Great Business Networking 411

A network of professionals, for professionals

Our mission is simple: we empower each other through desirable friendships that produce quality business from a variety of meaningful events.

GBN grew out of the belief that local business owners can improve their surrounding community through improved business relationships. Our philosophy is to focus on friendships first, business second.

We know that when business friendships are improved, there will be an increase in revenue and referrals being passed between professionals. Our members develop meaningful connections through our networking groups and a variety of diverse events hosted throughout Charleston and the country.

About Our Meetings

Our philosophy drives our meetings: friendships first, business second. It’s simple, if you focus on making the members of your group your friends, you will get more referrals, higher quality referrals, and your weekly meeting will become not only something to look forward to but something that helps you grow personally and professionally.

Here’s a little bit more about what our meetings look like:

  • Only one person from each professional industry is accepted into our groups.
  • Our meetings last for 60-90 minutes. Members are asked to arrive early and stay for the entire meeting.
  • All networking groups follow our format: a 5-minute educational segment, 10-minute member highlight presentation, updates on other networking events in the area, 60-second commercials and, of course, lots of referrals being shared.
  • Attendance is critical. We allow our members to miss no more than one meeting per month without a substitute from their business.
  • In the past 7 years, we have passed well over 11,000 documented referrals and have produced over $110 Million in documented revenue
  • Our cost of membership is $180 per year (prorated based on the month you enroll). All new members are charged a $50 enrollment fee.

The GBN Story

It was the spring of 2011; Alan Thompson had reached a dead end. He wanted to grow his marketing business, Stingray Branding, through referrals. However, after looking all over Charleston and visiting several networking groups, he found that these groups either did not have an opening for his industry, or he was priced out of joining. 

So Alan made a decision. If he couldn’t find a place to grow his business through networking, he would create one.

So with a simple website and a listing on, Great Business Networking was born. Our first meeting took place at The Mellow Mushroom in Charleston with six other people in attendance. 

From the “founding seven” members, GBN has grown into a Not For Profit Organization with a Board of Directors and leadership team that boasts decades of networking and business experience.

GBN Leadership

Alan Thompson

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Alan Thompson has combined his two great passions in life – helping others and helping companies – and created two companies, GBN and Stingray Branding, which help others and their community. Alan is a proud Christian, husband, and father. When not spending time with his family or church family, he can usually be found helping a business owner or entrepreneur find a way to accomplish their goals.

Alan comes with a background in marketing, law enforcement, military, and fine dining. Alan has proudly served in the US Military for over 10 years. Whether you have a question, comment, concern, or just want to say hi you can reach him via email at

Steve Nettles

Board Member & Chief Financial Officer

Tax expert Stephen M. Nettles, operates Tax Pros Plus, LLC in North Charleston, SC. As an IRS licensed Enrolled Agent, Steve specializes in solving tax problems for individuals and businesses. Steve is also an IRS approved Tax Instructor and presents the quarterly “Start-Up Business” and “In Business” tax workshops sponsored by the SC Small Business Development Center.

Prior to starting his tax firm in 2005, Steve spent 20 years as Director of Management for a regional, quasi-governmental agency, and five years in the banking industry. In addition to serving as our CFO, Steve is on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Society of Enrolled Agents, is Past President of Charleston Area Referral Team and a US Army Veteran.

Born in Hemingway, South Carolina, Steve and his wife Dawn have been married for 38 years and live in North Charleston. They have two sons, three grandsons and one granddaughter.

Allen Vas Nunes

Board Member

Allen Vas Nunes has an extensive professional career in the fields of consumer products, financial advising and education in the North Charleston Community.  Currently,  he is an Economics Instructor at Trident Technical College which allows him to train the next generation of business leaders in North Charleston.  Prior to working in the field of education, Mr. Vas Nunes worked in the non – profit field advising the Dorchester School District and Berkeley County School District on behalf of Metropolitan Life for retirement planning.  His 30 years experience in the consumer products industry allows him a great insight into how to build and run entrepreneurial businesses successfully.  He continues to grow his base of knowledge through educational development by taking graduate work in the field of Applied Economics while already holding degrees in Marketing ( MBA ) as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Economics/ Education.