06 Nov LinkedIn Diva Doesn’t Let RA Keep Her Down
Nicknamed “The LinkedIn Diva” by friend and business associate, Don Cooper, Lori Ruff is the third most connected woman on the social networking site, LinkedIn, and has been named to Forbes Top 10 Women Social Media Power Influencers and The Top 50 Overall Influencers…twice. But aside from her lofty professional life, Lori has another title; rheumatoid arthritis survivor.
Diagnosed almost three years ago, Lori has been very vocal about her arthritis because she made a promise to herself that she was not going to hold back; no topic would be off limits when it came to her disease.
“It was easier for me to be open and honest rather than try to remember where the line in the sand was,” Lori explained. “I’m vocal about my struggles and many people have responded either with encouragement, consolation, or with ‘thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.’”
Lori’s rheumatoid arthritis has spread throughout her body – neck, shoulders, arms, feet – literally from head to toe. According to her, the disease has made her significantly weaker physically, however the trade-off being that she has become stronger emotionally, believing that she can live the life she wants to. Even though she is sometimes wheelchair-bound, she still travels as much as she can for work to spread her message of hope and networking expertise.
Involved in networking from a young age, Lori joined LinkedIn in 2005 and was amazed at the opportunities it offered her and other professionals searching for jobs and making business connections. On the advice of a friend, based off of the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi, Lori began eating lunch with people, instead of by herself. This seemingly simple advice enable her business, Integrated Alliances, a LinkedIn consulting service, to grow 40% in its first year. As her brand and circle of contacts grew, she expanded on the social media platform, which gave her the opportunity to work outside of her region by leading professional speaking engagements.
“[I believe in social media] because I’ve seen the power of networking change lives,” she said. “There’s just so much opportunity to supercharge your networking with the technology.”
Lori’s platform of connections coupled with her expansive influence enables her to spread arthritis awareness and be a spokesperson for organizations promoting positive change. Currently she has chosen to support the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). Her support of the foundation’s mission to fund top scientists to find a cure for arthritis impacts her life and the lives of the millions suffering. The awareness she helps raise brings us one step closer to finding a cure. Lori’s belief in having the tenacity to power through hard times even when the odds are against you inspires everyone who hears her message.
If Lori could leave her audience with one message, it would be courage. Not only does she believe it is a powerful personality trait that can open doors, but she is positive that with it, a cure for arthritis will be found.
“I truly believe that it is because of my disease, rather than in spite of it, that I have reached the level of success that I have. Without the challenge, I’m just another diva-wannabe. But with it, I am Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, the woman who overcomes great challenges to deliver a message of hope and life.”
Lori encourages anyone who wants to learn more about her and social media to reach out to her with questions or comments. She’s not all that hard to find.
To share your arthritis story, contact KYLE!