Kansas City IT Professionals kick off 2012 with a happy hour with a twist
More than 120 Kansas City information technology professionals attended the Kansas City IT Professionals 2012 kick-off networking event, Social Accountability Happy Hour presented by CoSentry, at The Well in Waldo Thursday.
More than 120 professionals from around the Kansas City metro gathered Thursday evening at The Well in Waldo for drinks, discussion and networking. But this wasn't exactly your typical happy hour discussion. The topic du jour? Goals.
The Kansas City Information Technology Professionals (KCITP) kicked off their event schedule for the new year with a happy hour focused on goal-setting and peer accountability. The event, sponsored by data center service company CoSentry, was meant to foster meaningful connections amongst attendees with the hopes of providing a unique way to define, share and follow through on their professional goals for 2012.
"In terms of people to keep me accountable, I'm already very fortunate to have great advisors," said KCITP founder Michael Gelphman, who organized the happy hour and came up with the idea of having a networking event centered around social accountability. "Other people may not have that, so I wanted to try and help create that type of opportunity for them, or at least get them thinking about it."
"I approached this with trepidation," Harper said. "As a writer, I'm not very technically oriented, so it's good for me to be networking with way more experienced web and tech people. But at the same time, the very idea of being accountable to somebody, well, who has time for that?"
Jason Harper, left, web content developer and social media manager for the Kansas City Public Library, talks with Aaron Deacon, business strategist at CurioLab and events chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City.
When asked his opinion on the attraction of an event like this, one meant to connect the IT professional community by fostering meaningful peer accountability throughout 2012, Harper replied, "[The idea] was compelling. There are many opportunities to network under the premise of learning more about your profession, yet there are few that will actually hold you accountable to learning the skills you set out to learn."
KCITP founder Michael Gelphman, right, talks with attendees of the group's Social Accountability Happy Hour.
KCITP is comprised of professionals from top executives to small businesses to startups, encompassing a vast array of technology-related skill sets.
"Not everyone can or wants to be an entrepreneur," Gelphman said. "but everyone can be entrepreneurial with their career. That is, once they build valuable skills and experiences, and create a strong network, they are free to call their own shots.
"I hear from people that feel trapped in a job they're not happy with. This event was about trying to empower them to start taking the steps necessary to do that, or to at least get them thinking about it."
Offering unique ways to increase collaboration and encourage innovation amongst Kansas City's IT professionals is the main reason Gelphman launched the group in July 2008.
"Building KCITP has been a tremendous journey. My main goal [this year] is to reach, because the real magic happens in the space between the easy and the seemingly impossible." Gelphman said. "We have gone places I never imagined we could go, and I've learned so much. I want to make 2012 even better and do more."
In addition to networking events for its more than 7,000 members, KCITP strives to offer opportunities for knowledge exchange and philanthropy within the community. If you're an IT professional or technology entrepreneur in the Kansas City area, you can connect with KCITP on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
Image credits: Photos by Annie Sorensen.