LinkedIn Live Raleigh – A Pay It Forward Experience

On January 15, I hosted LinkedIn Live Raleigh, a chance for my first link connections (and a few others) to get together in person. 170 people showed up! This is the fourth event since July of 2007 when I conceived the idea, and it’s grown steadily every event – from 50 to 75 to 125 to 170.

This event embodies my pay it forward philosophy. We don’t charge a registration fee, the “snacks” are provided by sponsors and the place we meet (in this case an amazing restaurant called Gianni’s and Giatano’s) provides the space for fee.

Then there’s the door prizes. This last round we had more than $750 in door prizes – all donated.

And that is where the best pay it forward story comes from today.

I arranged for Gianni’s and Giatano’s to provide two $25 gift certificates. When I gave them away that night I announced that this was the “Pay it Forward” door prize. One person would win both gift certificates.

The caveat? They had to “pay it forward” with one and give it to someone else. Not a spouse or relative but, as I suggested during the drawing, to someone who really needed it. “Perhaps,” I pointed out, “to someone who’s been out of work for a while.”

The prize was awarded and I felt good about the concept. I felt BETTER when the person who won the gift certificates came up to me an hour later and reported he had already paid it forward — to someone who’d been out of work so he could go to dinner.

Later, we gave out a $50 gift certificate to a local car dealer – for tune ups, oil changes, etc. The person who won it did not really need it, as it turns out. But more importantly, a woman standing next to him did.

Not realizing she had spoken out loud, she uttered: “Darn, I really needed that one, I have a Saturn!”

The pay it forward moment occured again, as the gentleman who won, having heard her, turned and gave the gift card to the Saturn owner, saying: “Here, I’m paying this forward!”

That is LinkedIn Live Raleigh – and I have more stories. Jobs found, business relationships started, friends for life made. Paying it Forward as we go.

What’s your Pay it Forward story? I invite you to share in one of two ways:

1. Comment on this post and share your story.

2. Email me at and I’ll post the best ones.

I leave you this morning with this thought:

Paying it Forward is not difficult, in fact it takes very little thinking. So, go out today and find a way to make someone’s weekend. Pay for a cop’s coffee at Starbucks and thank them for what they do and tell them to stay safe. You get the idea.

Until next time,

Paying It Forward,


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