Resident Rainmakers

At BigBamboo, we believe in the power of the network. Acting as Relationship VC’s, there is value and currency in your relationships.

However, it is not just having great relationships, but knowing how to use them. There was a saying once from a VC in Chicago who said, “I would introduce you but I can’t, I only have so many bullets in my gun”!

What he meant by that was he didn’t really understand or value his relationships. If he did, he would know which companies and individuals he could make an introduction to, and which ones you could not.

It reminds me of something from the defunct Chicago Brain Trust. The following cartoon illustrates the view on not only the Venture world, but others as well.

The value in a relationship is in knowing what BOTH parties need, and then making a good connection for the benefit of all. There is indeed an art, and even a science, to doing this well.

Below, is a roster of “Resident Rainmakers”. These individuals are exemplary not only in their contacts, but their willingness and desire to help others.

To the individuals below we say- Go make RAIN!

Dennis Hayes- Mr. Hayes Advisory Board Chair – Mr. Hayes is most famous for his position as Chairman, President and CEO of Hayes Microcomputer Products, Inc., where he took the organization from a start up to a global company reaching revenues in excess of $240 million annually, with more than 1,500 employees. As a creator of the modem, the term “Hayes Compatible” meant it adhered to the worldwide standard created be Mr. Hayes. The very premise of the internet can indirectly be traced to the success of the PC Modem, and Mr. Hayes. He is a recognized technology industry leader, company and association founder, entrepreneur, senior management executive, and director or advisor to businesses and other organizations with proven skills in global organization management, market and technology development, and influencing legislation for the benefit of the on-line industry. In November 2003 he was inducted to the Computer Industry Hall of Fame along with Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Bill Gates.

Peter Balbus- Mr. Balbus is CEO of Pragmaxis, LLC, a strategic management consulting firm that specializes in defining and operationalizing top-line growth, e-Business and transformation strategies for Fortune 1000 corporations. Mr. Balbus is a former Vice President and General Manager at Booz Allen Hamilton/Aestix. Peter’s career includes the position of Principal with CSC Index, and Chief Strategy Officer for Spectrum Group. Peter has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Melissa Giovagnoli – Melissa is President of Networlding, Inc. and is one of the world’s leading experts on the development of individual and community leadership networks as a means of growing and accelerating brand loyalty and performance improvement inside and outside organizations. For more than a decade Melissa’s organization, Networlding, has provided exceptional relationship marketing and management programs for organizations like AT&T, CNA, Motorola and Disney. Melissa is the author and/or co-author of eight top-selling books. Her seventh book, co-authored with CMO of Office Depot, Jocelyn Carter Miller, held the #10 spot on Amazon (in Chicago) for a year. Other books include: Networlding: Building Relationships and Opportunities for Success, 75 Cage Rattling Questions that Change the Way You Work, The Power of Two: Rethinking and Reforming Strategic Alliances, and Angels in the Work Place. Melissa has also been a guest on both radio and television including The Today Show, CNN, WGN, CNBC and FOX. One of her books was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her unique program, The Extravaganza, has been highly evaluated by Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Melissa founded Service Showcase, Inc., an innovative consulting firm started in 1986. She has grown the company to include clients Price Waterhouse, AT&T, Dean Foods and Motorola as well as dozens of smaller companies and organizations. In 1998 she was chosen one of six extraordinary women of the year by The University of Chicago Women’s Graduate Business Alumni Board. Melissa has a BA in Sociology and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Jim McClung – Mr. McClung is Vice Chairman of Charter Consulting. In his over thirty years of business experience, he has become a recognized expert in global marketing, alliance strategies and managing profitable businesses. Prior to Charter Consulting, Jim spent the majority of his career with FMC Corporation, most recently serving as the company’s Senior Vice President and Executive Corporate Officer. At FMC Corporation he held top management positions both domestically and internationally. He also served as President of the company’s European operations. Mr. McClung is active on the boards of several public and private corporations, including Alticor (Amway), Turtle Wax and Nanophase Technologies Corporation. He is a founding member of the U.S. Russia Business Council. He serves as a trustee for the American Graduate School of International Management and also is a trustee of the College of Wooster (Ohio) where he earned a bachelor’s degree. Mr. McClung earned a master’s degree from the University of Kansas and a doctorate from Michigan State University.

Peter Strople – Coming soon. Peter can be found at

Bob Bellano – Coming soon. Bob can be found at

Ken Rutkowski-