Looking to land a new gig in Louisville? In Possibility City, the opportunities to connect with your next boss or a future colleague are endless — especially if you regularly attend a few of these networking events in the area.
Louisville is a true Midwestern gem: a haven for bourbon lovers, an emerging startup culture with a focus on sustainable growth, a burgeoning metropolis that retains its small-town charm. Whatever your career goals or networking style, these seven groups showcase some of the best that Louisville has to offer. (Click here to tweet this list of networking events.)
No Rules Networking is about as relaxed as business building gets. Founded in September 2000 with the goal of developing a networking group where people could get to know one another without pressure or restrictions, the group has grown from its original 12 participants to over 60 networkers. In addition to the original “No Rules” evening get-together on the third Thursday of every month, NRN also hosts a faith-based “Work-Life balance” networking lunch every second Friday and a SushiNet lunch group on the first Friday of the month.
Other than food costs, No Rules Networking does not require membership or attendance fees for any of its events. Visitors do have the option to register for membership on its website, but registration is free and allows members to post a resume, event or job opening; receive the monthly email blasts; and be included in the online member directory.
Designed for professionals between the ages of 22 and 39, the Young Professionals Association of Louisville offers a great way to get involved in the community, grow your social and professional network and develop your leadership skills. With speed networking events, luncheons with local and national politicians, committee meetings and happy hour get-togethers, there is always someone to meet and something to learn with the YPAL.
Many of the events hosted by YPAL are open to the public, but members receive discounts on admission (along with discounts at local merchants and participation in YPAL committees). An annual membership is $50.
Network After Work is a national networking organization that has revolutionized the networking scene. There are no membership fees or ongoing commitments, with Louisville events costing just $12 when paid in advance, $20 at the door, or $15 at the door if you register online in advance.
The group’s meet-ups take place at venues such as Tengo Sed Cantina, The Tavern on 4th, and Marquee Bar, and regularly draw more than 100 attendees. While large groups can sometimes feel overwhelming while networking, color-coded name badges help attendees to recognize other participants from their own industry. The monthly meetings last from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with light appetizers from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a free cocktail before 7 p.m.
Collaboration, cooperation and connection are at the heart of this women’s networking group. Rather than the traditional networking meeting format which focuses on brief introductions followed by a speaker or presentation, The Heart Link Network keeps the focus on the members by allowing every attendee a three minute “spotlight” to introduce him or herself and share more about their business. Each month also features an “Honoree” theme, where members are encouraged to bring a guest from a profession which is not typically represented at networking events, including nurses, teachers and police officers.
The Heart Link Network holds meetings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday each month. There is no ongoing membership cost; individual events are $20 in advance ($25 at the door, space permitting), which includes the cost of the meal. There are also a number of discounts for events paid in advance, so if you plan to attend multiple dinners you can get a great deal by paying ahead.
If you’re looking for a way to get involved in the community while expanding your social and professional network, look no further than the Louisville Urban League Young Professionals chapter. Like the National Urban League, LULYP is a service and advocacy organization for the urban community, with a focus on young professionals that fosters connections between like-minded individuals.
Membership in LULYP costs $50 per year (on a fiscal year basis running July through June). General meetings are held on the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Louisville Urban League and open to all members. In addition to the general meetings, LULYP offers a number of opportunities each month to get connected and give back to the community.
If you’re in the advertising business — or looking to break into it — you need to check out the Louisville chapter of the American Advertising Federation. In addition to fun events like happy hours and comedy nights, you’ll also get access to educational meetings and seminars that will give you a career boost. Industry networking is a key goal of AAF-Louisville for young professionals and advertising veterans alike.
Membership in AAF-Louisville is available at a number of price points, both at individual rates ($40 per year for students, $90 per year for young professionals, $150 per year plus $25 registration fee for individuals, and more) and corporate rates ($450 per year for 4 members, $1,190 per year for 10 members, and $4,160 per year for 25 members). In addition to discounted admission to AAF-sponsored events, member receive a number of other discounts for national and local products and services.
The perfect group for moms (and dads!) who know that work-life balance often means mixing business and pleasure. In their own words, they’re “just a group of cool moms that run businesses or sales careers, raise kids, volunteer at charities, no big deal, just taking over the world and sharing ideas on how to do it all.”
Group meetings take place at parks, members’ homes and local happy hours, and can feature anything from a playdate and business-card swap to a volunteer opportunity to a lunchtime seminar. There are no official memberships or dues, and interested participants are welcome to connect through MeetUp, Facebook or Twitter.
Shelby Blanchard Stogner is a freelance copywriter and blogger who helps businesses get the word out about the great work they’re doing. Visit her on the web at www.sbscopywriting.com for marketing tips and advice on how your business can benefit from zombies.