Ellen Poole is a dynamic speaker who teaches people at all levels of their careers effective strategies to build networks and nurture relationships for professional success.  Her audiences have included nationwide corporate teams, university students, and national, state, and international professional and trade associations. 

Photo courtesy of the American Bankers Association

Ellen inspired students and changed lives with her lively and engaging remarks. Her refreshing advice for strengthening ties is based on truly caring about people around us. I would love to see her return to Virginia Tech to present to our students more often.

Dr. Lara Khansa

Associate Dean and Sonny Merryman Professor, Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech

We enjoyed having Ellen speak to our Women’s Leadership Network. She has an engaging style and offered relevant and relatable tips for building an effective network. Really great!

Bridget Schwartz-Manock

Director of Public Affairs, Central Arizona Project

Ellen’s keynote presentation on building a network was dynamic and enjoyable and offered great information for my career, even after my more than 20 years in banking.

Mary Clouthier

CERP, CRCM, Chief Risk Officer, Cornerstone Capital Bank

Ellen’s remarks were just what I needed to hear as I completed my college degree and prepared to begin my career in business. I found her comments inspiring and loved how she directed them specifically to graduating seniors. I can’t wait to apply her advice in my new job!

Isabel Barker

Econ and Fin, Class of ’22, Virginia Tech

Ellen provided an inspiring keynote to open our 2022 national Regulatory Compliance Conference and was very generous with her time as she continued to engage with our attendees afterwards.  Many individuals approached me as the Conference MC throughout the rest of the weeklong event to express their enthusiasm about her presentation which included several valuable takeaways.  I enjoyed the opportunity to learn her story and will be recommending Ellen as a speaker for other conferences hosted by the American Bankers Association!

Ryan Rasske

Senior Vice President, Risk and Compliance Markets, American Bankers Association Office of Member Engagement

Ellen's presentation was well received by our audience of STEM-majored undergraduates, grad students and faculty.  Her unpretentious style put everyone at ease and allowed the audience to relax and focus on what she had to say!  We are excited about following up her talk with a book study of “Network Is Not a Verb” in the Spring.

Kimberly Forsten Williams, PhD

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duquesne University

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Ellen Poole’s
Speaking Topics

Ellen will work with you to customize her presentation for your specific audience.

“Network” Is Not a Verb

Are you waiting until you need to call on your network to start building it? Do you feel like you need to know more people, or know the “right” people, but find that “networking” feels too superficial or transactional? From a career built on a lifetime of creating meaningful professional relationships, Ellen Poole shares the secret no one talks about: If you want to build a powerful network, you must be someone that others want to add to their own networks.

Based on her book, “Network” Is Not a Verb, Ellen will show you how to:

  • Make yourself indispensable to potential connections.
  • Meet the people who will be part of your network for years to come.
  • Authentically nurture and deepen your professional relationships
  • Avoid common mistakes that can unwittingly alienate your new contacts.
Effective Connecting For Executives

Now that you’re at the top, you’re too busy to spend time “networking.” But don’t be deceived—professional connections are more critical than ever! When you’re already working 24/7, how do you ensure that you continue to build your network while maintaining your existing relationships?

In this session, Ellen Poole adapts for the C-Suite the ten Tactical Tips from her book, “Network” Is Not a Verb, based on her experience as a member of the Executive Management Group at a Fortune 100 company and observations from more than 20 years interacting with corporate executives on multiple nonprofit and trade association boards of directors.

You will learn:

  • Where to target your network-building time and energy for maximum effectiveness.
  • How to identify and avoid “networking” time-wasters.
  • The critical do’s and don’ts for leaders that can enhance— or destroy—the relationships you already have.
How to Build a Network as an Introvert

Are you too busy to “network?” Do you dislike or even dread it? Do you worry you’re not good at it, but fear that if you don’t do it your career will stall? In this session, Ellen Poole offers good news: You can stop wasting time “networking” and focus your time on what really matters in building worthwhile professional relationships.

  • Learn why “networking” doesn’t create meaningful ties.
  • Develop strategies to meet and get to know new, valuable contacts without going on the “networking circuit” or spending hours on social media.
  • Learn why it doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or extrovert when it comes to developing professional bonds.
Couch Connections: Building Your Network When You're Working From Home

Since 2020, many professionals have had to adapt to a new office space: their homes. When human contact seems to be all about screen time, how can you develop the professional network you need to be successful?

  • Learn the core principle of network-building and how to successfully adapt it to a virtual work life.
  • Find out why social media is not the best path to meaningful connections, and what is.
  • Learn practical ways to enhance your appeal to potential contacts when you’re working from your couch.