Issue: Rebuilding Our Infrastructure Section: Advisory Board
Jay C. Allen
President & Founder CXO 770 W. Hampden Ave. Suite 340 Englewood, CO 80110 Phone: 720.981.3570 Mobile: 720.984.8424 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cxomembers.com
In business, the the saying goes, “It’s who you know.” Most business people will tell you that the hard part is meeting the people you want to know. For high profile senior executives with heavy time commitments, sitting on another committee or board or paying high-priced memberships in clubs isn’t always a practical or preferable option.
In a business landscape awash with leads groups, seminars and other catch-all networking events, Jay Allen has created a new paradigm in peer-to-peer networking among influential people that helps them efficiently build, manage and leverage other influential relationships.
In 2001, Jay Allen and several other senior officers from various companies sketched out their vision of an ideal networking organization for high-profile executives and local leaders. The concept was driven by the key elements the executives wanted to see in the organization: • No vendor sponsorship or participation • Membership only offered to those meeting pre-determined qualifications • An informal setting with no committees, seminars or heavy time commitments • A reasonable membership cost – no exorbitant fees As they began to evangelize the concept among their peers, there was an overwhelmingly positive response. They began with a few private lunch meetings, and within six months, over 100 executives were participating, and CXO was up and running. “It all grew by word of mouth,” explains Allen. “We have never advertised. All communications are via email, phone or direct conversation among members and those they wanted to include.” CXO is open to C-Level executives of companies with at least $50 million in annual revenues and other local influencers (nonprofit, private equity, political leaders, etc.).
“We do the hard part of seeking out and aggregating those people with whom executives want to network and who would like to network with them,” says Allen. “We handle the details, so they never walk away from a CXO event without having received the networking value they were hoping to obtain.” The group meetings have grown very popular as more executives have told others about the informal yet powerful atmosphere of CXO’s gatherings. CXO’s popularity is rooted in its simplicity. There are no attendance requirements; members pay for their own meal at meetings (no sponsors), and their staff facilitates introductions during the events. The strength of the concept lies in the ability of attendees to meet each other and share information without having to hear sales pitches or irrelevant presentations.
Allen says the hardest part of running CXO is turning away people who do not meet the membership qualifications. “The exclusiveness of this organization is what makes it special, but it can be hard excluding great people with the wrong qualifications. We have tried over time to both broaden the span of people we include while maintaining an environment which provides even the most influential people access to people they want and need to meet.” In an effort to expand the ability for more executives to participate, in 2008 CXO merged with Executives Network. Today they manage three networking organizations with over 5,000 executive members in 10 major markets: • CXO: C-Level executives of $50mil+ companies and other influential leaders • EXO: C-Level executives of $5mil - $50mil companies and director/vice president level in larger companies • The Executive Talent Board (XTB): CXO and EXO level executives in the job search Probably the most remarkable thing about the organization and Jay Allen is that he does not take a salary from the organization. The organization dues (under $500/yr) are used to pay for technology and the administrative and event management staff that organize and manage the network and events. Allen puts himself in the same shoes as the other members – making a living off of the significant business opportunities provided by being a part of a large network of influential people.
To learn more about CXO, go to www.cxomembers.com