Three months ago, in my December blog, I mentioned the Mountaineer Alliance and that we’re planning on rolling it out to select cities across the country. As I write this blog, I am on an airplane heading to Austin where we will begin that rollout at the end of the week. So, you ask, what is the Mountaineer Alliance?
The Mountaineer Alliance is our business-to-business network designed to move Alumni and WV forward while creating economic opportunity and a secure tomorrow for future generations. It was originally conceived two years ago by our leaders of the National Capital Area Alumni Chapter. Their idea was to find a way for Mountaineer business owners/leaders to help other Mountaineer business owners/leaders be successful in their businesses while also helping the University and the State. The founders’ vision is that by working together we can help each other grow, expand, and thrive in the business environment.
We decided to refine the concept by piloting the program last year in the Washington, DC metro area and, wow, was it successful! The established goals are threefold:
1. Help Mountaineer business owners/leaders, thought leaders, and experts connect with each other to add value to the individual in their professional role. Participants are able to find potential customers, suppliers, and partners, as well as receive much needed guidance, and advice. Individuals are seeing the benefits of connecting with other Mountaineers in a professional environment focused on helping them.
2. Supporting WVU in a variety of ways including internships, career opportunities, and partnerships with schools/colleges. Our graduates not only need career opportunities, but to be competitive in the marketplace they need quality internships to gain real-life experience. The Alliance is proving to be a powerful tool for Alumni to find their next generation of professionals, while at the same time helping our students. In addition, we believe there are opportunities for businesses to partner with our schools and colleges in technology development and the Alliance will help make those connections.
3. Help West Virginia solve some of its most challenging problems including economic stimulus. By harnessing the knowledge, skills, wisdom, and talents of our business professionals we believe the Alliance can be a powerful force in helping our state. Just last year we had two members of the Alliance bring high-tech jobs into West Virginia and we know there are more ahead! The Alliance will play an important role in the WV Forward project and already made strategic connections between the WV Department of Commerce and key industry experts in energy and tech.
Mountaineer Alliance members meet regularly at a member’s business location. After a short networking time, whoever is hosting the meeting has an opportunity to speak to the group about their business. This is often followed by a guest speaker discussing a timely business topic such as cyber security. The meetings generally last for 2 hours with the majority of the time spent networking. We’ve found, however, that members often hang out long after the event is over discussing business topics.
In addition to Austin, we are currently planning launch dates this spring in Columbus, OH, Boston, and Atlanta. If you live in one of those metro areas and would like to be part of the Mountaineer Alliance stay tuned for the launch date over the next several months. Charlotte, NC and Pittsburgh will follow thereafter and if you live in either of these areas and would like to discuss a leadership role with the Mountaineer Alliance, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Our goals are big, and our dreams are even bigger. That’s how Mountaineers roll. Together, we will find success!