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NYC entrepreneur

Influencer Marketing at New York Media Festival

This week, I had the pleasure of moderating the Influencer Marketing Panel at the New York Media Festival, held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

From FTC regulations to the keys to telling a great brand story, no topic was off the table.

Special thanks to Food Network's David Griffith, Clever Girls' Cat Lincoln and Wattpad's Suzanne Spence for the great conversation about the different ways brands are working with influencers. 

Here are a couple of my favorite shots from NYME. 

E-School for Girls: The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

As a small business owner, there are few things I'm more passionate about than helping the next generation of female entrepreneurs. (I even give them a plug in my latest for Forbes.)

Over the last year, I've had the honor of working with the E-School for Girls pre-college program, which gives young women the opportunity to learn how to innovate and create their own businesses. (Learn more about our February launch event with Microsoft and NYU.)

This summer, I mentored the girls during their two-week dedicated program and watched as they learned valuable skills like interviewing clients, honing their writing skills, building a great bio and LinkedIn profile - and creating a professional social media presence.

We even hosted a pitch contest (think: Shark Tank) where students presented their original business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs, including yours truly.

You can learn more about the tremendous work that E-School for Girls does here.

Mashable: How to Master Networking

It's all about who you know.

This week, I visited Mashable HQ to talk networking best practices on a Facebook Live session with #BizChats founder Tracey Edouard.

We kicked off the chat by selecting two emojis that best represent networking tips. I chose the ear emoji, because listening is crucial in building professional relationships, and the clapperboard emoji, because when you act confident, you start to feel confident. (Thanks, Rebecca Minkoff.)

Here are my top five networking tips. I hope they help you as much as they've helped me!

1. Do your homework. If you're going to an event, check out the guest list. Do some homework on the people attending, and if you decide you want to speak with them, find a few areas of common interest. 
2. Ditch the pitch. Be authentic. Networking has a stigma of being transactional, when it should really be about helping people.
3. Smile through your sentences. Research shows people evaluate everyone they meet in terms of warmth and competence. First impressions are everything.
4. Think quality over quantity. Everyone has connectors in their life, but most people only have a few super-connectors. Foster those relationships, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
5. Follow through. The President of the New York Stock Exchange Tom Farley says, "When I think about my own career, I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking. If I had not spent five years after [our] first Atlanta meeting staying in touch with Jeff Sprecher, chairman of the NYSE, through emails and phone calls, there is no way he would have considered me for president." 

Check out the full Mashable Facebook Live for more tips and for my number one key to successful networking. 

Thunder at The Skylark

Don't steal my thunder.

This week, I invited a few of my favorite bloggers and editors to join the gentlemen from Thunder from Down Under for an intimate sunset cocktail party on the beautiful Skylark Rooftop. 

Check out some of my favorite photos, below.

Motivate Design x Room for Design

There are few things more important to me than education and innovation. I had the opportunity to incorporate both last month during a Take Your Child to Work Day event I hosted in partnership with UX company Motivate Design

On April 28, we invited students, aged 8-13, to re-imagine the classroom during a five-hour workshop, Room for Design. 

Classroom features – including air quality, natural light, and even wall color – play a significant role in a students’ academic performance. And since kids spend 50+ hours per week in the classroom, who would we be to not let them re-design it? 

Check out this video to see some of the innovative ideas the kids came up with, and head to Marie Claire for a full run-down of my week in events.

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NYU + E-School for Girls Event

Photo by Michael Stewart of Getty Images. From left: Natalie Zfat, Allison Wright, Mona Patel, Kristina Libby, Janice Chong, Nan J. Morrison

Photo by Michael Stewart of Getty Images. From left: Natalie Zfat, Allison Wright, Mona Patel, Kristina Libby, Janice Chong, Nan J. Morrison

Growing my own business - and helping others do the same - is easily one of the most fulfilling feelings I've experienced in my lifetime. So when I was asked to partner with NYU and E-School for Girls to speak about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur - alongside other leading female innovators - I was in.

The event, powered by Microsoft, took place at NYU's Stern School of Business, and was attended by over 100 guests, including decision-makers, students, educators, and press. 

Fellow speakers included E-School for Girls Founder and Program Director Allison Wright, Microsoft Consumer PR Communications Lead Kristina Libby,  Council of Economic Education CEO Nan J. Morrison, Motivate Design CEO Mona Patel, and Teaching Garage CEO Janice Chong.

Allison Wright, E-School for Girls Founder and Program Director 

Allison Wright, E-School for Girls Founder and Program Director 

Now approaching its third year as a premier summer program, E-School for Girls provides underserved high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial ideas and skills such as business planning, team building, and personal branding. The girls are also introduced to a network of business professionals and mentors across a range of industries. 

“It is my personal mission to ensure that our students get to experience entrepreneurial success, build their skills and confidence and learn how to support themselves and each other no matter their gender or socioeconomic background.” - E-School for Girls Director, Allison Wright

Each speaker then gave a five-minute talk, sharing personal career stories, entrepreneurial advice and personal definitions of success. I shared with the audience my personal criteria for success, which I'll now share here.

  1. Be genuine.
  2. Do something that no one else is doing. (Or, if you’re doing something that other people are doing, do it better. Make sure you find a way to stand out.)
  3. Use yourself as the barometer for what success is. Figure out what your definition is and hold on to it as strongly as you would your client or employer's definition.

Check out some of my favorite moments and messages from the event.

"The secret to being an entrepreneur is refusing to allow your vision of what’s possible be dictated by those around you." -Kristina Libby
"You should be able to say what you do in one sentence." -Nan J. Morrison
"You do you. Really think about what it is that you know, what it is that you can offer, how you can best offer it, and then design the company around that." -Mona Patel
"If you don’t have the passion, and you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s going to be tough." -Janice Chong

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Natalie Zfat x Funnster Holiday Cocktail Party

The holidays aren't complete without close friends and family. On Friday, December 18th, I partnered with new party-planning app Funnster and hosted an intimate holiday cocktail party - #CrowdFunning - at my home here in New York. 

In lieu of hostess gifts, I asked my guests to bring a toy to donate to Worldwide Orphans Foundation. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends and family. Learn more here about this amazing organization that is transforming the lives of children in need. 

You can't have a cocktail party without the cocktails. NZ Wine provided drinks for the event, selected from Babich Wines, Wairau River Wines, MT Difficulty Wines, and the The Crossing Wines vineyards. Beautiful holiday floral arrangements were supplied by BloomThat

Check out the official Getty album for more photos from the event here

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An Inside Look at Dell World

When I was invited to speak at Dell World about emerging trends that could potentially disrupt my business, I knew I had to bring my A-game because I would be speaking to the disrupters themselves.

Check out my guest post for Dell's Direct2Dell Blog overviewing Dell World 2015 here

One of the most interesting panels I participated in was the Social Selling panel, alongside Dell VP of North America Commercial Marketing Bryan Jones, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Ari Lightman, Find and Convert CEO Bernie Borges, RockStar Consulting President David Fish, and Altimeter Group Founder Charlene Li.

You can watch a video of the panel below.

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Natalie Zfat x Ted Baker NYFW Portrait Studio

Natalie Zfat x Ted Baker NYFW Portrait Studio

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I invited my favorite entrepreneurs, editors, influencers and heroes to the Honeymoon Suite of the Park Lane Hotel this week for a New York Fashion Week "avatar" portrait studio. Because every innovator deserves a good first impression.

My guests included X-Factor's Carly Rose Sonenclar, NBC’S Lauren Scala, Cosmopolitan editor Carly Cardellino, Chondra Sanchez, Rachel Martino, Moti Ankari, Micah Jesse and Grace Weber

Our fashion partner Ted Baker provided the wardrobe for the event, while other partners included Papyrus, BloomThat and Roloxin.

Portraits were captured by Lord Ashbury's Simbarashe Cha. Check out some of our favorites, above.

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