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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Walker

TRACY LOMBARDI: Master Connector

It is so refreshing to speak with someone whose authentic presence and good-natured energy come through the phone the minute they start talking. So when first speaking with Tracey Lombardi, I was a bit in awe at how this busy mother of three and philanthropic business entrepreneur on the rise could exude such charisma for a person she had never met before. And it was indeed a breath of fresh air. This New York suburban mother, who decided being a soccer mom and a 9-5 Executive Administrator wasn’t all she was meant to be in this lifetime, chose to take her destiny into her own hands. At 43, Tracey Lombardi added to her already assiduous daily routine the art of business networking and created her own online business networking company, Cocktail Connections, as well as becoming apart of other greater New York companies such as, Philanthropic Events and New York’s Newsbutterfly TV. She has become known as “Master Connector” amongst her colleagues and has helped forge relationships for not only budding businesses, but for philanthropic, non-profit causes she can’t resist in helping move to the next level of success. Lombardi admits she never imagined in her wildest dreams all the things that have come into fruition, with TV anchoring, speaking engagements, radio interviews and the like. Originally a schoolteacher, Tracey found herself at a crossroads early on in her twenties. As was common for women at the time to become either a teacher or a nurse, Tracey did what was urged of her and became a teacher for several years until she realized it didn’t quite fit who she was on a greater level. Although she was unsure of what her true calling was, in 1992 Tracey took on the job of Executive Administrator for a newly graduated optometrist. She used “old school marketing,” as she calls it, and literally went door to door to acquire business for the new doctor on the block. With her own business savvy and gift for cultivating relationships, she helped build what is now a multi-million dollar practice and is still happily with the company 18 years later. All the while, she was raising her 3 children. A consummate hands-on mom in more ways than one, she has led religion classes, coached the track team at her child’s school and was of course the classic soccer mom; making sure each child got where they needed to be. But Tracey found herself at another crossroads amongst the success she had in her career and personal life. She got bored. She wanted deeper connections beyond gossiping with other soccer moms. She wanted to surround herself with interesting people and make a difference in society. And soon after this realization, Tracey found herself given that opportunity by happenstance. After being invited to a business networking event hosted by another a parent, Lombardi found herself becoming the social butterfly networker that always came naturally to her, and a role that suited her well. This prompted an invitation for Tracey to have a helping hand in her friend’s company, Social Venture Group (SVG.) Incorporating those “old school” skills that worked so well for her in the past, combined with her belle of the ball networking capabilities, Lombardi finally felt like she had found the missing element to her otherwise fulfilled life. She decided to part ways with SVG and create her own company, Cocktail Connections. This online and special event social networking community for businesses in the greater New York and New Jersey areas allows entrepreneurs to connect and join forces, helping each other to success. Cocktail Connections has also enabled Tracey to follow her true passion, which is giving a voice to non-profit groups and grass root causes, and helping them find the financial support needed to further their plights. Notoriety came to Tracey due to her unmistakable charm, sincerity and knack for her “matchmaking” ability in the business community. This led Lombardi to team up with other groups such as Philanthropic Events, which allow her to focus on more meaningful causes in the non-profit arena, and Newsbutterfly TV, where she is an anchor for a New York based TV show that tries to assists in creating job opportunities for women in the surrounding area. Lombardi, now 45, is truly beside herself at the opportunities the past two years have brought her on a day-to-day basis, and as she explains, she “really loves the diversity of her life right now.” She is literally doing it all. From the 9-5 job she still enjoys, to picking up the kids, to laundry, to the red carpet event she will attend by 8. And she’s open to anything else that comes her way. “I feel it and just go and do.” She does hope women realize there are many opportunities to do it all and go beyond being a trapped housewife selling Avon. Networking and just getting out there are key to opening the doors to finding that fulfilling life. If you ask her what her motto is, she will tell you she doesn’t really have one other than just to know that there is a positive to any negative, trying event. She is a believer in the Laws of Attraction and elements of The Secret, and stands behind the idea that if you have a positive personality than people are going to be attracted to that. She genuinely gives (and gives and gives) not for financial gain, because there actually is none at this point, but gives because she knows good intention will come back to her in a greater form. And probably what I found most endearing about Tracey is what inspires her: “My children, people with a passion for what they believe in, and [knowing that] everyday I am going to meet another person that I may be able to change their lives and vice versa.” Tracey Lombardi approaches her life much like the adage, “It takes a village,” something our society has forgotten. She is a “Master Connector” just for showing us the way back to the village. Originally published in DStripped Magazine

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