Evolve Ventures, a commercial real estate firm founded by two industry leaders who are committed to lifting up others, hosted an April 13 panel discussion, Modern Networking: Using Your Personal Interests to Build Relationships and Seal Deals.

Evolve Ventures’ managing principals, Amy Malloy and Heather Personne, have focused on thinking, acting and transacting differently since founding their firm four years prior. Malloy and Personne have mastered the art of sealing deals and expanding their networks while doing the things they love like exercising, spending time outside and traveling.

Evolve Ventures’ managing principals Heather Personne and Amy Malloy.

Evolve Ventures formed an adventure club, in which the April 13 panelists participate. Together, the women offer each other fellowship and business advice at “Frappy Hours” after they drop their kids off at school, kayak the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, whitewater raft in North Carolina, hike Valley mountains and participate in pickleball tournaments. They form friendships and get deals done in the process. 

“Networking opportunities in the CRE industry do not have to happen after work, during what is traditionally considered ‘family time,’” said Personne. “Evolve Ventures believes that people, especially women, do not have to choose between building their networks and other activities like exercising, traveling and spending time with friends.”

“We have constructed a strong, supportive network of like-minded women who want to enjoy their family to the fullest and also build a robust CRE career,” Malloy said. “Women should not have to choose between their career, taking their kids to school, and making soccer practice.”

Panelists offered tips on meaningful ways to network, described the benefits they experience from combining adventure and business and provided ideas on how to think long-term about relationships.

“Carving out time to connect with others over shared interests refreshes your energy and reinvigorates creativity,” said panelist Angela Talbot, Vice President at JE Dunn. “In our competitive, busy world, the boost of energy and creativity is advantageous to productivity.”

“During 2020, people were much more open to creative ways to network and had more schedule flexibility. The richness of the conversations held surrounded by fresh air, beautiful scenery, privacy and a good workout, were dramatically increased,” said panelist Tammy Carr, Director of Business Development at Brinkmann Constructors. “You inherently discuss everything important in your life – business, family and challenges. The relationships I have built using this form of networking are far stronger and more meaningful. We continue to make time for this form of networking having proven results.”   

“People do business with people who are like them, and like them,” said panelist Karla Moran, Principal of Economic Development at SRP. “What better way to build a network than by regularly spending time improving a skill, and yourselves, together?”

“Networking to build your contact list is a short game. Networking to build relationships is a long game,” said panelist Ashley Nye, Director of Development at Cortland. “Being able to bond over shared interests and pushing each other to do adventurous activities generates a trust and connection that cannot be as easily created over the conventional coffee meeting. Whether it be crossing the Grand Canyon, a casual hike at the end of a long week, or trying paddle boarding for the first time, there are tremendous opportunities for us to build professional relationships while simultaneously checking boxes off our bucket lists.” 

The event was held at Brinkmann Constructors in Scottsdale. All proceeds went to Project Athena Foundation, a Cottonwood, Ariz.- based nonprofit that helps survivors of medical or traumatic challenges reach new athletic goals and their adventurous dreams.

Evolve Ventures plans to hold its next panel in September, which will explore thought leaders and entrepreneurs’ new business lines and ventures.