Ladies, I know your time is valuable.
I know you have 101 people pulling on you in different directions, all day long. And I know it is so easy to get caught up in the online networking. But the online networking doesn’t replace the physical networking.
Ladies, you need – you crave – your high-touch, face-to-face networking time with other successful women [image Face in the Wall by Heath Bar, Creative Commons]. Let’s get real. We do not want to hide behind a computer screen all day long, no matter how much we enjoy our Facebook postings and Twitter updates. After all, the online universe is no place to check out each other’s sassy summer dresses and strappy sandals. So where can a successful woman in the DC metropolitan area who has it all going on go to let it all hang out, connect, network, relax, laugh, and celebrate all that she is?
Look no further. I’m here to tell you.
I will profile my top 10 area networking groups in the coming days (also, all of these groups discussed are on Facebook). And by all means, if you’re outside the region visiting the area, check out these great groups to hopefully further expand your network.
There is no networking group anywhere – east coast or west coast, that has it going on like Success in the City. Launched by Chief Diva Cynthia deLorenzi, SITC is the place to meet FUN, confident professional women. This is not a place where you will find “speed networking” or get a lecture on time management, marketing, or other typical business topics. Because there is nothing typical about SITC. The events are always informative, progressive, trend-setting, inspiring, and the perfect blend of professional development and personal development [image Inspired by PhotographyMuse, Creative Commons]. This is an organization that is devoted to the building and strengthening of lasting friendships between professional women and leaders. Trust and humor are the foundations of this group. Once those elements are established, deals-on-heels can follow. SITC women are beautiful inside and out. They inspire me and bring out the best in me. They radiate optimism, confidence, and fun like no other group, and you always want to go back for more.
This past year, NAWBO NoVa and NAWBO DC joined forces to create a single DC metropolitan NAWBO Chapter. NAWBO’s events provide exceptional networking opportunities and educational opportunities for women business owners at all phases of the business lifecycle. It is comprised of both seasoned business owners and newer entrepreneurs, and its dedicated leadership work diligently to build highly valuable, collaborative programs that are directly tied to the wants and needs of its members. For women’s entrepreneurial education, NAWBO DC is the place to be.
I have had the pleasure of watching Women in Technology grow over the past several years, and it has evolved into an absolutely phenomenal organization for all women who are connected in any way with the technology industry (and that includes just about anybody). WIT has an exceptional mentor-protégé program (of which I used to be a proud mentor), which includes one-on-one mentoring sessions and great speaking programs. It also has several special interest groups (SIGs) including Diversity Outreach, Executive Women, Sales & Marketing, Technology, and Women Business Owners. In addition, it has a Girls in Technology Program and a Workforce Development program. Also worth mentioning is its tremendous commitment to philanthropic causes through galas, golf tournaments, and other events. WIT has many committees that offer everyone involvement at some level if they choose to get involved. They include Advocacy, Communications, Membership, Mentorship, Programs, Special Events, Strategic Alliances, Women in Government, and many more.
WBIS was started in 2003 by a dynamo named Sheila Dixon. Sheila is so passionately committed to connecting professional women and helping them realize their potential. I am inspired by her every day. The goal of WBIS is to help independent and professional women grow to their next level of success. WBIS holds Networthing Nights in addition to regularly scheduled luncheons and other collaborative events. Sheila’s positive energy and commitment to the success of other women is reason alone to become involved with WBIS. It is people like Sheila that enable all women entrepreneurs to reach their potential.
Sterling Women is the newest women’s networking group on this list, but don’t let that fact fool you. This group has enjoyed skyrocketing popularity due to the leadership and vision of Kristina Bouweiri, CEO of Reston Limousine. Anyone that has the good fortune of knowing Kristina is aware that she is always looking for ways to connect women with one another, and that she always puts her heart and soul into everything she does. These characteristics are why Reston Limousine is one of the top-rated transportation companies in the country, and why Sterling Women is now recognized as one of the best networking groups for women in the DC area. Kristina always goes above and beyond in everything she does, and Sterling Women participants benefit from her work ethic, passion, and commitment to the women’s community. In November, Sterling Women will host its first day-long conference – in addition to its monthly luncheons, so stay tuned for that important information.
Ladies, I hope you found this information to be valuable. What others would you add to the list?
Women have very unique networking needs, and there are many places to fill them.
And soon in coming days I will profile additional women’s networking groups, who are just as unique and valuable as these. Isn’t it fantastic to be a professional woman in the DC area?
Guest contributor Marissa Levin is Founder and CEO of Information Experts. Launching a new Women Grow Business series on sales strategy, Marissa was named a 2008 BRAVO Award winner by SmartCEO Magazine (which honors the region’s 25 most influential women CEOs) and recently was listed in Washington’s 100 Technology Titans by Washingtonian Magazine. Describing her true passion as “helping other business owners be successful with their own business growth”, Marissa can be reached through her blog Marissa Levin.