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Whether you’re new to Los Angeles and looking to establish yourself in the community, or a long-time resident with big career aspirations, meeting your fellow Angelenos and building relationships is crucial. And no better place to accomplish this than a meeting specifically organized and structured for professional connections: the networking event.
It’s no surprise that a metropolis like L.A. offers an abundance of fun, unique and enriching opportunities to mingle. From super-casual to super-professional — with artsy, nerdy, gutsy and more thrown into the mix — finding a get-together you’ll dig and benefit from is easy.
Here are 10 great events to consider. (Click here to tweet this list.)
Socialites, unite! With a massive global membership of over 200,000, NetParty gatherings are well-attended and heavy on the entertainment factor. Rub elbows in swanky nightclubs, chic lounges and gorgeous mansions as you “combine business networking with social fun” at these fantastic congregations, featured in Forbes and U.S. News & World Report.
Membership is free and events are surprisingly affordable, and while the atmosphere is party-like, the focus is conversation — music is always kept to a no-shouting-required level.
If you work in the energy industry, the Young Professionals in Energy LA group is a must-join. Highly organized leadership combines with highly engaged membership to create a remarkably positive member experience. YPE emphasizes professional development and advancement, aiming to produce an environment conducive to sharing knowledge and experiences and considering career opportunities.
Open to all energy professionals, membership is free, along with most events; the LA chapter hosts about one every two months at various locations.
Interested in exploring the city and making new friends while logging your networking hours? The Downtown LA Young Professionals Happy Hour and DTLA Happy Hour Crew Meetup groups are for you.
Go bowling, play billiards and hit up rooftop bars with other 20- and 30-somethings, many of whom work or live downtown. With over 1,000 young professionals in each group getting together almost monthly, you’re sure to make some interesting connections.
Here’s a deal for you: For (typically) $15 or less, attend hip and meaningful events like art shows, black light parties and pro-environment city clean-ups with the camp of over 300 volunteers at nonprofit Philanthro Los Angeles.
Made up of early-career adults set on supporting good causes, members seek to encourage their peers to get involved in philanthropic social and leadership volunteer activities by hosting these exceptional gatherings. Building relationships and doing good? That’s a bargain.
There’s a lot to love about the Writers With Drinks LA community. Comprised of nearly 600 accomplished writers and literary professionals, members convene monthly for free social get-togethers, as well as “book panels, readings and discussions featuring award-winning writers in many genres including fiction, memoir, screenwriting, TV writing, journalism and playwriting.”
But the best part? The panels include free snacks and sangria.
Wondering if you’ll fit in with the Ambitionista crowd? Here’s the equation: Female + 20-something + Ambitious = Ambitionista.
And while the group name can sound fabulous at first read, these ladies mean business. As founder Mira Johnson writes in the group’s Meetup profile, “This is NOT a ‘fluffy’ spa party or wild and crazy nightlife meetup. We are serious about success and personal growth.” Membership is free, as are some events, which include friendly networking and support assemblies, as well as a monthly speaker series.
Nerdy, geeky and/or dorky workers, LA has a group in which you can feel right at home: Westside Geeks & Nerds. Obsessed with a particular topic? Passionate about learning in general? A bit socially awkward, perhaps? Connect with your people and stimulate your brain at WGN’s monthly themed outings, held at art galleries, museums, game stores and other intellectual-friendly spots.
With game nights, book discussions, movie showings and more, bonding with the club’s 1,000+ members promises to be as engaging as it is beneficial.
Enjoy monthly talks on highly relevant topics in the female entrepreneur’s world, as well as relaxed periodic happy hours, when you join the Women Entrepreneurs Club of Los Angeles.
This group of close to 300 “dynamic, creative, educated and forward-thinking Los Angeles women” organizes regularly to share ideas and experiences, announce events and collaborate on projects. Membership includes admission to an exclusive social media group focused on strengthening offline relationships between like-minded professionals.
No networking opportunities round-up would be complete without mention of the local Toastmasters chapter. Join a group of motivating L.A. professionals working together to enhance their individual communication and leadership skills every Friday at 12 pm at Southern California Gas Company.
There’s a $20 fee for new members, plus international dues of $36 every six months and reasonable club-level dues. The payback? Better public speaking and presentation skills, good quality contacts… and maybe even that promotion.
Cassie Nolan is a freelance writer and the blogger behind Alternative Badassery, where she covers career, health and writing topics. She also sometimes says cool stuff on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.