Gelie Akhenblit, fondly known as one of the most networked people in town, is the CEO and Founder of NetworkingPhoenix.com. Gelie is originally from the former Soviet Union and immigrated to Arizona in 1989. She is self-made and the ultimate boss babe, learn more about Gelie Akhenblit…
First job: My first job was when I was 14. I worked at a summer camp helping out the counselors in the toddler room. Made a whopping $2 an hour!
Favorite AZ restaurant: Hillstone Restaurant on 24th St and Camelback. Besides the fact that their food is amazing, their bar is a great place to network. It’s a local neighborhood spot… with the neighborhood being the Biltmore crowd. Here is my tip: go there and sit at the bar in the evening, for drinks or dinner, become friendly with the bartenders, Tom and Al, and let serendipity take it’s course. Don’t leave without trying the Greyhound (they make fresh squeezed grapefruit juice) and the fudge! Both are fabulous!
Person who has impacted your life the most: Hands down, my daughter, Aris. My life was already full before she came into the picture, but the layers and dimensions that she has added would be difficult to even articulate. Currently, she’s 5 years-old, and everyday with her is an adventure. She teaches me things, takes me places and I get to see the world through her eyes. My favorite is when she texts me just to say “I love you.”
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: I believe my true passion in this lifetime is my work. When I was 27, I co-founded and launched my company, NetworkingPhoenix.com. It was born out of a simple idea to unify the local business networking community with a networking events calendar. At its core, this platform is a community of local professionals that are looking to grow their business by networking. Currently at 41,000+ members, we’re still growing daily.
There are many golden nuggets to pull from this story, but the reason I think this is my biggest accomplishment is because it has literally helped thousands of people create meaningful business connections, land big accounts, find jobs, launch careers and much more.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: In the last 3 years, I chose to end my 17-year relationship with someone who I have a child with and was also the technical co-founder of NetworkingPhoenix.com. Very quickly, I had to figure out how to be a single parent and save my company, all while dealing with the challenges that come with a divorce and managing the daily tasks that come with running such a large community.
It wasn’t easy, but I am proud to say that I found a new business partner for NetworkigPhoenix.com (which is currently being re-designed), took time to heal and come back with a new-found energy.
It’s been a journey, but it hasn’t been boring 🙂
Someone who inspires you: I’m inspired by those who have hope, when there seemingly isn’t any. They remind me that there is always a reason to keep moving forward and miracles do happen.
Favorite quote: “Getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air” – Sarah Kay
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: You better really really really like people and have capacity to handle all sorts of personalities. In this business, if you’re in it for any other reason than the people, you’re not going to last.
What you think makes someone fabulous: If you know how to openly connect, have integrity and most importantly, know how to love … you’re pretty freaking fabulous in my book!