What networking group should you join?
There are countless Springfield organizations that offer you an opportunity to get involved with other professionals and the community, but how do you know which one is the right fit for you?
By Savannah Waszczuk
Rotaract Club of Springfield, Missouri
Many members in Rotaract (springfieldrotaract.org), who are all ages 30 and younger, are experiencing similar first milestones in both their personal and professional lives. Whether you’re buying your first house or trying to deal with a new leadership role at work, chances are someone else in Rotaract is, too, and they’ll be happy to offer advice. The club has monthly socials and service projects, along with two meetings each month for networking and personal and professional development. As a service club, its primary goal is to serve those in need—specifically, Great Circle’s youth.
The Network for Springfield’s Young Professionals
Described as the largest young professional group in the area, The Network (springfieldchamber.com) has close to 500 members who are all between 21 and 39 years old. Individuals get to know people from various industries, and associates of small and large companies are welcome to join. Although there’s a focus on peer-to-peer networking, The Network’s twice-per-month programs raises funds for a new charity each year. The Network is a program managed by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
Business Network International has multiple 417-land chapters for business owners and entrepreneurs of all ages. Local chapters, including the Business Power Network (businesspowernetwork.com), aim to pass business referrals and leads from one member to another. “BNI is a networking organization that teaches you how to network and promote your own business,” says Business Power Network Mentor Andy Flint. In Flint’s group, there’s only one professional from each industry, such as banking and real estate.
So if someone has a need for your business, you’ll get the referral.
There are five Rotary clubs in Springfield, and all of their members have one goal in mind: learning the needs of the community, then figuring out how to meet them either as individuals or with the help of their companies. The majority of Rotary members are 30 or older, and most of them are business owners, managers or other key players. As far as networking and meeting other professionals who might one day work with them, this happens, too—but more as a byproduct. Find more information and contact local clubs by using the Club Finder at rotary.org.
Networking for Sertoma Groups (facebook.com/springfieldsertoma) is a bit different from most organizations. Members don’t join to pitch their business to the entire club. Instead, they join as a way of volunteering for the community. Becoming friends and meeting other business owners—and then learning what they do—happens at things like a weekly lunch, fundraising events and even occasional dinner dates with other members. The organization, which offers both men- and women-only clubs in Springfield, hosts many major fundraisers throughout the year to support local children’s charities.
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