Bruce Croxon from Dragon’s Den, speaks to a Winnipeg audience

Glen Buhler shows off his high-rise office in downtown Winnipeg.

Glen Buhler shows off his high-rise office in downtown Winnipeg. THE PROJECTOR/Clayton Winter

The Manitoba Executive Group is on a mission to revitalize the business community in Winnipeg.

Headed by Glen Buhler, the relatively new group focuses on business and leadership development by promoting fun experiences. The idea is to build business friendships within the community.

As part of this initiative, they hosted the Manitoba Executive Summit on Sept. 24, which brought in big names like Bruce Croxton from CBC’s Dragon’s Den and boasted a new dinner format to spice up the event.

“Glen Buhler really focuses on Winnipeggers meeting each other,” said Margaux Miller, manager of marketing and account relations at Pinnacle. “A lot of aspects in his event lead to that.”

Events like this are often outside the box. Previous events include high performance driving with Mercedes-Benz, attending Winnipeg Jets games and seeing movies at the VIP theatres. The group also restricts its members to executives and CEOs.

“Events like these get people in their true personality,” Miller said. “I cannot imagine that anyone left that event without making a strong business connection.”

This is a huge DIY project for Buhler, who started the group in 2011. At first, he paid for the events himself to raise his profile in the business community. Buhler re-launched the Manitoba Executive Group as a business in 2014.

“A lot of people will come because of the connections they make. It’s about having fun and the experiences,” Buhler said. “When you go out and a let yourself have fun, you build relationships with people in a much different way than just handing out business cards.”

Buhler encourages students to think of participating in networking events, despite the executive level being a different type of conversation student’s may not be familiar with.

“It’s important for students to see the practical applications of what they’re learning,” Buhler said. “The presenters are experts who work in the field things day in and day out… they are coming from experience rather than theoretical.”