By Craig Glantz
Special to The CS&T
In 2009, Nick Gibboni found himself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to do business with someone who shares my professional goals and who is a person of faith?” He discovered that local groups of that kind were virtually non-existent. His unsuccessful search led to the establishment of the Catholic Business Professionals of Greater Philadelphia (CBPGP).
“This group was really founded by the Holy Spirit but stemmed out of my own professional needs,” Gibboni said. “I needed to find clients, and I eventually came across LinkedIn.com, a social networking web site for businesses. I searched for a Catholic professional group in the greater Philadelphia area but couldn’t find one. It was then that I felt the Lord prompting me to start one. The Catholic Business Professionals of Greater Philadelphia was eventually born, and I felt that I needed to dedicate the group to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
The CBPGP began as an online social networking group on LinkedIn, and after many postings and emails now has more than 300 members. Although discussions were going well online, members felt a need to meet in person. So in the fall of 2009 a face-to-face event was set up at Kildare’s Pub in King of Prussia. More than 70 people showed up.
After receiving a lot of positive feedback, the CBPGP decided to host quarterly events. Their next networking event will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Kildare’s in King of Prussia.
What can one expect to find at a CBPGP event? Simple. People who are Catholic and people who are looking to make contacts. But it is not a high pressure environment. Folks from a wide variety of backgrounds show up.
In attendance are people such as communications specialist and former radio and TV personality, Lorraine Ranalli; the director and general manager of the Catholic Standard & Times, Matthew Gambino; Mark Houck, the co-founder of the men’s support group the King’s Men; as well as accountants, real estate professionals, those who own and run small businesses and people who are looking for employment.
“People come for different reasons,” Gibboni said. “I wanted this group to have an informal feel where everyone felt welcomed.”
Corporate sponsors keep the events free; Kildare’s is strategically located and offers unlimited, free valet parking.
“We have several businesses that will be sponsoring the food and drink for our upcoming event. We will also have a raffle give away and will be accepting free-will donations for various upcoming projects such as revamping our web site. You can find a list of sponsors’ names on our Facebook page (www.tiny.cc/FacebookCBP).”
Ranalli recalls how Gibboni contacted LinkedIn.com “as we were both members of the group ‘Catholic Professionals,’ and he wanted my thoughts on creating a Philadelphia Catholic Professionals group,” Ranalli said. “As any business professional knows, building solid relationships is the key to success. This network gives professionals an opportunity to forge new relationships with a group of people whose common denominator is first and foremost, their faith.”
Membership in the group is free, as are the events. To attend the event at Kildare’s on Feb. 11 or an upcoming speed-networking event, email Nick Gibboni at email@example.com. For more information about the Catholic Business Professionals of Greater Philadelphia go to www.CatholicPros.com.
Craig Glantz is a freelance contributor and a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Philadelphia.