Attorneys, Accountants, Bankers Share Ideas in Corporate Casual

Small Business Times
By Heather Stur

Networking events tend to be either happy hour gatherings or continuing education opportunities. But there is at least one group in Milwaukee’s business community that provides the best of both worlds. Corporate Casual is a business development group for attorneys, accountants, and bankers.

The idea was born in October of 2001, when a group of executives got together to create a way to connect attorneys, accountants and bankers in a different way than the standard networking event.

“The focus was narrowed to attorneys, accountants and bankers because of the natural business connections between the three professions,” said Tracy Coenen, president of Corporate Causal and owner of Sequence Inc. in Milwaukee.

Within the professions, the group targets professionals on the levels of experienced associates to junior partners. “The thought is that people at these levels are the ones who will be doing business development, and these events might help them get experience doing that,” Coenen said.

Corporate Casual meets monthly from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hotel Metro in downtown Milwaukee and features a social hour and a speaker at each meeting. Speakers have included state Rep. Pedro Colon; Kelly Hansen, president of Sun Tzu Security in Milwaukee and Chicago; and Rebecca Ryan, president of Next Generation Consulting in Jackson.

Upcoming speakers include Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director and CIO, Baird Advisors; Margaret Henningsen, executive vice president, Legacy Bank; and John Fennell, editor, Milwaukee Magazine.

The group’s main focus is on developing relationships. The hope is that members will come back every month, get to know other executives and eventually become comfortable sharing business information with each other, Coenen said.

Annual membership is $150, however the organization currently is holding a membership drive, and the fee is reduced to $100 until March 30. Current members also may renew their membership for the reduced fee. In addition to the events, membership also includes e-mail marketing.

The next event is Feb. 27, and will feature J. Miles Goodwin, shareholder, in the O’Neil, Cannon & Hollman law firm. His presentation is entitled, “Lending to Wisconsin Domestic Partners (or, if you prefer, “Lending to the Ceremonially Challenged”…).”

For more information, visit the Corporate Casual Web site, www.corporatecasual.org.

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