Under Clay Hicks‘ guidance, H7 Network distinguishes itself in professional networking by fostering deep, meaningful connections beyond mere transactions. Hicks champions a community-driven approach, emphasizing trust, mutual support, and enduring collaborations. His innovative “Connect, Serve, and Ask” framework, coupled with a personal affinity for rock and roll, was highlighted in a recent interview with SMarketPlace™, offering insights into his unique methodology for nurturing professional relationships.


From Personal Challenge to Professional Triumph with H7


Clay Hicks’ initiation of H7 Network was driven by more than business aspirations; it was a quest rooted in his personal experiences of adversity and achievement. Hicks often declares, “I’m an entrepreneur. That’s pretty much what I am,” reflecting his innate entrepreneurial zeal.

His journey, enriched by insights from over three thousand one-on-one networking encounters, gave birth to H7. This platform redefines professional networking by prioritizing a supportive community essential for the growth of every member, aiding both professional networking and job-seeking efforts.

Hicks’ story is a testament to perseverance, marked by his solo upbringing of two daughters amidst entrepreneurial ventures, laying the groundwork for H7. His experience underscored the significance of communal support in both personal and professional spheres.

“I raised my two biological daughters by myself for seven years before getting married, all while running H7 at the same time,” Hicks shared, illustrating the blend of personal dedication and professional drive at the heart of H7’s mission to foster meaningful connections and mutual success.


The Heart of H7 Professional Networking: Connect, Serve, Ask


The H7 Network provides its members with an array of resources, encompassing educational opportunities, peer support, business networking, skill development tools, and recognition of achievements. Central to the network’s ethos are the Connect, Serve, and Ask principles, which guide every community interaction, whether in individual meetings or larger group settings.

By adhering to the Connect, Serve, and Ask framework, H7 fosters an environment that encourages professional growth and success. This strategy promotes the formation of significant relationships, reciprocal support, and the pursuit of cooperative and advancement opportunities within the community.


Watch SMarketPlace™ Live Clip: Clay Hicks on Connect, Serve and Ask Framework


The foundational philosophy of Connect, Serve, and Ask within the H7 Network is a reflection of Hicks’ transformative personal experiences and countless one-on-one interactions, leading to a balanced method of forming connections, addressing others’ needs, and tactfully soliciting support to strengthen one’s professional circle.

“Connect” underscores the essential act of forging sincere, personal relationships as a precursor to trust and potential collaborations. Hicks’ involvement in over 7,600 individual meetings since 2014 showcases the critical role that personal interactions play in establishing a robust professional network. The subsequent phases, “Serve” and “Ask,” enhance this groundwork by fostering a culture of altruism and mutual benefit.

Hicks articulates, “Serve and Ask – those two elements are where trust begins to be formed. So if I don’t serve you, I’m not earning your trust…”

“If I don’t ask you for help, then I’m literally taking the power away from you to earn my trust. So pick a side. Do you want trusted relationships or do you want buddies to go drinking with? Which one?”

Through his actions and the collective ethos of H7, Hicks highlights the significance of selflessly serving others without expecting immediate returns and asking for help in a way that respects the mutual value of the relationship.

This exchange of support and trust, underpinned by authentic connections, characterizes the H7 Network as a fertile environment for both professional and personal development.


Fostering a Hybrid Professional Networking Community


Under Hicks’ visionary leadership, particularly as the world adjusted post-pandemic, H7 transitioned into a hybrid model, merging the traditional face-to-face networking with the expansive capabilities of online connections. This shift underscores Hicks’ dedication to adaptability and inclusivity, maintaining H7’s significance amidst the dynamic landscape of professional networking.

“We’re a hybrid community,” Hicks stated, encapsulating the network’s strategy of integrating physical and virtual interactions to accommodate its diverse member demographic.

This dual approach has notably broadened H7’s scope, enabling the network to meet the diverse preferences of its members and creating a platform that is both reachable and effective. In an age where remote work and digital interactions are increasingly prevalent, H7’s methodology has nurtured a dynamic, boundless community.

Hicks’ focus on fostering a hybrid community is rooted in recognizing the varied lifestyles and commitments of today’s professionals, providing various channels for participation. This approach allows H7 to retain the genuineness of direct meetings while leveraging the convenience and expansiveness of online platforms, delivering an encompassing and inclusive networking environment.


The Impact of H7: Stories of Professional Networking Success


H7 Network’s true value lies in the tangible growth and achievements of its members, highlighting both personal and professional advancements as key outcomes.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Hicks reflects, acknowledging the extensive development witnessed within the H7 community.

This network fosters an environment where sharing knowledge and facing challenges together enriches the collective with a wide array of experiences and perspectives. H7 serves not just as a conduit for business expansion but also as a nurturing ground for individual growth and discovery.

The narratives that unfold within H7 are as diverse as they are motivational, encompassing stories of entrepreneurs who have utilized the network to scale their enterprises and professionals who have found new career paths and passions through their involvement in the community.


Watch SMarketPlace™ Live Clip: Clay Hicks on H7 Member’s 70 Percent of New Business Through Network


A standout illustration of the impact of H7’s networking principles is the story of Don Kloss, an entrepreneur from Denver, who has seen significant benefits from his diligent application of these concepts. Hicks pointed out Kloss’ achievements, stating, “Seventy percent of Don’s new business stems from his ability to connect, serve, and ask.”

Similarly, Jackie Gournay’s experience with H7 underscores the network’s collaborative spirit. After proposing to Hicks the idea of integrating an entire community into the network, Hicks enthusiastically agreed, saying, “Let’s do it!” As a result, the entire group is slated to join the network in the upcoming month.

These instances exemplify the powerful “connect, serve, and ask” philosophy, demonstrating its effectiveness in driving considerable professional advancement within the H7 community.


Rock ‘n Roll: Best Heard From a Lawn Chair


Watch SMarketPlace™ Live Clip: Clay Hicks on Love of Local Artists and ’80s Hair Bands


When SMarketPlace dove into Hick’s love for Rock ‘n Roll, he opined that there’s nothing like sitting in a lawn chair listening to a local band. Speaking about favorite commercial bands, he mentioned 80’s artists including Metallica, Poison and Michael Jackson. He beamed when talking about eighties rock: “The big hair bands and stuff. Oh yeah. I loved all those… love those still today.” 


Looking Ahead: The Future of H7


As H7 gears up for the future, Hicks is poised to navigate the global marketplace for goods and services through an era marked by more human-centric networking practices. 

“We are living in a new time of H7 where technology has met the human piece,” Hicks stated.

He envisions a community where digital innovation enhances rather than replaces personal connections. This perspective is central to Hicks’ strategy for expanding H7’s digital footprint while deepening member engagement through personalized experiences and collaborative opportunities.

As H7 moves forward, its commitment to fostering deep, meaningful connections and mutual professional advancement remains unwavering, promising a bright future for Hicks and the vibrant professional networking community he has built. The innovative “Connect, Serve, and Ask” methodology and a pioneering hybrid networking model, Hicks believes he has laid a strong foundation for H7, ensuring its continued impact and relevance. 

Interested in joining H7 Network? Visit h7network.com to learn more and sign up for membership.

Note: Another version of this article about our interview with Clay Hicks appeared on the H7 Blog as part of Publio’s Podcast Ecosystem™ distribution program.


This Week’s SMarketPlace™ Live: A Testament to the Power of H7


Join us live on LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook this Thursday at 1 PM ET for a conversation with professional interviewer, author, and podcast host Mark J. Carter, notably, also an H7 member:


Image promoting 03/07/2024 SMarketPlace episode featuring Mark J. Carter.



SMarketPlace: A Live Podcast Ecosystem™


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