That was the aim when, about nine years ago now, three former Greater Reading Chamber Ambassadors ventured on their own to start what is now the Pagoda Business Network.

David Green, Marie Smith and Tim Stover sought to form a group where members could come and feel welcomed and that their time was valued, all the while getting a different experience with each and every visit. The organization’s goals are, in fact, for its members to “be expected, be connected and be respected.”

Events often center around a lunch time meal and kick-off with mingling and chatting. From there, a program is planned where members learn something new that they can take and use – be it about the business host, or about how to improve their networking approach in some way. Get-togethers include an interactive activity that may center on a holiday or other theme – think “finding someone with the matching piece of your heart puzzle” on Valentine’s Day. Such activities focus on breaking the traditional “stand up and give your elevator (sales pitch) speech” format, and instead give the opportunity for networking to be fun, conversational and easy.

Says the trio about Pagoda Business Network, “We provide cures for the common business networking event.” To their credit, the organization’s longevity shows the format to be a successful one.

The reach extends beyond in-person events with blogs like this one found on the Network’s website that work to educate and offer sound advice. They touch on timely topics like “How to Network While Social Distancing,” as well as “How to Ditch the Elevator Speech”, “Making Memorable First Meetings”, “28 Breaking-the-Ice Questions” and much more.

The network is also eager to help in celebrating its members’ and non-member local business accomplishments and offers ribbon cutting ceremonies complete with customizable press release services, a media book connecting businesses to regional media outlets, and a local party planning guide, just to get started.

Want to know if Pagoda Business Network is the group for you? As it approaches a decade of success, its members would love to welcome you the family.

Learn more about Pagoda Business Network online at We hope to see everyone in person, soon!