Photographer / Belinda Russell
Brian Bodenhamer, director of the Geist Networking Lunch Club, says he is very proud of the way the networking group has grown over the last six years.
“We have really been able to synergize by working together,” Bodenhamer says during a recent lunch meeting at Detour American Grille. “We now have 20-plus members. In the beginning, we started with just three people. We grew through positive word-of-mouth marketing.”
Bodenhamer adds that the group of local business leaders meet every Friday from 11:45 a.m. -1 p.m.
“We have all helped each other get more business, but beyond that, we have become friends,” Bodenhamer says. “These people have seen me at my best and worst. We have all really helped each other over the years.”
When the group started in May 2013, Bodenhamer says the goal was the same as it is today: to support, build and advance the local economy by assisting each other’s businesses and those businesses that are essential to the local economy. The club regularly meets at Detour American Grille, 10158 Brooks School Road, Indianapolis, and other locations.
“The group is free, and that’s one of the things that has really has helped us grow,” Bodenhamer says. “Since we started, everyone in the group has made valuable contacts and seen their businesses grow.”
Cathi Hartzell, a broker/associate with Geist Realty, says the group had an overwhelmingly positive impact on her life.
“I used to be the manager at the UPS business near here, and I loved my customers and met a lot of great people,” Hartzell says. “I joined the group, and Brian encouraged me to be an entrepreneur. I also met Josh McNair (who co-founded the Geist Networking Lunch Club), and I later became a Realtor. Josh, Brian and the group really changed my life. The group really works.”
Tyler LaRochelle, with Northwestern Mutual Financial Planning, says the group is continually supportive of each other.
“All of the members go out of their way to use each other’s businesses and refer clients to each other,” LaRochelle says. “We have also gotten to know each other well and have become friends.”
The Geist Networking Group also tells stories, exchange books and advice, request prayers and give each other business tips.
Suz Haire, owner of Suz Haire Realty, says the group has given her business a boost.
“It’s a win-win,” Haire says. “I not only do things to help their businesses, and they help mine, but I have also been blessed to have them as friends. The business we have thrown each other’s way has also resulted in thousands of dollars in business for each other in increased business. It has resulted in real numbers in profits.”
The increased business for the group has also resulted in them having more dollars to donate to charities the members are involved in.
“We all are able to get involved in the various charities our friends have worked on,” Bodenhamer says. “It’s been another great way to help each other.”
Haire notes that she also feels very comfortable referring her clients to members of the club.
“We all completely trust the services that each member provides, and it feels great to make both our clients happy and each other,” Haire says.”It works out well for everyone.”
Hartzell adds that the number of different resources the group offers has grown with the members over the years.
“We now have realtors, insurance people, mortgage people, bankers, a Martial Arts business owner, store owners and more,” she says.
Bodenhamer says that they are always looking for new people to join the group, too. Membership is by invitation only, but new faces are encouraged to visit the group and meet the members.
“It really is a great way to not only expand your network of business contacts, but it’s also a way to build your business and make new friends that will really help you.”
For further information, call 317-670-1074 or email Brian Bodenhamer at email@example.com.