For Charlotteans looking to forge business relationships and build networks, a new opportunity is on the horizon.
The Myers Park Breakfast Club will hold its inaugural event at the Duke Mansion on Wednesday. The 7 a.m. meeting will feature former Major League Baseball player and manager Pete Rose.
Brandon Lowery, CEO of Converge Communication Technologies and one of the founders of the networking group, said he and co-founder Bill Albaugh felt there was a need for such an organization in Charlotte because it’s a relationship-based town.
“You get business by helping other businesses get their business,” he said.
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Albaugh, CEO of Carolina Digital Solutions, said the organization plans to hold about 20 events a year. Eight will feature sports-related keynote speakers, who can talk of the importance of building a team, while monthly members-only meetings will focus on sharing business strategies and tips for success.
Wednesday’s event will be open to the public, for a $150 fee, to provide an opportunity to get a glimpse of the Myers Park Breakfast Club before paying full membership dues, Albaugh said.
Lowery said so far, he and Albaugh have begun growing their membership by recruiting people they already know and trust. They’re now searching for new members, primarily “business owners that can think business philosophy,” he said.
“There’s a lot of folks sitting out there on the bench that really don’t know where to go,” Lowery said. “They’ve been a part of networking events and groups that have been marginally successful, but we want to create one that’ll be extremely successful.”
The Myers Park club will join a host of other Charlotte-area networking groups. The Hood Hargett Breakfast Club, which started in 2006, also holds eight breakfast events each year, according to its website. The club has hosted a diverse array of speakers, ranging from Panthers coach Ron Rivera to retired neurosurgeon and conservative speaker and columnist Ben Carson.
There’s also the Ballantyne Breakfast Club, which is similarly named but serves a different function. Founder Ray Eschert said the Ballantyne meetings – held about six times a year – are free, open to the public and are focused on creating discussion between community members and public officials.
Albaugh said there wasn’t any competition between the groups because there’s plenty of room for them all.
“I just love the game of connections,” he said. “It’s a sport. It makes business fun.”