One of the many reasons for starting bestofjess.com is to help KC’rs, especially young professionals, connect to the groups and activities that make the most sense for them. I get asked a lot which organizations or events new employees or “transplants” (those new to Kansas City) should get involved in. Because there are plenty of options, I always try to tailor my recommendations to whatever you want to get out of your involvement.
A friend of mine sent me an email recently: “We have a new team member that would like to get more involved with young professional groups for networking and he asked me if I had any suggestions. Knowing that you are the networking queen can you shoot me some recommendations to pass on. I may also join a few if they sound worthwhile.”
So, I started in with the questions: What’s your goal with networking? Giving back to the community? Meeting other young people your age to hang with? Meeting potential sales leads (in which case, what is the typical/best lead like)? This friend was looking to make business relationships for potential sales leads for their sports-event-type business. I’ve shared my response below. Click on the name of an organization to read a blog post about it:
The Corporate Sales teams for some of the local Kansas City sports teams have been fairly involved with genKC and the Business Marketing Association in Kansas City (BMA). Those would be a good place to start. The American Marketing Association (AMA) doesn’t meet very often, but always have great content. They’re good at bringing in bigger speakers. The Social Media Club of Kansas City (SMCKC) is an especially dedicated/involved group. That’s an option for sure. I’m also involved with a charity competition/group called Project Change that would be a good way to meet people that are looking to be involved in the city. It started as a Construction/Engineering/Architecture group, so that’s still a large part of the group, but hey… you never know. And it’s grown every year.
It’s kind of a laundry list, but the big 2 would maybe be SMCKC and genKC?
If you’re looking to get involved, start with outlining what you want to get out of the experiences. Depending on the reasons you want to get involved, try finding the one or two organizations or clubs that are the right fit for you. Don’t take on too much to start with. You’ll get more out of your interactions with a group if you can really dedicate yourself to it. And if you’re not in love with the idea of meandering into a new group or event by yourself, take a friend, coworker or cohort with you!
If you’re looking for some of the upcoming events in Kansas City for mingling, networking or just enjoying the city, check out the YUUM Calendar for Young, Urban, Upwardly Mobile professionals in Kansas City.
I’d love to hear about the groups you’re a part of… What organizations do you spend your time with and who else would get a lot out of them?