I’m always saying that RGA is the best networking group in the Tampa Bay area. Not only because we have Wall Street networking at Main Street pricing, but also because we do away with all the rules that make it difficult to network effectively.
It was another network’s rules that kept us from tapping Lisa K. Jordan into our leadership team as soon as I met her!
Lisa and her husband, Ken, are owners of Accent American, a cleaning and disaster restoration company based in Tampa.
“Ken actually started the company in 1984,” says Lisa. “We got married in 1990, when I was the assistant to the regional vice-president of a major hotel chain. In my spare time, I started helping out with Ken’s business wherever I could. In 2006, we decided it was time for me to work for Accent Amerian full time. Now, I handle bookkeeping, scheduling, really any of the administrative things that go on in the background. And sometimes, I’ll work in the field, too.”
Like any small business, Accent American relies on word-of-mouth referrals, and Lisa has long known the value of tapping her business into a network to generate those referrals.
“I was a director in another network when I met Mark in the early days of RGA,” says Lisa. “When I left that group, their rules kept me from a leadership role in RGA for another two years! Service groups like Rotary were okay, but a networking group was off limits. As soon as those two years were over, I joined RGA!”
Lisa says it was a much better fit for her: “There are fewer rules in RGA, it’s a friendlier approach to networking, and it doesn’t feel like we’re being forced into artificial relationships. The people who are drawn to RGA’s style of networking are genuinely looking to make friends here, and to do business with those friends.”
I asked Lisa to be a team leader almost as soon as we could sign her up, and she’s been an important part of what makes RGA work for so many people, ever since.
“I like being able to help our members,” says Lisa. “I try to model good networking skills and offer tips when I can, I help our members develop their third-party introductions, or craft their 10-minute presentations when they speak at our meetings, and I help them create powerful, concise 30-second descriptions about the ‘why’ of their businesses.
Lisa adds that RGA is the network she considers to be more in line not only with what small businesses need in a network, but also with what they can afford.
“Other networks I’ve seen charge $1,500 a year to participate, then there are meeting fees, the cost of your meals, and an expectation that you’ll do business only with the members of your group, and network only within your chapter. That doesn’t work for the business people I know.
In RGA, Lisa found a more affordable and fluid approach. Members have a “home” group, but are free to attend any meeting they choose. This benefits RGA and our members by continually introducing members to new contacts, and ensuring RGA is a vibrant and changing organization.
“It’s interesting,” agrees Lisa. “There may be a core group of members at a meeting, and a continually changing group from week to week. You never know if you’ll have an intimate group of seven, or a crowd of forty! Either way, you’re going to meet interesting and helpful people.”
Lisa says Accent American has definitely benefitted from her involvement in RGA. “We’re always looking for referral partners, complementary businesses that don’t do the same type of work we do, but serve the same types of clients. We’ve made several good connections through RGA. We’ve also gotten great information on building business credit without using our personal information thanks to RGA University.”
Lisa’s work as an RGA team leader has helped so many of the business people in her chapters that I recently invited her fill one of two newly-created Area Director positions within RGA.
“Jason Esterline and I are the two Area Directors, and that means we have more opportunities to help our members grow, and to help RGA grow, as well,” describes Lis
“As Area Directors, we’ll visit other RGA meetings and offer tips to the team leaders to enhance their meetings, and give them a ‘high five’ for doing a great job. Mark recently updated RGA’s team leader manual and put some standard procedures in place for team leaders to follow. We don’t have a lot of rules, but we do have guidelines for how should an RGA meeting should be run.
“It’s been exhilarating to watch the phenomenal growth that RGA has enjoyed,” says Lisa. “I’m really gratified to be part of that growth, and eager to see what’s ahead for all of us!”