In a society that revolves around the ever-changing technology and social media game, meeting people face to face and networking in person is incredibly important. We’ve got iPods, iPhones, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; the list goes on. But what none of those devices contains is our face-to-face value and as technology advances, we tend to hide behind our gadgets. Networking and meeting people in person not only benefits everyone involved but it also sharpens social skills.
Meet Downtown is a way to connect business owners with members of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance to create long-lasting relationships. The most recent event at Crank Arm Brewery that I attended helped me further understand the significance of face-to-face relationships. According to Ashley Melville, the Merchant Benefits Manager at the DRA states it is “absolutely important” for business owners to network. “As the world gets bigger, everything else gets smaller. To meet people face-to-face helps build community and relationships.” She says in terms of what she believes works for business owners is “programming and building events to help existing merchants gain exposure”. The DRA’s mission as a non-profit is to continue the rejuvenation of Raleigh’s downtown by strengthening its quality of life. To Ashley the benefits of any business or member of the DRA is simple: “We provide advocacy for downtown and connect the merchants to the government.”
Networking is important to Carla Laird, Marketing and Communications Manager at the DRA as she says; “Having synergy and pride brings together advocates for the importance of the revitalization of Raleigh. We want Raleigh to grow as a whole and if we enhance the quality of life together, we can do that. There needs to be a commrodery.”
It was evident to see how such an event affects so many involved. This particular Meet Downtown event was at Crank Arm Brewery in the Warehouse District. It gave the brewery a chance to host DRA members to try their beers and endorse their business. Five Star, the tasty restaurant around the corner from Crank Arm provided delicious appetizers for the folks to munch on, promoting their menu, and the DRA raffled off tickets to upcoming events in downtown Raleigh.
Now, there are some who have engaged in an event like this before, mingling, catching up with those they haven’t seen since the last time. For some, like myself, as a first timer to the event, the warm, welcoming and friendly response to a newcomer was overwhelming. I got to develop new relationships and understand more deeply the reason for these meet and greets. “Networking cultivates relationships, you are connecting with the people, building and maintaining relationships. You also get to learn different backgrounds”, says Carla.
All in all, the event was a success. Great food, great beer, great company. Since I enjoyed the event so much, I’m looking into all of the other events the DRA has to offer including First Friday, Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week, Raleigh Winterfest and Shop Downtown Raleigh, all of which connect the people to their city.
By: Katie Baker