7,209 Connections Made Between EO Members: How the 1-ON-1 Connections Program Increases Member Value

It’s been two years since EO Atlanta members Brad Stevens and Jason Rhoades came up with a brilliant initiative to enhance member connection and create impact during Covid shutdowns: 1-ON-1 Connections.

During those 2020 pandemic days when in-person meetings were rare, Brad and Jason combined their expertise for a common cause: To strengthen the weave of relationships between EO members to drive value. Using virtual assistants in the Philippines from Brad’s company, Outsource Access, and technology from Jason’s firm, Toolbox9, they created a method and technological algorithm to help increase member connections and engagement—and 1-ON-1 Connections was born!

It was a huge success across EO Atlanta: 1-ON-1 Connections created over 600 connections in its first 90 days, significantly strengthening human connections among chapter members.

Providing connection and engagement worldwide

Next, Brad and Jason did what entrepreneurs do best: Scaled the initiative. Word spread quickly within EO, and they now run the 1-ON-1 Connections program currently on an in-kind basis to EO chapters worldwide. Nearly 20 participating EO chapters are already reaping the value from this initiative, including EO Toronto, EO New Zealand, EO Brisbane, EO South Florida, EO MEPA Bridge, EO Fort Worth, EO Europe and EO Western New York.

The model is simply to rapidly build intentional, consistent relationships between more EO members at scale via email. While ‘chat’ platforms are very valuable, they require members to go there to engage. 1-ON-1 Connections delivers right to each member’s inbox. 

And, 1-ON-1 Connections is turn-key, so it requires nearly zero work for chapter staff.

“The feedback has been incredible,” Brad shared. “It rapidly ‘thickens the weave’ of member-to-member relationships with the intent to drive engagement and retention.” And, it is fully “private label,” so it looks like it is created by and coming from each local chapter—for example, the EO Brisbane 1-ON-1 Connections Program.

In addition, 1-ON-1 Connections has applications for:

  • Events and conferences. Recently deployed before XCentric, EO’s US Central regional event, the program connected conference attendees from different chapters, so they knew a few more familiar faces at the event.
  • Strategic Alliance Partners (SAPs) and chapter sponsors. EO members can opt-in to be paired with a chapter SAP a few times per year. This can substantially increase value for the SAPs, who often struggle to get member “face time”.
  • EO Accelerator participants.
  • Sister chapters.

In brief: 1-ON-1 positively impacts member engagement through rapid 1-on-1 connections that enhance value by systematically pairing members together with customized introductions that increase the likelihood of a beneficial personal collision.

Though Brad and Jason didn’t originally intend to “make it a business,” at the encouragement of fellow EOers, they recognize opportunities for monetizing the program for thousands of member-based organizations and conferences. 

They see their niche as being “the only full-service, private label, 1-on-1 connections program for member organizations and conferences.”

What EO members say about 1-ON-1 Connections

“We all need to be knocked out of our relationship bubbles, and this is a perfect tool! —Jon VanderMeer, EO Atlanta,  Kiosk & Display

“Every time you meet another EO member, you get to experience share, learn and grow from them―no matter how different your businesses are. My first 1-ON-1 Connection meeting was just what I needed: I had been so stuck in an area, and Jeb Stewart suggested an exercise to try. He gave me accountability, growth and a good challenge.” — Melissa Davis, EO South Florida, Elev8 Hire Solutions

“Two EO Toronto members shared that they ended up doing a multi-million dollar deal together that never would have happened if not for the EO 1-ON-1 Connections program!” — Shane Bennett, EO Toronto past president, Integrated Automotive

“I was just launching a new fitness business and wanted to add a supplement line. Through 1-ON-1, I got paired with a new EO member who happened to have a supplement manufacturing business. We had an awesome Zoom call, and I ended up touring his facility to understand the process and its outstanding additional revenue potential.” — Ethan King, EO Atlanta, 6 Pack Dads and Zeus’ Closet

“My second connection was with a super successful entrepreneur with multiple exits. The timing was perfect, as I’m launching my second business with an eye to sale. I got tons of value and even shifted my thinking entirely on my growth approach. It would have never happened without that 1-ON-1 Connection.” — Kara Brown, EO Atlanta, LeadCoverage

“It is always on my list to be more intentional about building relationships within EO. This program handles all the legwork to set up efficient, impactful conversations so I can focus on the fun part of connecting.” — Shantel Kriss, EO Atlanta, Imagine Media

How 1-ON-1 Connections works

Here’s how the 1-ON-1 Connections program works:

  • No major work is required from chapter staff or board members. Software and virtual assistants (VAs) manage it all.
  • It is “private label” for your chapter (ie, The EO Detroit 1-ON-1 Connections Program)
  • To start, all you need is a list of chapter members. The program will email the connections—typically once per month—“colliding” two members to prompt a meeting. The email will include each member’s company, bio, website, LinkedIn profile, and any other data you specify. All information is held in full confidentiality.
  • Proprietary software creates “pairings” so everyone is uniquely matched. Forum members who know each other well are not matched together.
  • Chapters receive a dashboard report showing stats on connections, open rates, click-through rates and survey results on connection feedback.
  • See a sample 1-ON-1 Connection email.

Are you ready for 1-ON-1 Connections?

“Human connection creates value,” Jason said. “The 1-ON-1 Connections program brings EO members together in an easy, turnkey way that requires no additional administrative work. As a result, members experience greater value from their EO membership, which increases engagement.”

Is your chapter, conference or other member-based organization ready to connect, collide and create value? Then it’s time to explore 1-On-1 Connections or email Brad Stevens for more information.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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