By Cornelius A. Fortune
ROYAL OAK – When Reid Beyerlein describes why he and business partner Robert Lalicki chose the name “Ties Like Me” for an after-work networking group there’s a slight tinge of humor in his voice. Though business or casual attire is required, Beyerlein is quick to reiterate that ties aren’t required at all; it’s merely a metaphor.
“A lot of people look at it and think it’s like a business tie,” he said. “The original intention of it is we in the gay and lesbian community have a common tie to each other, and they’re all ties like me, so we can bring everybody together in a setting like that.”
Beyerlein, a financial planner with Edward Jones Investments wanted to move outside of forums where the atmosphere wasn’t always inclusive.
“We found that one thing that the gay and lesbian community was lacking in, was a networking group strictly for gay and lesbian professionals,” he said. “And it is our impression that the stronger we grow as a community, the better it’s going to be for the community as a whole. Bringing a group together can help us drive business, and that’s the main objective of the group.”
“This group is all-inclusive,” said Lalicki, of Flagstar Bank. “That was our main focus because there’s a lack of that; even within our own community. What we’re trying to do is break that down, bring everyone together, and make it a very strong business venture.”
According to Lalicki, Ties Like Me will help people get noticed in their business.
“What a great way to start out by coming into this Detroit metropolitan area, and have a place to go, not only to meet others in your field or related field but again, the bonus is if you make a friend out of it terrific. It’s a great way to start a business and attract people to this community.”
Another point that will attract newcomers to the group, said Beyerlein, is that there are no fees or hidden charges.
“We are strictly a volunteer program,” he said. “It is strictly a networking organization, which means there’s no political agenda we don’t have any place for it. Our intention is just to come and meet people in an open, after hours setting. We do business with each other not only because we’re all gays and lesbians, but because we’re comfortable with each other.”
There will also be door prizes, appetizers and a cash bar at the Oct. 19 kick off meeting. All information obtained, said Lalicki, will be confidential.
“Any information we obtain on anyone in that group will not be shared no matter what. It’s important to some people that they understand that they can come here and feel comfortable and confident that they’re not going to be on some e-mail list, or get mailed unnecessary information. We will not be sharing that with anyone.”