Patricia López, CEO and founder of MYHIXEL
My name is Patricia López, and I am the CEO of MYHIXEL, a brand focused on male sexual health. I was born in Sevilla, Spain, and studied tourism. After working in the tourism industry, I transitioned to marketing in the sex-tech industry. Over time, I became aware of the wide variety of products focused on female sexual wellness and the lack of resources in the male sector. I realized there was a gap in the market, so I founded MYHIXEL to address this need by improving male well-being and intimate relationships in a natural way through products, services, and solutions for male sexual health based on science and technology.
Can you share a little about what makes you an authority on building a great network?
Well, more than being an authority, I have gained experience. Through years of facing numerous challenges and engaging with people from diverse sectors, I have developed expertise in building professional networks. As a startup focused on male sexual health, it is not always easy to make users, investors, partners, ecc. understand our vision clearly. Hence, I have learned to adapt to different circumstances, maintain a consistent and professional approach, and emphasize the importance of male sexual health. Although it has not been an easy journey, I believe that I have built a strong network over time.
How important is networking for professional success, and why?
Building a strong network is crucial for any company. As they say, word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and that is only possible with a strong network to support you. Moreover, in addition to hard work, having the right contacts can also accelerate your progress. A robust and reliable network behind you can guarantee success. However, to establish such a network, you must put in the effort and demonstrate your worthiness.
What's your usual ice-breaker question when meeting someone for the first time?
Where have you heard about us and why it is interesting for you?
Are you familiar with the products or services that we offer?
What do you think makes our company stand out in our industry?
Have you or anyone you know used tech for sexual health?
How do you approach networking differently when you're meeting someone in person versus virtually?
Usually, when it is a virtual contact, I have already been in touch with them via email, phone, or someone has introduced them to me before, so we arrange a virtual meeting to discuss something specific that we have already spoken about during our previous contact, making it easier as the introduction part is already done. In-person, the same situation can occur where someone has already introduced us or we have previously talked. In this case, I show my interest in them and have pleasant conversations, not much different from in social situations, discussing our interests, companies, plans, etc.
What are some common mistakes people make when trying to build their professional network, and how can they avoid them?
There are some key elements like active listening, empathy, and a willingness to share synergies and win-win outcomes to building a strong and successful professional network. By listening actively and showing empathy, you can build deeper and more meaningful connections with your contacts. When you approach networking with a collaborative mindset and a willingness to share resources and ideas, you can create mutually beneficial relationships that are more likely to endure over time. It's not enough to simply make an initial connection, you must continue to nurture and maintain these relationships by staying in touch, providing value, and being genuinely interested in the success of your connections.
Have you noticed any differences in the types of relationships you build through in-person versus virtual networking? If so, can you describe those differences?
In my experience, when it comes to explaining what we do, you gain much more by doing it in person. Perhaps it is because of the nature of our industry, but people convey to me that I am more convincing and persuasive when I have live meetings.
What are some strategies you've found effective for building rapport and establishing trust with someone you've only just met?
Well, a networking relationship is a two-way street. This means that we should not only talk about our own interests but also listen to the interests of others. By doing so, we can discover common interests and have more topics to discuss. Additionally, it is important to follow through on commitments we make and always be clear and transparent in our communication.
How can someone use social media and online networking to expand their professional network?
In terms of the company, social media is crucial to expand your reach and share information, which can also reach your network contacts. As for personal profiles, I think LinkedIn is the most appropriate platform, followed by Twitter for sharing news and thoughts.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to networking and trying to make connections in their industry?
Some advice that has worked for me includes being yourself, being sincere, showing interest in others, being proactive, attending tech events and preparing for them in advance by researching who will be attending, their interests, and finding common ground, taking the initiative to start talking to others, being myself, being honest, keep in touch with your contacts, etc… can greatly enhance your networking and learning opportunities.
Being transparent about your plans and ideas, and sharing your passion for your project can attract others and give them confidence in your abilities and vision.
It's important to also listen to the interests of others and engage in a two-way conversation to build a genuine relationship.
Keeping in touch with the contacts you have made is crucial to maintaining and strengthening your network over time.