Monday September 26, 2016
Have you been wanting to try something new? Why not try getting connected with your community! We interviewed Linette Quaranta, founder of the Whitney Ranch Professionals and a realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, to get the inside scoop on what being a member of the group is all about!
1. What sparked the idea to start the group?
My husband Steve and I started the Whitney Ranch Professionals Group when it was suggested that we join a Business Networking Group. It seemed like a better idea to create a group of people who share a common interest, or common goals. We felt it made good sense to bring together neighbors, get to know them, and support them in their business. It feels good for people to support family, friends and neighbors.
2. What does your role as leader of the Whitney Ranch Professionals entail?
As leaders of the group, we bring in speakers (oftentimes group members) to help grow our businesses, educate us, and better our lives by understanding taxes and tax planning, personal growth, positive attitude, financial planning and investment, website building, online marketing, and effectively using social media. In addition, we plan fun networking events for the members and once a year invite the whole community to get to know us at our Community Expo.
3. For someone who wants to join, can you describe what usually occurs in a group meeting?
The meetings vary depending on what is upcoming for the group. We frequently have a speaker talk to us about subjects that are important to our members. Some meetings are open discussion for members to share challenges they are experiencing and to receive advice from the wealth of knowledge in our group. We use our meeting time to plan for future events. It’s a low key environment where people can share their thoughts and ideas and gather knowledge from our group consciousness. With attorneys, CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers and financial advisors in our group, we have a wealth of business knowledge we can tap into at any time. Many have given talks to the group, and even more have consulted one-on-one. Typically, our meetings start with around-the-room introductions and a nod to anyone you did business with since the last meeting. It is amazing to see how many of our members do business together. In addition, we’ve found it’s a great way to meet and get to know our neighbors in Whitney Ranch.
4. What are the benefits of being in the group, and why should people join?
There are several benefits to joining the group. Anyone in business knows the struggles and joys. Our group is full of mentors and mentees. One week you may have the questions and the next, you find you have the answers! The business relationships become friendships; and in just a short amount of time, you will find people doing business with you.
5. Do you have to be a working professional to be a member?
No. Absolutely not! One of our favorite stories is about a neighbor who was out of work, but who had a great idea for a business. He came to just one meeting, and at that meeting met a member who was just starting his own business. They began talking and realized they could merge their ideas into an amazing business. They are so busy now, we don’t see them anymore. But we do hear from them, and they are very thankful they came to that meeting.
6. In what ways do you think the group has impacted the Whitney Ranch community?
The Whitney Ranch Community is a special place. These days, we toss the word “community” around too freely. If you line up several homes side-by-side, you did not build a community; you built a neighborhood. The credit for the Whitney Ranch Community goes to the visionaries who realized that a meeting place is key for the “unity” piece of “community.” We are just one of the dozen clubs that make living in Whitney Ranch a unique opportunity – a club where you can find common interests with a neighbor and build a lasting relationship. The unique benefit to our club is that we are a group that wants to see you succeed in your business endeavors. We support one another in business and life.
7. We know the group is called Whitney Ranch Professionals, but does that mean it’s all business, or is there time for a little fun here and there?
We do have some fun, but lately it has been a lot more business. Off site, we’ve done a few things together, like bowling with the families or meeting at the pool. Thanks for the reminder, we are due for a little fun again!
8. What advice would you give to someone who is diving back into the workforce?
If the time is right, do it! Surround yourself with positive people, like our group. There are many, many working parents in our group – some have rebounded from layoffs, some have returned to work after staying home, some juggle infants and work. The amazing thing about this group is you will instantly have 30 people who want to see you succeed; and many who will, at a moment’s notice, drop what they are doing to help. That said, you have to put yourself out there. You have to ask for the help! And that can be the hardest part.
9. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out for the first time?
Our advice for people who are just starting out is that it will take longer than you expect, more energy than you anticipated, and more money than you may have planned for. Start networking now. Build a support system. When you are down, dig in.
10. Is your group putting on any upcoming events that Whitney Ranch residents can participate in?
Yes. Our Community Expo will take place in March 2017. Look for other events coming in the meantime. We have Financial Planning Events and Tax Planning Events from time to time. Two of our members are running for local positions this year so our next meeting will be an opportunity to meet them and hear what they have to say. We are working on putting more on the calendar and would love feedback from the community if there is a topic that might interest them.