Family Dinner Recap: John Hill of Techstars

On Wednesday, April 12th, Residents and Tinkerers of The Garage...
Event Recaps
May 10, 2023
A large group of students gather to see John Hill speak, image features inset with John Hill's headshot.

By: Elizabeth Savin

On Wednesday, April 12th, Residents and Tinkerers of The Garage gathered together at Family Dinner to hear from guest speaker John Hill. John worked as a Higher Education Evangelist at LinkedIn for 3 years. After his experience there, he moved to the position of Vice President of Network for Techstars, subsequently shifting into his current role as lead Evangelist for the company. 

John has traveled to over 200 unique universities in 23 countries, teaching students and entrepreneurs how to get the most out of LinkedIn. Residents were lucky to learn all of John’s top tips for using the platform effectively - an invaluable experience for budding entrepreneurs.

The first - and most emphasized - point that John shared was to “build a network before you need it, so it's there when you do.” John shared how the network you create has the power to be one of your greatest assets as you move through your career and entrepreneurial journey. However, John warned that it is more important to “build a quality network over a quantity network.”

John encouraged Residents to dream big by reaching out to the people they hoped to connect with in the future. He explained that the industry professionals that student-entrepreneurs hoped to have as mentors were interested in learning from them as well. “Startups give mentors a look at what the future might be two years from now, which is a valuable insight,” John emphasized. 

Once you have created your network, John shared that it is important to share status updates and post your needs, as “people will want to help you, and they like to feel like they are a part of the journey.” This allows you to grow your network as they share your needs with others, and continue to strengthen your connections with a broader community.

Next, John highlighted the importance of expressing your gratitude for the people in your network. He shared the value of reaching out to congratulate others or just let them know you are thinking of them. 

John’s final piece of advice: while face to face communication is the best way to forge connections, LinkedIn provides you with opportunities to grow your network.

Elizabeth Savin ’25 is a Manufacturing and Design Engineering major from Wilmette, IL. She is a student aide at The Garage and was part of the Winter 2022 Propel cohort. She is excited to begin her own venture while learning more about entrepreneurship.

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