There are often two types of entrepreneurs you’ll meet at networking events around the River City. Those with a self-serving sales pitch (easily spotted with business cards bulging out of their pockets) and those simply looking to make meaningful connections while helping the community grow. Gabe Hill and Bryce Robertson fall into this second category. For their efforts, opportunities for both personal and professional growth are more accessible and collaborative than ever throughout Greater Richmond.
As the energetic team behind The 804 Club for Young Professionals, a growing networking group for local professionals, Hill and Robertson are on a mission to offer a platform for those looking to show up with something powerful to offer. For the past year, The 804 Club, which is part private networking and part social gathering, has offered a chance for entrepreneurs and professionals at all levels to share their knowledge during meetups at a variety of locations—from Drive Shack to F.W. Sullivan’s to The Country Club of Virginia.
“We created The 804 Club because we wanted to do something bigger than ourselves. This is about finding ways to make a positive impact on Richmond,” says Hill regarding the motivation behind the networking group that boasts over 800 members.
At 23, Hill, a current Harvard Business School student, has helped operate multiple political campaigns, founded the Richmond Startup Business Council, and recently co-founded V12 Consulting Group, plus he serves as Director of Business Development for Covintus Inc. He credits his success to forming relationships with other servant leaders committed to the growth and well-being of the Richmond community. He points to an impressive list of speakers, such as Dave Gallagher, founder and CEO of Dominion Payroll, and Mark Smith, owner of the Richmond-area Midas franchise, who are regularly sharing their talents and personal stories of growth with members of The 804 Young Professionals Club.
“What’s important to us is providing an opportunity for young professionals to be more engaged in networking and learning from more seasoned business leaders, as well as to be more engaged in our greater community,” explains Robertson, a 31-year-old East End resident who graduated from Cornell University and Villanova University for Law School. “I’m from Richmond, Gabe is from Richmond, and we’re passionate about this city and want to see it transformed.”
Robertson says that while The 804 Club for Young Professionals is predominately made up of members from 21 to 40 years old, membership is open to any professional looking to connect, share their talents, and grow. He adds that the success of the club addresses a false narrative about millennials in the workplace. “It’s often said that young people aren’t engaged, so we want to turn that on its head,” says Robertson. “At the 804 Club, we’re getting involved and doing things that will help uplift the City of Richmond and surrounding communities.”
As an attorney, former school board candidate, and co-founder of V12 Consulting Group, Robertson says that his goal is to bring his background and enthusiasm to every 804 Club event in hopes of growing the programming and encouraging more service-based projects.
“We don’t just go to a bar or venue and exchange business cards,” says Robertson. “Our membership includes those just out of college to those at the height of their careers, those who are small business leaders and those who are CEOs of major corporations. And we have nonprofit leaders. Everyone is looking to connect. If business also happens, it happens.” Robertson adds that The 804 Club is launching The 804 Club Foundation to give club members a chance to put their skills to use around Greater Richmond. He says that the foundation will engage in fundraising activities for local causes, back-to-school and holiday drives, and provide scholarship opportunities.
For more information about joining The 804 Club for Young Professionals and the next event, visit https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12222104/.