Business networking group goes beyond referralsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Relationship 2 Referral (R2R) Partners is a local business networking group that has been helping its members to achieve professional success for five years in the Toledo area.
R2R Partners started as a small group of eight professionals in 2005 and has grown to 28 members who meet twice monthly for the purpose of sharing strategic introductions, high-quality referrals and best business practices.
“It’s a relaxed professional atmosphere. We have fun but take it seriously,” said Phil Bollin, one of the founders at the group’s July meeting at The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. in Maumee.
Bollin, president of Bollin Wealth Management in Maumee, attributes the group’s success to its mission of “members helping members.”
Another founding member, Lisa Olvera, agrees that “our first thought is always how can we help you succeed in what you want to accomplish professionally.” Olvera is national sales manager for Creative Security Company Inc. that performs background checks on prospective employees for clients.
“We aren’t an organization that charges dues so we aren’t looking for members. It’s an exclusive group that involves a commitment” Bollin said.
Membership in R2R Partners is free. Members can invite guests from companies in desired business categories on visitor’s day held at one of its regular meetings.
“We purposefully limit our membership to those recommended who have a strong networking background and solid professional reputation,” Bollin said.
R2R Partners provides the opportunity to confidentially share opportunities to garner new business for members, according to Dan Briones, sales manager for Air Force One, a mechanical contracting firm in Perrysburg
“These are quality people helping other quality people to actively grow their respective companies. They can find all the necessary services within this group to start, set-up and be successful in business,” he said.
Briones credits landing three new clients to referrals he has obtained from other R2R members with whom he has developed business relationships since joining the group in 2008. It also provides opportunities for members to work together on business projects.
“My involvement in R2R has helped me to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with architect Jim Jarvis of HJT Design. Jim and I are able to work together successfully on projects taking them from theory to concept and installation,” said Briones.
“It’s very beneficial for us as we cross back and forth in our trades bringing clients as service businesses to people and companies due to our relationships,” said Jarvis.
It’s not all business for R2R Partners as the group celebrated its fifth anniversary with an outing at a Mud Hens game in June.
Members also perform community services by volunteering to help local organizations, according to another founding member, H.T. Williams of Key Recruiting in Perrysburg.
Williams said that the temporary side of the recruiting business has grown recently with the biggest demand in accounting, finances and information technology fields. He has helped other members find new employees when they need to expand their workforce.
“We get to know each other and our families, too,” said Pat DeCesare, a commercial lender with Directions Credit Union.
“We’re a business family that supports each other and I appreciate that kind of support,” said Olvera.
Members also invite their colleagues to business, community and social events that might be beneficial to them and the organizations holding the events. Olvera and other members attended a social event for human resources professionals July 14 in Findlay.
R2R Partners is run by a board of five members without any officers. The board includes Olvera, Julie Benzinger of Robinson, Curphey & O’Connell, a legal services firm; Tracy Rickman of FranNet, a franchise specialist; Leasa Maxx of Marketing & Design; and Andrew Spurling of Arrow Uniform Company.