DEAR HARRIETTE: I met a woman at a conference I attended and learned that she has years of experience in the business I just got involved in. Once I learned that, I basically stalked her. Every time we saw each other, I asked her as many questions as I could so that I could learn from her. I feel like I may have turned her off, but I didn't want her to leave without gaining wisdom from her. I really do hope that we can stay in touch. How can I smooth things over as I reach out to her to keep the conversation going? -- Wannabe, Miami
DEAR WANNABE: Send this woman a thank-you note, telling her how grateful you are to have met her. Acknowledge that you know you were a bit pushy -- admit that you were just excited to meet someone in your field. Ask her if she would be willing to mentor you. Be specific in your request. Ask if she would talk to you several times a year about your business. Ask if she would be willing to give you advice if you come upon a professional stumbling block. Thank her in advance for considering your request. Then back off until you hear from her.