Many professionals believe that effective networking can widen their professional relationships. In fact, our recent global poll of Executive Search Professionals found that over 93% of respondents agreed that in-person networking is extremely valuable in developing connections that lead to creating business opportunities.

Janet Jones-Parker, past President of the AESC and now managing her own firm Janet Jones-Parker Associates in the US, commented: “I was president of the AESC and my mandate was a turn-around/rebuild of the organization into a global representative of the retained executive search profession. We had our first international meetings in Paris and London. It was a great chance for me to network around the world and for that reason, I know first-hand how important the opportunity to meet others in this industry can be.”

For the last six years, the World Executive Search Congress has been providing strategic content and international networking opportunities for executive search and in-house professionals in locations ranging from Las Vegas to Miami and most recently London. This year’s event, taking place on October 9-10 at the stunning BMA House in London, UK, will once again provide industry insights to inspire delegates with new ideas and actionable tips and strategies, and will form a perfect backdrop for invaluable informal discussions - during numerous breaks, networking lunches and a drinks reception.

To quantify the benefits of in-person networking, we asked past delegates to share their experiences at the World Executive Search Congress. We have compiled their five top reasons why attending the event led to business and career-changing opportunities.

Here is a sample of their stories - in their own words! (Some attendees have asked to remain anonymous, and we have respected their wishes below).

1. Joining a global executive search network – or helping to develop one.

Janet Jones-Parker (USA), Managing Director, Janet Jones-Parker Associates: “My story is a great one. I attended three headhunters' meetings - the last one was the World Executive Search Congress in Las Vegas. And, no, what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. I met Jorg Stegemann, head of Kennedy Executive, and formed a lasting friendship. I was fascinated by the process he was undertaking to create another global partnership of boutique firms and have been privileged to become a member of his ‘team’. Of course, there are other new business opportunities from my attendance at WESC meetings - chances to become a trusted advisor and help in the expansion of firms into the US or into Europe. I have been quoted as saying that WESC is truly the best content-driven of the conferences and I will always attend wherever you hold them.”

Hassan Sakr (UAE), CEO, IRC Talent Reserve: “I remember clearly that I met Rolf Heeb, President of AIMS International at the time, and through this networking event I joined AIMS network.”

Dave Heilbron (The Netherlands), Senior Partner, Lens and Partners: “Through the WESC we are now partners of Kennedy Executive. Our initial contact with Jorg Stegemann was in Las Vegas over 2 years ago, and we have become partners on 1 July 2015. Furthermore, we have established strategic collaborations with Ruthie Beam at Reid Beam Associates in the US and with Babbage Company in Amsterdam. We are grateful that this is due to the WESC.”

2. New partnership and collaborations with other executive search professionals.

Gary Preston (USA), CEO, Preston & Partners Talent Solutions: “At the WESC event in Las Vegas, I met the owner of a search firm based in Montreal, Canada. A few months after the event, he called me to see if we could help with a US engagement for one of his Canadian clients who was expanding across the border. We partnered on the engagement and filled two positions for them. It was a win for his client, a win for our firm and a win for his practice as well. I have also become Skype friends with one of the speakers and we connect every few years and trade new learnings. It is my belief that the networking opportunities that present themselves are just as important as the conference content.”

Jennifer Borrer (Switzerland), Managing Director, Borrer Executive Search: “At WESC last year, I had the opportunity to connect with other boutique firms, with active discussions underway on how to collaborate across international markets. Another key takeaway was being able to access top tier research associates. Connecting with some key profiles during the congress has enabled us to build up a stronger network of research associates, and tap into exceptional research professions through referred and recommended sources that partner with us on international mandates. As a boutique firm, it was also just fabulous to exchange and see how other firms are working, to exchange best practice and simply to make some great contacts that I have stayed in touch with globally.”

3. Meeting potential new clients.

Managing Consultant (Poland): “During the WESC I have set up several very fruitful relationships with both, colleagues from other Exec Search companies around the world and potential clients/buyers at executive search departments. This has led to a very broad extension of our knowledge base internally, but has also resulted in first projects, with their worth already surpassed the cost of the whole congress participation.”

Search Practitioner (UK): “The conference was useful for me in terms of networking. I met a woman from the US who runs a boutique firm who has since become a client on a small project and met her in London a couple of weeks ago. I hope to stay in touch and may assist her on further projects in the future. I also met several other people who may be potential clients in the future or industry contacts with whom I may compare notes from time to time!”

4. New career opportunities.

Research Associate (USA): “I met one of our firm’s partners at the World Executive Search Congress in 2015, before either of us had joined the company. At the conference, he met our company’s founder and owner, and became a partner at the firm a few months after making the connection. Shortly after that, he reached out to me and recruited me to be a researcher for the firm. Had we not met at the conference that year, it is extremely unlikely that I’d have the job I have today, so the networking aspect of this event has been invaluable to me.”

5. Meeting mentors for personal and business development.

Jo Fisher (Australia), Managing Director, Jo Fisher Executive Search: “I heard a guest speaker when I last attending the Conference in Las Vegas – her name was Linda Oglov. I was so impressed that I contacted her when I returned to Australia, and she then became a formal mentor for me and my business for the next two years.”

Executive Search professionals are great networkers and the above feedback proves this point! Given the right opportunity, new connections will certainly be made at the event and many will lead to mutually beneficial business opportunities. You can benefit too – check out the details and register to attend The 2017 World Executive Search Congress at http://www.search-consult.com/WESC2017.