Meet Up With Around Arlington Business Networking
Group organizer Rich Claypool, took some time to chat with Mansfield Magazine about the group, the way it serves the Mansfield/Arlington communities and how you can get involved.
Mansfield Magazine: When did the group come about? How did you/the founders come up with the idea to put it together? How has it evolved over its lifespan?
Rich Claypool: April 2014. This weekly networking group started when myself and three others were invited by Brad Yarborough to a Friday morning coffee meetup, and when the event was over I was volunteered to start a networking group. Myself and Loreita Holladay started this and here we are, seven months later, and close to 130 members, we average 20-30 each week. We have been able to refer others to members of the group. I have become friends with a few where my wife and I will hang out with them on the weekends.
When we started this group I wanted [it] to have the following philosophies: 1. This was about creating relationships; 2. People refer and do business with those they know, like, and trust; 3. This wasn’t a lead-generation meeting, to go sell your product/service to members of the group. Now through building relationships the group has done business within the group. The women of this group have been able to get additional exposure to their business by attending our Wine, Women and Wealth event. For more information, go to meetup.com/Around-Arlington-Business-Networking/
Claypool: AABN is strictly a business networking event. We have the group set up where we encourage each member to do what we call a one-on-one opportunity to get to know someone in the group and how they can help you. This event has the following activities:
1. We mingle
2. Each member and guest has an opportunity for their 30 second to a minute commercial to present in front of the group
3. We have a 10-minute presenter
4. Thank you’ s and announcements
5. We meet somewhere for breakfast, currently at IHOP.
MM: If I'm a newbie and want to get involved, how do I go about doing it? What benefits does each group serve its members?
Claypool: You can find us on Meetup, meetup.com/Around-Arlington-Business-Networking/; Facebook, facebook.com/groups/aroundarlingtonbusiness/; or you can be added to our invite list by emailing me at email@example.com. The benefits can be numerous. A few would be additional exposure to one’s business. Marketing and branding experts helping and giving free advice on how to help market and brand your business both on and off line. Relationship’s, both professional and personal. What my wife and I have found is a bunch of new friends as well.
MM: What is the most interesting thing you've learned through these endeavors?
Claypool: How many different business opportunities are out there, and the passion and excitement each person has for their product and/or service.
MM: Tell us more about your personal business and local efforts.
Claypool: [I am] a well-qualified, success-focused sales and marketing professional with expertise in educating clients on financial services and consumer products and recommending best options to meet their needs, and building high performance teams with an emphasis on the complete satisfaction of the customer while ensuring increased revenue for the company. A self-starter and strong leader, [I am] able to communicate professionally, make sound business decisions, build long-term relationships with clients; and adapt to new and challenging work environments through knowledge, initiative, energy and teamwork.
[My key strengths [are]: Sales/account management, business development, client relations, strategic planning, communication, lead generation, leadership skills, team building, personnel management, recruiting/staffing, training and development, coaching/mentoring, goal setting, problem solving, budgeting management, financial planning, profit and loss accountability, presentation skills, interpersonal skills, and observation skills.
[I have a] marketing degree from Kansas State University. Seven years [ago], I opened and ran a residential mortgage office focusing on the purchase and mortgage refinance markets. [I] evaluated hundreds of residential loans ranging from $50,000 to $700,000 and structured loans to meet client needs.
[I] personally originated mortgage loans and hired, trained and developed a team of loan officers, resulting in becoming the number one office for the company. [I] marketed [and] branded the Dundee Mortgage name through direct mail campaigns, radio advertising, newspaper ads, plasma running ad in the mall, networking with other chamber of commerce member; plus referrals from banks and realtors.
I have 21 years of experience in the insurance, credit, mortgage, retirement, investment and financial services industry.
MM: What are your plans with your groups in 2015? Goals/events/new ideas?
Claypool: Grow 3-4 Leaders so they can start their own networking groups.
MM: What makes Mansfield/South Arlington special to you in terms of your business life and career? How about the members of your group?
Claypool: My wife and I moved here a little over four years ago. We want to serve those down our street, in our neighborhood, in our city. I want to spend my money with the small business person where I live, this not only helps them, but helps our community economically as a whole. I believe if I take the lead then others will follow. We want to be involved in others’ lives right here in the Mansfield/Arlington area. This is where we bank, shop, live, go to church, our kids go to school. We are invested into this community and we have a financial and professional interest as well as a personal interest to serve those we live and work with.
MM: What other information would you like to pass along? Parting words for the community?
Claypool: I have to give Dawn Craig credit. She attended our Wine, Women and Wealth and Money 101 the first month we started doing these, and she was the one who recommended we start putting the free dinner and WWW events on meetup.
If you looking for something different and unique and want to meet more people for either professional or personal reasons let us know. If we can help you with auto, home, life, commercial trucking Insurance, IRA, 401K, student loan reduction, credit restoration, business financing, or debt settlements, feel free to contact us for a free, one-on-one consultation.
We have two locations: 2770 main Street #255, Frisco TX 75034, or 3421 Avenue D, Arlington, TX 76011.
Do you or someone you know participate in this group? Share your photos and experiences in the comments below. Contact us if you are a part of a different group and would like to be featured.
Check back again next week for an exclusive on the aforementioned Wine, Women and Wealth group, and the free dinner and financial wellness workshop event.