Back at the beginning of time itself when my good friend Ed Devlin was running what was to become The FENG, he invited me to join. (I don’t know what he was thinking.)
Seeing the networking opportunity for my own job search, I immediately offered to act as social chairman for our small gathering of senior financial executives and bring a membership directory to every meeting for distribution. (It wasn’t all that hard as there were only 15-20 of us.)
As the meetings I attended became more than a person could count on one hand, I had the occasion to speak with Ed about how to increase our membership. We had both experienced the committee review method and found it to be too off putting as well as too slow. I boldly proposed that instead of requiring at least 3 people to recommend you for membership, if one person was willing to vouch for you that should certainly be sufficient. And, so it has been and continues to be the practice of The FENG that you only need one sponsor. More would be nice, but one is enough.
Since the time I thought up this dumb idea, I have had the opportunity and great pleasure to see it at work. It is in my opinion one of the reasons why our circle of friends is as effective as it is and why our organization is so well respected.
It is a sad fact of life that most people do not have the hand of friendship extended to them as often as they would like or as often as they need. Outside of The FENG it can indeed appear to be a cold cruel world. But anyone, I have come to observe, who has had enjoyed the benefit of becoming a member of our august body is somehow changed, hopefully for the better.
There are a lot of caring people who are members of The FENG. I continue to be amazed and astounded by the hard work of our many chapter and special interest group chairs. But, that would hardly be enough to sustain The FENG. What makes us different and sets us apart is the degree to which all of you extend the hand of friendship to each other on a day in and day out basis.
But, don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that all you have to do is read the newsletter every day and respond to the postings for which you are a 75% fit. A sad state of affairs it is, but our many Friends of The FENG actually also consider non-members for those assignments.
I would ask you to keep in mind that this is The Financial Executives Networking Group, not The Financial Executives Job Listing Service. Networking, networking and more networking will continue to be the key to any senior financial executive search.
As a member of The FENG, you have a leg up on the rest of the world because we are a society of friends. From one dumb idea thought up by a publishing and advertising financial guy, we now have a 37,000+ member organization dedicated to helping one another. I will modestly tell you that I have only provided the spark. All of you provide the kindling, the logs and the fanning of the flames necessary to keep it all going.
If I may repeat something I say from time to time: Every day and in every way, it all begins with you. Keep up your good work!