Billy Dexter

On the value of his membership at the Metropolitan Club in Chicago

BY LOUIS MARROQUIN

Member since: 2009

Why he joined: "The diversity of the membership was huge for me. Some clubs in Chicago aren't very diverse, but here you see other African-American executives and entrepreneurs, Hispanics, women. It was very comforting - and that was even before I knew the history that the Metropolitan Club was one of the first business clubs in Chicago to admit African-Americans and women."

On building relationships: "I've used my network to create events for the club. Every two years, Chicago United, a large diversity advocacy association, puts together a group of 40 senior executives called Business Leaders of Color. I suggested we create a quarterly networking event at the club. It was pretty cool to bring two of my networks together to create relationships and connections for folks."

On enriching lives: "I also serve on the boards of several nonprofits. One in particular called Link Unlimited provides scholarships to high-potential students who are economically disadvantaged and connects them with mentors. We've hosted cultivation events at the club to encourage people to support the cause."

Unlikeliest connection: "I've really enjoyed getting to know our board chair Robert Zmudka. On the surface you may think we wouldn't have much in common, but through our interaction on the board and our passion for cigars and sports, we've developed a great friendship - and we've been able to introduce each other to different friends in our respective networks."

Oh, and those family perks: "We've also used the club's ticket service to go to concerts. We scored some amazing Beyoncé tickets a few years ago, so I was a big hero with the wife."

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