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Dr. Priscilla Schelp

Dr. Priscilla Schelp: Networking to be a Phenomenal Success

How do you meet people? It is a distinct factor that many people experience while exploring to connect with people outside of work. One obvious approach is to join a club that aligns with their interests and encounters the public with similar passions.

The next trouble becomes of finding a suitable club to join, but there is a distinct lack of transparency in the current club landscape. Which club has what activities, what are their entry requirements, what is the application process like, etc. There are many questions and not enough answers; calling or visiting every individual club becomes one more obstacle that holds busy adults back from signing up with a club. Also you cannot just call up a club but you need one or two current club members to recommend you so can visit or join a club.

Dr. Priscilla Schelp noticed this necessity and decided to develop networkx (, an AI-based platform that prequalifies and matches innovators, visionaries, and changemakers with exclusive clubs around the world.

On one hand, club applicants get equipped with the network they need to make their visions and ideas come to life, enabling them to contribute to the world and the future. On the other hand, networkx serves the legacy of the clubs to bring them into the future by providing them with younger, suitable, and motivated members to revitalize them and enable healthy expansion while maintaining exclusivity and staying true to their purpose. Dr. Schelp got into one of the best German management clubs at the age of 19 by winning a Junior Management Award. Her consulting work takes her around the globe, where she has joined several amazing clubs in various countries.

Besides being the CEO at networkx, Dr. Schelp also serves as a Connection & Community Building Consultant specializing in helping clients build and maintain world-class networks & communities tailored to their industries. She offers consultations to executives on improving company culture, team collaboration, and employee satisfaction and retention, providing actionable guidance that results in a boost to overall firm performance.

Dr. Schelp is passionate about helping clients feel more confident in communicating and connecting with others, as well as addressing their personal and professional worries and needs. She was the lead author on the bestselling networking book named, “Become your Superself: Connect with Yourself to Connect with Others.”

In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, Dr. Priscilla Schelp shares her journey of success despite her challenges with ADD; how she uses trust, freedom, and a flexible leadership style to lead at networkx; and how networkx is transforming the clubbing industry.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Briefly describe your professional journey up until now

My professional journey started quite early. I was always a fan of taking an active role. I began with voluntary work at the age of 16 and joined the political trainee program of Germany’s conservative party at 17. Throughout my professional life, I volunteered to work with various groups that also partially mixed or ran in parallel with my main professional position.

By the age of 19, I had already received my first management award from one of Germany’s most prestigious management clubs and have joined multiple clubs around the world since then. I also placed particular emphasis on learning throughout my professional career, undertaking master’s and doctorate degrees, incubators, accelerator programs, and reading anything I could find on subjects that interested me. In total, I received 9 scholarships, not because of my grades (they were good, but due to my ADD, which was not amazing), but thanks to my strong will, passion, and the impact I had already made at such a young age.

Regarding my main job, I was an employee for most of my life. I started in consulting in 2012, quickly finding my focus on risk management consulting for boards of large companies (Enterprise Risk Management – ERM) and risk management for large construction projects or NGOs across the globe.

A few years later, I was lucky to join a consulting firm as a manager that also wanted to build up a venture capital fund. Even though I did not have a background in this, I ended up being the manager of a team of 15 people. Working in VC was an eye-opener. Everything I had previously done at work felt dull and boring.

By chance, I later became a moderator in politics. I learned a lot there. Even though I interviewed interesting people, such as the vice president of the European Parliament, members of various governments, opposition leaders, and diplomats, event moderation did not pay enough to live off, so I took a job as a manager at an Automotive supplier. They allowed me to continue with my moderation and my doctorate. In mid-2021, I had the idea for my start-up, and I have successfully built it up since then. At the same time, I was also appointed to my first board position with a well-regarded foundation. This eventful year was completed by earning my Doctorate in Risk Management in the UK and publishing my first bestseller book.

What challenges did you face along the way?

I had to deal with many challenges, especially because I started in consulting when I was quite young – at around 19. Board members were mostly male and older. I had to quickly learn how to be taken seriously. I faced several challenges in The Big 4 firms. Their focus is very much on making zero mistakes, and they are very detail oriented. In lower professional grades, it is a lot about creating pretty and flawless documents—especially Power Points. I was great conceptionally, but this was not valued. I was always driven by a fear of mistakes, and my strengths did not help me much in that regard.

A partner at a firm once told me, “Priscilla, you will make a great manager or partner. However, you cannot skip levels; you have to go through these lower ones.” I learned how to discipline myself and focus on details – I learned to improve my weaknesses and lead the way my bosses did. The Big 4 are not companies that allow you a lot of freedom or creativity. When I later got into Venture Capital, it made me see how the previous culture had inhibited me. My boss gave me lots of trust and freedom. This enabled me to live off my strength and develop my own leadership and working style. It was a liberation; I could be myself at work and leverage my strength instead of hiding my weaknesses.

What significant impact have you brought to your industry?

You could say my start-up networkx brings digitalization to the club industry – if you want to call it that. But more importantly, networkx protects the clubs’ legacy and prepares the clubs for the future. It automates sourcing and preselection of club applicants for the clubs. networkx main contribution is rejuvenating clubs and increasing diversity and inclusion in clubs around the world. In simple words, we bring amazing, young, diverse, good-hearted, passionate, and purpose-driven people into the clubs.

Tell us about networkx GmbH and its foundation pillar.

networkx is a lead generation platform for exclusive clubs such as business, private member, service, polo, golf, yacht, automobile, arts and more. It helps clubs thereby solve their overaging, diversity & inclusion, financial, growth and expansion problems by sourcing and qualifying suitable candidates for the clubs.

How does networkx promotes workforce flexibility, and what is your role in it?

We are very flexible and operate globally. We have people working from home and sometimes from our clubs. We do not have an established office. You see, I have ADD, when I work on the right things in my way, I literally have superpowers. I believe it is like that for most people. I do not believe in working hours; I believe in achieving objectives in a trust-based culture.

Amazing people are the most important thing in my life, and I see great people as human gemstones. I am grateful to work with many of these. Every person is different and needs different things. I do not believe in one leadership style. I have values, but I adjust my style based on the need and preferences of each person.

I believe in great people, in trust, kindness, passion, and purpose. The people that I want to work with or network with also want that intrinsically, so I do not push them. I select well, and then I trust that they know in which way they can work best.

What is your take on technology’s importance, and how are you leveraging it?

Our value is not the technology networkx brings; for us, technology is an enabler. We are a platform, and this platform enables us to scale. Also, with machine learning and AI, we are getting better and better at analyzing and improving clubs as ecosystems and communities.

What will be the next significant change in your industry, and how are you preparing for it?

The club industry, if you want to call it that, is a very old and established sector. People have always met and formed groups – even though they might not have called them clubs. Meeting physically is something quite traditional. Most clubs are behind in digitalization and have only had their first push because of COVID, when many clubs at least partially switched to virtual meetings.

I think clubs are now keen to digitalize; they need a backup plan to adjust their club and keep it alive in case something like COVID happens again (virtual and mixed meetings). To be hipper, some clubs are now looking at the metaverse, NFTs, etc. Also, trends such as diversity, inclusion, and sustainability will need to be addressed following requirements by law or individuals. The sustainability trend especially applies to event sponsors. Clubs will only get events sponsored if they and their events are contributing to the SDG goals.

However, I believe the biggest trend will be collaboration and co-creation between clubs and also clubs and their members – in the real and digital world.

What are your goals in the upcoming future?

With networkx, we want to continue making the club applicants and clubs we work with happy. We also want to publish more material that helps people to build up a world class network! We want to further expand and internationalize. We are holding our first networkx awards at the National Polo Championship at the Polopark Berlin in cooperation with “Polo & Lifestyle the London Magazine,” and the Red Club. We are looking forward to that becoming a success!

What advice would you like to give the next generation of aspiring business leaders?

Start your first business as early as you can. You can do it, just get started! When I was young, I never considered being a founder; I only saw this huge responsibility and financial risk. I knew I needed to get experience and big names in my CV too. But my advice is to think big and just start! Network as early as you can. You don’t have to be experienced and successful to have a great network; it is the other way around; you need a great network to make your dreams come true!