Jami Thomas, Director of Investor Relations, and Eric Purnell, Investor Development Manager, are responsible for providing these services as part of the Investor Relations team at GFW Inc.
The team sees its work as a process of facilitating connections.
”Our primary focus is to build meaningful relationships with our investors,” Thomas said. “We’re here to help them grow by referring them to other investors through one-on-one interactions with our team and via regularly scheduled events and programs.”
This is no small task – there are more than 1,400 businesses investing in Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
“We can’t do everything for every individual, but we can put together certain programs that we believe will benefit the majority,” Purnell said. And outside of programming, he and Thomas work to maintain an active relationship with each investor.
This is especially important for first-time investors. Purnell is primarily responsible for reaching out to new or potential connections and making sure that their GFW Inc. experience is smooth and helpful. In the first year, new investors receive phone calls at three, six, and nine months.
“In the first three months, we make sure you’re receiving the communications we’re sending, and find out whether you have any comments, concerns, or complaints,” Purnell explained. “On the six-month call, we try to dive a little bit deeper… ‘How’s the business going?’ ‘Are you finding value?’ And based on that feedback, we might make some recommendations for getting involved. Then on the nine-month call, we follow up with them to see how everything is working.”
“One of our goals is to grow our base to 3,000 investors in the next three years,” Thomas said. This means that connecting with new businesses and retention are vital to our growth.
After the first year, once investors are plugged into GFW Inc. in the ways that make sense for their business needs, Thomas takes over. She manages the Database, the Leads Groups, CEO Roundtables, CEO Luncheons, and Greater Connections (high-speed networking). “One of our initiatives is to touch base with every investor to really bring back the building of relationships, by reaching out to every investor twice a year.” Thomas stated.
This open line of communication is key. “We’re trying to be more interactive…we’re talking to businesses, finding out the different needs that they have, and working to understand that business as a whole,” Purnell said. “We also elicit their feedback because it helps us to provide better programs and better events.”
What do Thomas and Purnell enjoy most about their work?
“My favorite part is managing the six Leads Groups, Thomas said. “I really get to know the members of each group and build relationships with them. Seeing the amount of leads passed through the groups means that GFW Inc. is very valuable to their businesses growth. . “Local businesses get a significant number of referrals from these groups, and that’s fun for me to watch. We’re helping them remain on solid ground and grow.”
“I enjoy highlighting the positive of what’s taking place in Fort Wayne and getting a chance to share this with new people,” Purnell added. “If I wasn’t working at GFW Inc., I’d still be having this conversation.”
GFW Inc.’s vision for the region is clear: grow the population of northeastern Indiana from 750,000 to 1 million by 2031, and build a thriving business community that can facilitate and sustain this growth. GFW Inc.’s investors play a crucial role in accomplishing these goals, and the Investor Relations team is here to make sure they reap the benefits. Thomas ended with, “1.2 million people rely on GFW Inc. to bring our “A” game every day.”