It's been over 5 years since we built the WindsorEssex Circle networking group. Thanks to our co-founder Joe DiGiorgio for inspiring this networking idea.
How the Circle started
Joe is a "machine" when it comes to business and networking. He was inspirational in his quest to form a networking group to introduce each other to business associates. I added my touch to the format and used LinkedIn to form the WindsorEssex Circle name and to create the group. We sent invitations to those following us to join the group.
Within two days, we had over 40 people in the group and decided to have our first monthly meeting. The agenda was a very simple one and remained true throughout, known as the "successful formula" to connect like-minded people, ask each other to tell their story, create opportunities and friendship.
One of my mandates was to invite those who have never networked before, to teach them how to shake hands, ask the other person their story, tell their own story and to be the host making everyone feel welcomed.
Many tried to change the "successful formula" and I was firm on this issue. We did change things a bit over time, however, the core agenda was adhered to. We held the Circle Speakers series as a pilot project and I enjoyed telling my story when presented the opportunity.
Thanks to Lora Crestan and Margaret Stiers Jacobs for being our initial members and for helping us shape the Circle. There are so many great friends and associates to thank for all their support, promoting the group and attending the events. Thank you to all of you and I am very blessed to have so many like-minded people who care so much.
Our last meeting was on Boblo last week and it was such a beautiful night. If you have not been on Boblo in recent years, it is worth the trip by ferry or with your own boat. Island living right in our back yard!
We have made a lot of friends, connections, had great discussions and created Opportunities for each other. Congrats to all of you!
It's been such an honour to be inspirational in encouraging others to start their own networking groups and watching them succeed. Keep networking and stay in touch via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter @frankabbruzzese and on Facebook.
There are a lot of good stories from the Circle and here is one of my favourites.
A young couple heard about the Circle from a friend and decided to check it out. He was losing his job in a month which was just before Christmas and his wife was due with their first baby in January. I asked their story and encouraged him to submit a resume to AlphaKOR. HR interviewed him and hired him on our Team one day before his baby was born!
Brian thanked me for helping him. I let him know it was all him since he made the choice to attend the Circle that night. Brian's been on our Team for 1.5 years now!
For now this part of my Circle journey is taking a break and stay tuned for more Circles in the future. Thank you everyone for making a difference.