Networking in San Diego: 8 Groups for Broadening Your Professional Network
With over three million people living in San Diego County, it can be all too easy to feel lost in the urban hustle and bustle. One tried and true method to meet interesting people inside and outside of your professional niche — and give you a leg up in the job market — is networking.
Regular networking events are offered by groups all over San Diego. Check out this list to see which one is right for you.
1. 6 Degrees
6 Degrees has something for everyone. If you consider yourself a social butterfly, their monthly happy hours (and bimonthly mixers, if you live in North County) provide the opportunity to meet and mingle.
They also offer Breakfast Speaker Panels every month, which has “become [their] most popular and highly attended events.” The topic of this series changes every time; for instance, experts spoke about sports and active lifestyle in July.
Finally, if you’re a higher-level executive or CEO looking to meet like-minded individuals, 6 Degrees offers exclusive Cigar and Scotch mixers every other month.
2. SCORE: San Diego
SCORE is an organization run by volunteers under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is a perfect fit for entrepreneurs. As with 6 Degrees, you can choose from numerous networking events. If you’re a woman who owns your own business (or aspires to), you’d probably enjoy the Women’s Networking Breakfast, put on every other month with a new speaker every time.
They also offer 40 workshops a year, almost all of which are either free or only cost a nominal fee. Not only do these forums allow you to network with other entrepreneurs, but they also provide lots of useful information, from how to establish a marketing plan to understanding intellectual property laws.
3. San Diego Young Entrepreneur Network
This is a group on meetup.com founded by Will Caldwell, a young entrepreneur himself. Caldwell holds events about once a month, hosting speakers who give talks on startup-related content. More than 150 young entrepreneurs belong to the group.
As one review reads, “ Pretty awesome. It’s nice to meet other self-driven people. It’s a good motivation booster, looking forward to other events. ” From the mouth of a “young trep” — look no further for a push in the right (entrepreneurial) direction.
4. LeTip of Greater San Diego
LeTip is unique in that it’s not a place to network with people in your own field — instead, they have spots for one person for each profession. One member explains, “The great thing about this group is that there can’t be a conflict of interest between two members. For instance, there can’t be two chiropractors or two divorce attorneys.”
This gives members the opportunity to network outside of their chosen professions, and it allows for an exchange of tips, which are “referrals from people who may benefit from a member’s services.” LeTip meets every Wednesday at 7 a.m. for breakfast.
5. Mission Bay Networking Group
This group is similar to LeTip in that one person from each profession is allowed. Members range from a chiropractor to a lawyer to a seamstress and a travel agent. Ultimately, as their website reads, “The primary goal of Mission Bay Networking Group is to develop strong referral partnerships.” If you’re interested in open positions, they meet every Friday morning and once a month for happy hour.
6. San Diego Pros
One great thing about San Diego Pros is that you can attend several meetings to test the waters and see if it’s a good fit for you. They invite you to one of their weekly Thursday morning meetings, you attend for several weeks in a row, and then you’ll be extended an invitation to officially join.
They distinguish themselves from other similar groups on their website, explaining, “B2B (business to business) networking groups tend to be expensive and demanding of referrals to members’ businesses. The San Diego Pros believe that by investing in the relationships within the group, the exchange of business happens as a natural byproduct.”
7. Network After Work: San Diego
If you’ve ever Googled “Networking Events,” you’ve probably heard of Network After Work. They’ve established a presence in 19 cities and counting. There are over 1,700 members in the San Diego meetup.com group alone, and each event “ranges in size from 150-600 professionals, and take place [monthly] in each city’s top nightlife destinations.”
This event is for you if you want to mingle (with cocktail in hand) with other young professionals at San Diego’s hottest spots — spots that include Fluxx nightclub, Vin de Syrah Wine Parlor and The W Hotel Rooftop.
As the name suggests, this is a females-only group. Women’s Wisdom hosts monthly luncheons that include “speakers, networking, table displays, vendors, business introductions, shout outs, door prize drawings and lots of gifts!”
The goal of this group is clear from the website byline: “Women Empowering Women In Friendship and Business.” Young women looking for support, encouragement, business advice and friendship, look no further.
Betty Vine is a freelance writer based in San Diego, California. She currently writes for Brain World Magazine and is interested in psychology, politics and all things GenY.