A dozen years ago, a favorite customer of mine shared an interesting insight. He told me that engineers often want to get together with their peers outside of their company to build their network and learn from one another. I chuckled and mentioned that was why we hosted numerous events – such as suites to baseball games, basketball games, whiskey tastings, and more – which he rarely attended. His response seemed so obvious, yet I had been missing the main objective. He told me the following two things:
1) While there’s a place for games, lots of guys like him weren’t really interested in sports.
2) Engineers felt guilty leaving work or their families to go hang out with sales and other customers at just a fun event.
He provided a solution, “If you could get us together and help introduce us to one another and give us the plausible excuse of learning from one another or about new technology in a low-sales pressure environment, we will show up.”
With that, we created a series of “Connect and Protect” events. We hosted 40 – 60 customers 3 times per year to a networking hour where we made sure they were introduced to one another. Followed by dinner in a private space and provided three speakers from within the group to present on their latest challenge and solution. In a safe and peer approved environment, customers and our teams learned from one another and the next thing I knew all our customers were best friends and began hiring one another.
While the regularity of those types of events has petered out and been replaced by virtual events over the past two plus years, the lesson and clear value of bringing together people who authentically connect and uplevel one another was evident. I’ve heard the phrase “Your network is your net worth” countless times. It is in fact, quite true. “Proximity is power” is another one. How do you get close to the people who you admire, want to learn from and model in this digitally connected but physically and emotionally disconnected time?
In May of 2021 and 2022, CTS began these efforts with a new audience in mind. EmpowHER was an event we hosted with the intent of bringing together women of different backgrounds and generations to share their journeys and lessons learned along their, often bumpy, roads to success. We opened the floor to all attendees to chat featuring a live Q&A, providing access to brilliant minds and these incredible female leaders. The event was by women, but not only for women. It was nice to see men show up to participate in Q&A and gain some perspective from another’s vantage point.
I appreciate being part of an organization that provides a platform and invests in personal growth and leadership skills for customers, partners, and team members of every title. #BetterTogether