Last May I was kicking back with Lewis Howes at a Chicago Cubs game, not knowing in two weeks time I would be doing the same thing with another colleague, Jude LaRose. Still digesting the LinkedIn knowledge Lewis dropped on me, Jude and I ended up not paying much attention to the play on the field and instead spent most of the time hatching a plan.
In working with LinkedIn, I have started to see the value in being a part of different groups and organizations that can benefit my career. With a desire to become more actively involved, we decided to start a group in Chicago for sports professionals working in the area.
The following day we launched the Chicago Sports Business Professionals group on LinkedIn, inviting all local connections we had within the industry. The group quickly began to grow, and we decided to supplement the online networking with live events. The next step involved asking one of our good friends and colleagues (and networking guru), Lindsey Nealis, to help us with our new venture.
Since Lindsey’s arrival we have hosted three controlled events, each with around 40-60 guests. With each event, the group has grown and word has spread further. After six months and three events, the LinkedIn group has more than 300 members. The members all work in the Chicagoland sports industry – representing front office employees from every Chicagoland professional and minor league sports team, Northwestern University, various sports law firms, sponsorship agencies, and local media.
The connections and relationships formed have been great. As Mr. Howes mentioned in his book, “It isn’t who you know, but who knows you.” I would reason one could take it a step further and add, “How do they know you?” I have found many great resources within our group and believe the others involved share in the sentiment.
“We are excited to provide a group for sports industry professionals to share ideas and best practices, trade resources, and form lasting relationships,” said Lindsey.
A former Chicago colleague Mark Washo, who now resides in Washington D.C. has recently kick started a similar spin-off group in D.C. Follow Mark on Twitter @Breakintosports. If you are in the area, reach out to him!
Lindsey, Jude and I look forward to an exciting 2010 as we continue to meet new people and build relationships with those in the town we call home – Chicago.
* Jude LaRose is currently a Senior Account Executive with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Prior to working with the Wolves, Jude was with the Chicago Rush of the AFL where he holds the record for most new season tickets sold in the franchise’s history, was a three-time Discover Card Arena Football League Salesperson of the Month, and recognized as the number two account executive in the AFL in sales for the 2007-2008 season. You can follow Jude on Twitter @judelarose or Link Up on LinkedIN
* Lindsey Nealis has been with the Chicago White Sox for 4 years, and is currently the Coordinator of Client Services and Group & Party Area Sales. Prior to working with the Sox, Lindsey attended Indiana University Alum where she played Division I Field Hockey. You can follow Lindsey on Twitter @lindseynealis or Link up on LinkedIN