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New networking initiative underway in region

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The first Valley Networking event was held at Artisan Wine and Cheese Cellars in Bethlehem.
The first Valley Networking event was held at Artisan Wine and Cheese Cellars in Bethlehem. - (Photo / )

In an effort to expand networking opportunities to business executives and decision makers in the region, a new series of networking events recently made its debut in the Lehigh Valley.

Valley Networking, a series of events where Lehigh Valley businesses can connect with other local businesses in an informal atmosphere, was created by Dave Rabenold, regional vice president of Primerica in Allentown.

The networking events were designed to give Lehigh Valley decision makers the opportunity to meet and develop mutually beneficial business relationships to expand economic growth in the region.

“We wanted to create a networking opportunity where business owners could meet on a social basis,” Rabenold said.

The purpose of these events is to make sure people are connecting as well as socializing.

Rabenold is tracking the results.

“After the event is over, we follow up with the attendees to get their feedback,” he said. “We want to know what they thought of the event and what suggestions they have.

“Once we find out that, we can figure out what business owners and executives they should be connecting with. And we then try to link them together at future events.”

The events will be hosted at several locations throughout the Lehigh Valley.

“These events are designed to mix things up,” Rabenold said.

The first Valley Networking event recently was held in Bethlehem at Artisan Wine and Cheese Cellars. The next is Tuesday evening at Ann Taylor at the Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall Township.

“I liked the event. It was a good mix of people from a variety of businesses,” said Joe McDermott of McDermott Communications in Allentown, who attended the first event.

“I think it’s good to move the event around to different locations because it will encourage both steady attendance by many and a mix of new participants, depending on the site,” he said.

“Any and all networking is critical to small business, especially in a relatively small area such as the Lehigh Valley,” McDermott said. “Any opportunity to get out and actually meet potential clients and business partners helps to expand your reach, and anything that helps you get to know another owner or decision maker helps build the relationships that often lead to more business for both sides.”

And while each event is geared toward specific business owners and executives, the diversity of the events will give opportunity to all business sectors across the board, organizers said.

“This will be a great opportunity for women in business to connect,” Rabenold said of this week’s event at Ann Taylor. “We want to show that all of our events will give the opportunity to everyone in business in the Lehigh Valley.”

The intent also is to get young professionals to attend and network with the people holding the positions they one day hope to fill.

“There’s a slight twist to it all,” Rabenold said. “While our primary focus is on connecting business leaders, we are looking for young people that want to become business leaders to attend these events and connect with business professionals.

“We want them to see first-hand who these people are and give them the chance to meet them and talk about the businesses that make the local economy thrive.”

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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