Waident Peer Advisory Groups
Years ago, someone told me to start my own networking group and invite all of the brilliant and opinionated people I know to attend. I am not a big fan of "networking" events and wanted to do something different. My experience is that these traditional networking events hold little value to most of the people who go to them. Creating an event and atmosphere where people can sit around a table and share/debate ideas and help each other seemed like a better alternative.
Every month Waident holds Peer Advisory group events - one in the Chicago loop and the other in the western suburbs. These are not traditional networking events. No one is running around handing out their business cards and telling everyone they meet to buy their stuff. The format is simple - get about 12 to 15 executives and business owners together and have one of them be the guest speaker to discuss whatever is on their mind.
The prerequsite to get in the room is that everyone holds the same philisophy as the group - be a smart opinionated executive that understands the concept of being a connector and helping others when possible. These are invite only events.
The current groups consist of a broad spectrum of experience and businesses. We have of course the technology executives, but many of the members are from legal, marketing, business consulting, recruiting, telecom, insurance, investing, and accounting to name a few.
The outcome of this is that we have a very deep and robust set of partners to turn to for any of our clients' needs. Not only can we bring the best partner to a project, but we have also leveraged our relationships to get new business for our clients. When was the last time your technology firm brough new revenue to your organization?