June 17, 2010 | by WBadmin
Networking is like money well invested

CAG what? Caglick? Caggleick? C.A.G.L.C.C. is Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Our mission is to advocate, promote and facilitate the success of LGBT businesses, professionals and their allies in the Metro D.C. region. Formerly PEN (Potomac Executive Network,) a non-profit organization founded in 1990, we connect consumers to businesses, businesses to consumers, businesses to businesses and consumers to consumers. Generally speaking, we represent the interests of everyone in the LGBT workforce in the D.C. region and specifically, you.

This column is not a sales pitch. In tough economic times, strapped for cash, often fighting for survival, spending more money is low on the priority list. This bi-weekly community column aims to share the success stories of individuals and companies who’ve made business connections through CAGLCC, current events and CAGLCC programs.

Networking is like money well invested. In time, the pay off is big. Meet Justin Silvers. Ready to work on the Hill when he relocated to D.C. in 2005, he chose the private sector and real estate instead. A successful broker for Coldwell Banker in Dupont Circle, he attended the PEN 2005 annual awards dinner, which he saw as an opportunity to meet people in a relaxed social/business environment. Shortly thereafter, he turned up at a Networking Thursday (NT), a monthly event held at the City Club at that time, eager to meet people in another setting. That’s when he met Omar Karim, a Licensed Financial Specialist at Wachovia Bank and the two became instant best buddies. Eventually, Omar encouraged him to interview at Wachovia. Justin applied, interviewed and accepted a position as a Licensed Financial Specialist — a relationship manager for business and professional accounts.

Today, Justin also manages Wachovia’s P Street Branch in Logan Circle. In the upcoming months, this branch will be the first in the region to feature on-site, same-sex marketing. The key, Justin says, is to participate. “I tell my friends, some who are Chamber members, you have to attend events regularly to benefit. Participation is essential.”

The Triangle Business Advisory Council (TBAC,) is a sub-group of CAGLCC members that meets weekly to discuss challenges and opportunities in organizational behavior, client relations, best professional practices and topics of immediate and vital importance to business. Thomas Sanchez, web strategist and principal at Wamwaw, posed a question at our last meeting: “Is your website working for you?”

Sanchez’s advice is that you should be thinking first about who you are trying to reach and what message you are communicating. After you have made that determination, take a look at the new technology and see if it makes sense for your business. “Stay on target, on message, then you can be successful getting online.”

“It isn’t for everyone — Twitter and other social media — was my thought process,” says TBAC member Joe Rosenlicht of In Motion Coaching and Wellness. Rosenlicht admits that Thomas made him aware that by focusing on who you want to talk to rather than how to use the technology, social media makes more sense. “Now I can approach social media differently, more openly than I did.”

During Pride week, the NT was held at I.Gorman Jewelers on 20th Street, one of our community allies. In December of 2009, Mark Guenther, CAGLCC’s executive director, attended a One-In-Ten event held at I.Gorman where he met Adam Gorman, one of the owners. Common goals and common connections led to hosting us in June to “celebrate the beauty of the same-sex marriage bill passing in Washington, D.C.”

“It was a high-energy event, people had a great time and a good opportunity to forge mutually beneficial partnerships,” Guenther said. Engagement rings have already been purchased at I.Gorman.

Now for the quiz: can you remember what CAGLCC, PEN, NT, or TBAC stand for? Unlikely, but that’s OK. All you need to know is CAGLCC means business. Find out more at caglcc.org.

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