More than 15 years ago, I worked for a smallish consulting firm in Chicago. This company, CSC Index, employed some of the smartest and most talented folks I have encountered in my career. The company dissolved in the late '90s, but this group persists in networking and keeping in touch.
First, we set up a Corporate Alumni group. Corporate Alumni began to charge for some of their services, so we migrated to a Yahoo Group. The Yahoo Group has almost 250 members. We also now have a Facebook group (122 members) and a fledgling LinkedIn group and a Twitter Account.
What's amazing is that, after all this time, we continue to stay in touch online and offline (the Boston and Chicago offices host annual reunions and golf tournament). "Outdex", as we call ourselves, is a source of support and comraderie and social networking, in its truest sense. So when one group member sent an e-mail titled "Anybody Home?", she got a flurry of response from all over the world.
This is an impressive group. There are CEOs and senior partners of prestigious firms. Authors of widely read business books as well as at least one published fiction writer. Group members regularly write articles for Harvard Business Review. Some work in high tech, others in government. There is at least one indie filmmaker.
In response to her query, This list appears to have come to a halt, with no activity since before Thanksgiving. Is anybody out there? we heard from Outdexers in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Rome, Scottsdale, London, Dallas, Santa Fe, Moscow, France, and Abu Dhabi. Most wished everyone a happy holiday season. A few offered brief updates on their latest endeavors. Someone encouraged us to make charitable donations in lieu of Christmas cards this season. Another encouraged us to participate in the One Laptop Per Child program.
Of all of my professional networks, this one is my favorite. Ocassionally, I have posted recruiting messages to this group and often receive highly qualified referrals interested in high tech (or coffee). Most importantly, the members of Outdex have been extremely generous in providing me with inspiration, motivation, well-wishes and professional counsel. In this time of economic uncertainty, it is comforting to know that somebody's home. One of my many blessings is being a part of this real network, built on genuine relationships and memories of good times past.