In my last column, I discussed ways that you can make networking more engaging and more meaningful.  Today, I’m highlighting this philosophy in action.

From a conversation with Chip Royce, Danny Rosin and Keith Langbo, an idea was developed: “What if we created a networking event that encourages deeper conversations, with a purpose?”

Fred Hathaway, executive director, We Will Walk With You, sharing the non-profit’s mission

This idea came to fruition last week in Raleigh. The art of purposeful networking occurred in the form of an event that was not about exchanging business cards and asking for business, but about forging connections that matter.

More than 20 executives gathered at Kelaca in North Raleigh for curated networking, paying it forward to a spotlight non-profit organization, and developing new connections (and reigniting old ones).

Fred Hathaway, executive director of the spotlight non-profit, We Will Walk With You, shared its mission to provide training and services for developmentally disabled young adults through a partnership with the YMCA of the Triangle.

“LinkedIn Live provided a great opportunity to share our mission with professionals whose focused networking serves our community as strategic connections are made,” Hathaway said.

Host Keith Langbo graciously provided Kelaca’s Community Room as the venue. This space, located on the first floor of their building, was designed and built to host events that can bring the community together.

Joe Navaro, owner of The Growth Academy

“It was wonderful to see so many members of our community paying it forward and networking in our new Community Room,” Langbo said. This is exactly what we envisioned when building the new space.”

Joe Navaro, owner of Growth Academy and an event sponsor added, “We are all on the same journey — trying to connect, develop relationships and be better people. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do.”

The highlight of the evening was curated networking, where participants broke up into small groups for table discussions. It was a chance for them to get to know each other better and discuss issues they faced. The discussions lasted over an hour, with many lingering after the event ended.

For me, this is the epitome of networking with a purpose. While casual networking is okay, there is so much more to gain when you are intentional.

About Chuck Hester

Chuck Hester is the co-founder and managing partner of A Purpose Partnership, a marketing and business consulting firm that works with clients to kickstart their success. 

During his 35-year career, Chuck has worked with numerous small- and medium-sized businesses, with a highlight having served on the iContact executive team that grew the company to $50 million in sales and exited at $169 million.