How LinkedIn changed someone’s life in a way you couldn’t predict

by Alexa on December 6, 2010

I have the great privilege of helping people in career transition leverage social media to help achieve their professional goals, whether it’s finding a new job or starting their own business.  It is especially rewarding when concepts really resonate, the proverbial light bulbs shining brightly in clients’ eyes as they absorb new ideas. And, when I’m lucky, a client will come back to me with tales of successfully applied learnings.

But I never expected this kind of story.

I have kept in semi-regular contact with Thomas Schulz*, a client who attended each of my seminars.  Recently he emailed me a story and asked I share with future students. He said,

“Last week my father got in touch with me for the first time in 15 years because of LinkedIn.”

Thomas and his father had a rocky relationship since his parents separated when he was eight. Fifteen years ago during their last heated conversation Thomas told his dad never to contact him again. Thomas subsequently regretted this, recalling more of the good things his father had done rather than the bad.

In the mean time his father had returned to his native country of Germany where he reconnected with his second wife and son, Thomas’s half brother, who was two years old the last time Thomas saw him.

Over the years Thomas had tried looking up his father, brother, and stepmother several times without success.  Looking for a Schulz in Germany is like looking for a Lee in China.

It was the LinkedIn account Thomas set up which made it possible for his brother to find him and his father to reach out.  As Thomas said, “it speaks to your advice that you have to share enough to be found!”

Thomas is now planning a trip to Germany to reunite with his family.

LinkedIn is great for doing business. Who knew it was also a catalyst for reconnecting family?

* Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

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