Networking doesn’t mean throwing around you business cards like confetti or cold-emailing strangers asking them to be your mentor.
Networking is about friendship, true connection and building mutually beneficial relationships. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Whether you’re looking to expand in your current career or explore a new and exciting industry, it’s the people you meet who will lead your way.
Luckily, San Francisco is a hub of all things career, and not just tech. It’s a city that encourages you to always improve, to disconnect as a way to truly connect, and it’s a place that’s almost overwhelming in its options for how to spend your free time.
So why not kill all three birds with one stone? Here are 10 networking events in San Francisco that can help you accomplish all of the above.
This national business event company has more than 500,000 members in cities across the country. Their goal is to help professionals expand their network and create new opportunities. In San Francisco, their events happen at popular spots like roe, The Grand and Manor West.
Network without networking. Digital Detox is about “creating balance in the digital age.” Their events include retreats, device-free drinks and analog zones at conferences. Or, dive in head first by attending one of their summer camps for adults at Camp Grounded.
Hosted every other Wednesday at 6pm, Airbnb offers talks for the tech folk in all of us. If you live in San Francisco and work on a computer, these events should be on your must-attend list. Past talks include “using technology to build a better food system” and “engineering lessons from famous projects.” There’s always something to learn here and it doesn’t hurt that the Airbnb offices are gorgeous.
If you’re intimidated by mingling in a room full of strangers over punch, head to Makeshift Society. This coworking clubhouse classes like DIY Public Relations, book launch parties, mixers and open office hours with their talented members. Makeshift is a great place to build a network as well as leaning on their many opportunities for peer learning and mentoring.
5. Impact Hub
Impact Hub is a global network with more than 7,000 members, but each location has deep community roots which not only offers shared workspace, but amazing events and programs. They really want you connect with other members. Their Berkeley location offers a bi-weekly Lunch and Learn, which covers topics like marketing and app development. Bring your own bag lunch and questions!
The purpose of San Francisco’s UX Book Club is to “enhance the abilities and knowledge of user experience professionals” while building a local community. They host regular meetups where the authors of said UX books attend the talks, as well as senior managers at various companies across the city. These events are both an incredible networking experience, but one chock-full of new learnings.
There’s something incredibly supportive and encouraging about women’s only networking. PWN aims to encourage women women in business as employees, entrepreneurs, licensed professionals and small business owners. Their events include monthly luncheons, after work networking and Saturday morning coffees. You can attend up to three while you decide if membership is right for you.
This growing educational institution hosts a variety of events from happy hours to panel discussions to hackathons. They’re always well-attended and are a great way to meet the community and feel empowered to pursue the work you love.
Nonprofit StartOut is dedicated to creating business leaders by fostering LGBT entrepreneurs. Their San Francisco events offer traditional networking mingling, speed networking and more structured demo days where you can learn about getting access to capital.
This Meetup is always organizing jam-packed talks and events. If you’re in any way involved in the creation and delivery of content (from copyediting to content management), these guys meet monthly to share in their commitment to creating more effective online and interactive content. This group always has amazing speakers, like the content strategists at Pinterest and Code for America.
Marian Schembari is a blogger, traveler and all-around social media thug. She landed in San Francisco via New Zealand via London via New York, where she’s now the Marketing Manager at Thumbtack.