WATERLOO - Andrew Ambrose of 1st National Bank of Waterloo recently discussed the bank’s involvement with the North Alton-Godfrey Business Council (NAGBC) onOur Daily Show! On Riverbender.com. Ambrose highlighted the council's unique approach to networking and its impact on the local business community.

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He credited the council for fostering a laid-back environment where networking isn’t “forced,” and attendees can be as outgoing or reserved as they choose. Even as businesses took a post-pandemic hit, he said the NAGBC has always attracted business owners for consistent networking opportunities. Andrew Ambrose, AVP commercial loan officer and CRA officer at 1st National Bank of Waterloo

“The council has always pulled a fair amount of people to network with,” Ambrose said. “There’s also a lot of value in you [getting] out of it what you want to get out of it, which I like.”

Ambrose said 1st National Bank of Waterloo’s involvement with the NAGBC has helped them in their own community, as having the business owners present sends a message to local residents. He also spoke highly of the council’s guest speakers.

“The council has more of the actual owners coming, and I think that’s part of it too,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with ‘gatekeepers’ or an office manager, but I feel like our community, they see value in that. Some of it’s that approach, but the level of speakers we have seems to be another part of it too - it brings out the best in each of us, I think.”

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While the council’s main purpose centers around business, Ambrose said the meetings sometimes take an entirely different focus, such as last month’s meeting about the National Memorial of Military Ascent in Grafton.

“A lot of our ‘business’ council meetings are not business-first. That one was focused on, in Grafton, the incredible monument that they’re working on,” Ambrose said. “That spurs, ‘How can businesses partner with the community?’ but that’s a great example of how we don’t necessarily lead with dollars or whatever it is, a lot of it’s community-driven.”

With a new website and the ability to take credit card payments, Ambrose added that 1st National is able to take small steps to make the modern accommodations newer generations expect.

“A lot of groups are reflective of ours where its a lot of aging demographic - which is fantastic, we’ve got a lot of experience in the room and we respect that,” he said. “But for me, it’s all about how do we get the next generation of young professionals involved?”

Ambrose encourages business and community members of all ages to visit the NAGBC website, where they can apply to join the council. While full membership fees are $55, Ambrose added that anyone interested in getting involved can join as a “community member” for just $35.

Also on the NAGBC website, you can register for their next meeting at 11:30 a.m. on June 11, 2024 at Alton Memorial Hospital, featuring guest speaker Brad Spencer from Imperial Manufacturing.

For more insights into 1st National Bank of Waterloo and the NAGBC, check out the full interview with Ambrose at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.

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