our global accounting firm prided itself on skills training, with their amazing internal ‘university’, but there was not one course on how to network. I was on my own.

What I Came To Understand

What I quickly came to understand was that the most successful business people in my firm (some who became my mentors and champions) were those who were engaged in the community. They sat on the board of The United Way, went regularly to chamber and board of trade events, represented the firm at other charity and community events. These individuals were brand ambassadors for our firm. They were well-respected, generous with their time, and ultimately brought in the most business.

We Are All Brand Ambassadors

Fast-forward and even today networking skills are still not given the priority we believe necessary for people in professional services to become positive networkers and develop new high-trust business relationships. So when Gayle told me that Darcy wanted to write a book on networking, I said, “I’d really like to do that with you, because I was never taught those skills and I know how valuable they are.”  — Judy

Dynamic Duo- Judy & Gayle

Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, co-authors of Work the Pond!, have been teaching the skills of networking, team building through communication and social intelligence for over a decade and their clients include corporations, business associations, financial institutions, professional services firms, and university students. (See our client list.) Whether they are presenting their popular Power of Positive Networking®, their signature conference opener LeapStart!™, or their teambuilding Positive Communication™ program, they have a special way of connecting with their audiences. Not only that, but they get their audiences connecting with one and other!

  • “I love the interaction between the two of you.”
  • You finish each other’s sentences, it’s seamless.”
  • “Having two people makes it so much more interesting, time flies.”


  • The event went spectacularly well! Judy and Gayle were out of this world! Our attendees definitely used their tips and we saw it first hand throughout the conference. They were fantastic. Thanks so much for recommending them, I would use them again when the right opportunity arises. — Joanna Lean | Scotiabank
  • This was by far one of the best classes we have held at Enbridge. The trainers do a great job at keeping the attendees engaged throughout the entire class. Taking this class will benefit your career in volumes far after the class has ended. — Katy Flood | Training and Development Coordinator, Enbridge Energy
  • The networking courses Gayle and Judy offer through the Mitacs Elevate program helped me to see networking as a tool to develop relationships by offering to understand people’s problems and build dynamic solutions; not by peddling my ready-made solutions to people facing unrelated issues. This approach will allow you to build a reputation as someone who is flexible, competent, and attentive. It has also allowed me to feel like I can approach anyone at a conference or trade show without feeling like a used car salesman. — Michael Schetzer, Ph.D.

 North of 49 Interview with Judy Thomson on Positive Networking®


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