Atlanta’s status as a global hub for a variety of industries means one thing: plenty of interesting people to meet.
From the tech scene to the nonprofit world, here are seven solid networking groups worth an introduction.
1. YNPN Atlanta
The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Atlanta supports future leaders in the region’s nonprofit sector through social events and professional development opportunities. Many of the monthly networking events are free, and extra fun events—like “speed geeking,” where you learn how to use your personal interests to develop professional connections—mix up the routine.
Hoping to meet local businesswomen in a non-competitive environment? Maybe you’d like to find a mentor, but don’t know where to start. The Atlanta Women’s Network, founded in 1979, hosts a variety of mixers and discussions with the area’s business leaders. A mentoring program is available for members (dues run around $150/year).
Atlanta Under 40 hopes that a bit of mingling can lead to friendship — and maybe a little business, too. Monthly networking happy hours hosted by this “no strings attached” group are just $10 if you pay in advance, and a few appetizers are usually provided. The crew rotates among favorite watering holes and new venues.
The Women in Technology (WIT) Atlanta Women Business Network understands that it takes a lot to balance work and life. That’s why they schedule their events at varying times—early mornings, lunch hour, or after work—to host monthly forums and development opportunities. No membership is required, and volunteer opportunities are available for tech women wishing to work with future STEM stars.
This members-only Meetup caters to Atlanta’s stylish side. Boasting nearly 2,000 designers, bloggers, photographers, stylists, and other professionals, the group seeks to connect the many elements that intersect to keep us looking sharp.
Atlanta’s active branch of the Social Media Club welcomes all types of online communications professionals. Sign up for a topical “lunch ‘n learn” session or try something a little more creative: for example, a social media case study cage match. If the competition is too intense for you to take the stage, you’re still sure to make some great connections in the audience.
The Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals brings together those who work to build and strengthen their communities. Just one example of an interactive event: an idea hackathon to help fellow young professionals brainstorm solutions for community issues. You’ll be so wrapped up in the goal that you’ll barely realize you’re making connections.
If you live in Atlanta, what other groups would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
Lisa Rowan is a writer and editor in Washington, D.C. Her typical sin at networking events: getting distracted by the hors d’oeuvres.