IABCN – A Network Overview
I went Stateside this week for my interview with Alanna Barry McCloskey, Executive Director of the Irish American Business Chamber & Network to do the IABCN – A Network Overview. Alanna’s role is to promote stronger ties between the Philadelphia Region and the island of Ireland. And she has been carrying out this role and flying this flag for the past 18 years.
On Alanna’s email signature lies a quote from W.B. Yeats, which I absolutely love and agree with:
“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” William Butler Yeats
The Chamber was established 22 years by a first generation Irish American, Bill McLaughlin with a view to galvanising the expat community to help build those strong ties.
Philadelphia, lying in the State of Pennsylvania, tends to lag and lie in the shadow of Washington DC and New York, but as with most underdogs, they are not to be underestimated. There is a real sense of commitment and energy about the Chamber and Alanna is committed to ensuring the strongest and most impactful chamber around!
The Irish American Business Chamber & Network, Inc. (IABCN) is a nonpartisan business organization promoting the interests of its members and the development of economic and educational relationships between the United States, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
They provide growth opportunities through a series of networking fora for business executives, helping them to exchange information and ideas on doing business with one another. These fora are hallmarked by the appearance of top CEOs, government executives and directors who share similar interests and goals.
Visit their website event’s section to review some of their past events to gain a greater appreciation of the opportunity for networking created by this Irish American Business Chamber.
IABCN’s Unique Selling Point
IABCN’s unique selling point is that it is the only Irish organisation focused on promoting business ties between Philadelphia and the Island of Ireland. And this is a point about which they are extremely proud.
IABCN members tend to be business owners, entrepreneurs, consulting companies and such like. There is a strong membership in the Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical areas.
What I was pleasantly surprised about was that there is a growing membership directly from Ireland. Donegal County Council has recently joined and there is a growing body of companies from areas such as Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and the North in general.
The ties are strongest in the North of the country, following immigration patterns and where the diaspora is strongest.
IABCN Membership Tiers:
There are four membership types within the IABCN:
- Individual Membership: $250/year. Listing for 1 member and link to email address.
2. Mid-Size Firm Membership: $500/year. Specifically for companies with fewer than 100 employees. The company and three individuals from the company are listed as members. Includes link to each member’s email address.
3. Large Corporate Membership: $1,000/year. Designed for companies with greater than 100 employees. The company up to ten individuals are listed as members. This includes link to company website and each member’s email address.
4. Ambassador Club Members: $10,000. Initiation fee of $10,000 and then $1,000 per year thereafter. The company and ten or more individuals are listed as members. This includes link to company website and each member’s email address.
IABCN’s Seat Policy
There is an open seat policy, as with all Chambers.
Interested visitors can attend 1-2 events before applying for membership.
You can register and join here.
The IABCN Networking Opportunities
Pre Covid, there were 1 – 2 networking opportunities each month. These events tended to attract 100 plus members. A larger scale event was hosted in February for up to 600 members.
As with all networks, Covid ensured a shake up of the status quo. IABCN has moved to weekly online meetings, typically attracting up to 20-30 members at a time. This also gave the Chamber the opportunity to test out different times of day, so the trend has followed that a lunchtime (EST) session in Philadelphia, sits well with an Irish evening time session of 6pm GMT.
Each meeting lasts 1 hour, with speed networking in breakout rooms for members to meet and connect. Each breakout session lasts 10 minutes and when in a collective forum, one member has the opportunity of spotlighting their business, followed by Q&A.
The Zoom link is left open for anyone who wants to continue networking after the formal meeting has finished.
Coming Out of Covid
Now that the world is opening back up, they have decided to run a hybrid schedule of in person networking events and online networking events, so there are two scheduled each month. This is particularly important as their membership from Ireland has grown substantially and there is a definite need to cater for this group.
Members are delighted to finally be getting to meet face to face again and are embracing the opportunity to expand their networks.
Virtual V In Person Networking Events
Virtual events are included in the membership. In person events have a ticket price attached to them to cover costs. Non-members pay a surcharge of $20 -$30 dollars on top of the member ticket price as set per event.
Connecting with IABCN
You can Whatsapp Alanna to arrange a visit. The number is 001 215 772 3101 or email her.
You can also find out more details on their website.
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