Tonya York is president of York Management, Inc. which specializes in business and economic development related conference, project and event planning, as well as a special occasion and sporting events. Notable projects include Idea Festival, Louisville Healthcare CEO Council CareTech Pitch Event, Louisville Innovation Summit, Inc. 500 Conference, Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, and events around Ryder Cup, Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby.

As the head of York Management, Tonya has built a reputation and ability for years, creating success and lasting impact for companies and brands. Tonya and her team love to create events that serve as opportunities to bring people together to foster synergies, memories, and new business. 

Tonya serves on the University of Louisville Board of Overseers. She is a board member of Blessings in a Backpack and the Family Community Clinic. She also co-founded the Unbridled Charitable Foundation, Inc. and the Unbridled Eve Derby Gala with her sister Tammy York Day. Unbridled is one of the premier events centered around the world-renowned Kentucky Derby.

"Proper networking can be amazingly beneficial to both your business and inadvertently your personal life.  Look at it as a positive activity and not an unwanted necessity”.

So, how does this hectic, connected woman balance all her networking opportunities, as well as stay front and center in some of the most prominent organizations in Louisville?


1. Networking is a two-way street. Just as you have people you want to meet, the same goes for others. Be open to meeting with legitimate people who contact you and want to connect even if you don’t know them. You never know what will come out of a meeting. Many mutually beneficial relationships are a product of solid networking.

2. Be Present. Be a good listener, ask questions, and be genuinely interested. Networking is about talking, yes, but it’s most important to listen and connect with others. Be attentive when others speak; it allows them to be heard, and your interest in what they have to say can create bonds.

3. Stay curious. Create connections with others based on shared interests and goals but be open to new ideas.

4. Be yourself. Knowing who you are and where you stand on issues and in life, shows confidence. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Authentic relationships are built when people get to know the real you.

5. Pick a day. Although networking is 24/7, choose one day of the week to schedule the majority of your networking meetings and events. I personally like Thursdays.

6. Stay humble, courteous, and respectful. This can be the most undervalued and critical tip in networking. Help the other person succeed; it’s not always about you.

7. Always follow up. Sending a handwritten note, follow up email or text keeps the relationship going. Mentioning something personal about the person or conversation builds rapport with the person(s) you met.

8. Share your passion.  If you believe in your product or service and are passionate about it, it comes through!  Try to tell a compelling story about something involving what you do.  This will often inspire the other person to do the same.

Posted on 2019-08-05 by Taylor Riley | Photo by Dick Arnspiger