July 16, 2010

NCBR events connect business community

“See and be seen.” Words to live by in the networking arena.

As an attendee of most of the events put on by the Northern Colorado Business Report for the past decade or so, I have built much of my career around people I’ve met while sipping cocktails and schmoozing with the movers and shakers of the local business community.

I’ve watched as NCBR has continued to up the ante on events, making them bigger, brighter, more interactive and more high-impact. The standout in my mind is the evolution of Bixpo (Sept. 16 at the Embassy Suites Loveland this year, by the way).

The first Bixpo in 2005 was an unknown. NCBR‘s first marketing and events manager Jim Rath labored mightily for many months and performed miracles, booking big-name speakers including Donald Trump and Rudy Guiliani, but mumblings around the community offered little insight into what this ambitious event was to offer. What sort of business opportunities would there be?

As I wandered through the exhibits at the still-new Larimer County Fairgrounds, I met many companies I hadn’t even heard of before. This was their shining moment to showcase their wares and interact with the general public of our region. I left with my bagful of goodies and chalked it up to being a tradeshow; never did I think it would evolve into what it is today – essential.

This and other NCBR events offer abundant reasons for us to come together and talk business – or not – and really see who’s out there. Who is our competition? What does Northern Colorado have to offer? Bixpo, in particular, has become more than a tradeshow; it’s now a staple in how we work together. It’s our chance to show and tell, see and be seen.

Like Bixpo, the events that have become synonymous with the NCBR brand – the Mercury 100 fastest-growing companies in the region, the Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards, the Economic Forecast luncheon – have evolved to fill niches previously unoccupied in Northern Colorado.

Business recognition

Back in the day, our region didn’t really recognize businesses for doing business the right way. Each year, one or two companies would receive awards for their philanthropic contributions, but NCBR shifted the focus back onto contributions to the business community.

I was actually on one of the first Mercury 100 lists – way down there, for sure, but nevertheless, I was honored and very motivated to be part of the awards ceremony. Even better, at that event I met someone who would become one of my all-time favorite recruiting clients. He and I spent the evening telling jokes and discussing life outside of business, which led to a tremendous mutually beneficial business relationship as I assisted him in building his company, one employee at the time.

Yes, I have also had the privilege of being a Bravo! nominee several times, but more important, I’ve had the opportunity to see so many of my colleagues and clients honored for their truly remarkable efforts in giving back to their people, our community and the world at large. Categories like “Emerging Entrepreneur” celebrate the innovative and intriguing nature of our businesspeople and offer something to strive for. Seeing people I know being recognized for the blood, sweat and tears they have put into their companies has been incredible.

What would our community look like without all of these chances to mingle, celebrate and connect? It is my appreciation of these opportunities that keeps me signing on to attend events and grow my network. Now, years into it, it’s like seeing family, but in a good way. You know who is going to be there and you look forward to engaging again with those who have helped you along the way and supported you even through tough times. The fraternal nature of these events is what keeps me coming back and I cannot fathom what my work life would be without them.

NCBR events offer me – an admitted social butterfly and full-fledged participant in the community – everything I need to be successful: a chance to connect. By meeting new people and nurturing relationships, I add value to my personal and professional life. I realize not everyone lives on this level of social engagement, but I truly believe there is something for everyone at NCBR events. Maybe you engage with just one to two people, but you create solid foundations with them that last and grow for years to come.

Social entrepreneur Dawn Duncan has appeared in the pages of NCBR since 1998, was a member of the Class of 2004 Forty Under 40, and now works as senior account manager for A-Train Marketing in Fort Collins.

“See and be seen.” Words to live by in the networking arena.

As an attendee of most of the events put on by the Northern Colorado Business Report for the past decade or so, I have built much of my career around people I’ve met while sipping cocktails and schmoozing with the movers and shakers of the local business community.

I’ve watched as NCBR has continued to up the ante on events, making them bigger, brighter, more interactive and more high-impact. The standout in my mind is the evolution of Bixpo (Sept. 16 at the Embassy Suites Loveland this year,…

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