By Josh Sweeney, an EO Atlanta member and CEO of Atcore Systems, LLC
From the first EO prospect lunch that I attended, members, trainers and board members alike exalted the vast access to entrepreneurs that made up the organization’s global network. And shortly after joining, I received updates that EO had reached 10,000 members worldwide, as well as schedules for upcoming Universities and other global events. At the time, most of this didn’t resonate with me, since I didn’t travel very often. What’s more, Universities looked expensive based on where my business was at the time. So, I wasn’t planning to attend any time soon.
That first prospect lunch was more than three years ago, and my how things have changed! Since then, I’ve taken every opportunity available to maximize my membership and truly experience the global EO community … and I still feel like I’m only scratching the surface.
A year after joining EO, I decided that when I traveled, I would contact the local chapter two weeks in advance to connect with peers while in town. Since I started this effort, I have visited chapters in Charlotte, Raleigh, New York, Los Angeles, Birmingham and Chicago, all of which offered memorable experiences and a chance to better understand my EO peers. With each visit, I built connections that have made a difference in my life, business or EO experience. Here are a few examples of my experiences:
- I was planning a trip to New York and reached out to a chapter member that I had met at the Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in Greece. It just so happened that the chapter was having an event the night I was in town. Two amazing things happened during this visit: First, I was able to bring back an event idea to my chapter board and share concepts with our Social Chair. Second, I shared my travel experiences with another member who loved the idea so much, he also started visiting others chapters while traveling for work to maximize his EO experience.
- When I visited Birmingham, the chapter was having an event in honor of their Rock Star status. My wife and I were going to drive in from Atlanta, stay at a hotel and then attend the event. Instead, I reached out to the Chapter Administrator of EO Birmingham and asked if anyone wanted to get together beforehand. A gracious couple reached out and said they would be happy for us to come over for the day and stay the weekend. This may sound simple, but to me, this was yet another moment in my EO experience where I knew the doors were open for us and that everything would go smoothly. Our hosts gave us a grand tour of the city, and it was an experience of a lifetime.
Global Leadership Conference
Upon joining EO, I decided to go all in. I got Forum-trained and Moderator-trained almost immediately, and I decided to join my chapter board soon after. I didn’t know how much work it would take, but I also never knew it would give me such a great return on my investment. As a board member, I’ve had the opportunity to attend multiple GLCs, including those held in Panama, Greece and Thailand. In addition to the impeccable EO training and presentations, I was able to make connections that have stayed with me throughout my years in business. Several people I had met in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago were attending the GLCs in Panama, Greece and Thailand. Each of these interactions enhanced my relationships and ensured that the next time we connected would be that much better.
Because of EO’s vast network, I have met with chapters while on retreats, spent a week on Necker Island with Richard Branson and learned alongside countless peers. What’s more, I plan on attending Universities, the Entrepreneurial Masters Program and everything else this global organization has to offer.
Maximizing my EO experience was the best decision I ever made, and I’m excited to see what additional value comes my way in the years to come.