It’s one thing for individuals to understand and believe in the power of networking. It’s quite another to discover organizations that are on board with this concept and not only encourage their associates to engage in the practice, but who actually invest in their team members’ participation.
Recently, I learned about a really cool membership group that has been established by the amazing National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City called The Modernists. Essentially, this is an eclectic group of professionals, aged 20-40 (in body and spirit!), from throughout the metro area who come together to support the organization and engage with one another in networking. Over the past two years, more than 400 young professionals have joined the group to gain unlimited access to the Museum, network at the group’s monthly happy hours and engage in professional development. In fact, in addition to its regular programs and events, these innovative young friends of the organization recently crafted and implemented a successful fundraising event called the Modern Gala!
In talking with Emma Priesendorf, Individual Giving Specialist at the National World War I Museum and Memorial who also oversees The Modernists, I wondered how the group has become so accomplished in such a short period of time. She shared that one real game changer for The Modernists was when the local office of State Street Corporation approached the Museum to say that it would sponsor The Modernists’ activities for the year, as well as memberships for their young employees.
I remain impressed that the Museum has come up with such a vibrant way to engage young professionals and further impressed that a local organization has put its money where its mouth is to both support an organization it believes in and support its associates as they establish and build their individual relationship bases in the community.
And, it doesn’t take a ton of effort to make these investments. I’ll never forget, one of the coolest moves I ever witnessed was when my buddy, Gordon Braun, Managing Director at Protiviti, a provider of business and technology consulting services, brought me in to deliver a Networking Workshop to his lead team. At the end of the event, he said aloud to all of his colleagues, “I am expressly giving you permission to get out in the community and take people out for breakfasts, lunches and coffees in order to build relationships. I will pay for those meals and drinks. And, don’t worry, I’ll let you know if we ever get to the point where you are spending too much of the firm’s money.” Wow! Talk about a game-changer.
Does your firm invest in networking? It’s not just about money, it’s about walking the talk. Encouraging and enabling associates to both attend events and to facilitate interactions has long-term, very positive ramifications for both the organizations that do this and the individuals who bring the vision to life. Please take a moment to share your company’s story at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.