Speed Networking. Most people have heard of the scary sister event, Speed Dating – well, the YNPNsfba Education Speed Networking event held on June 26th was much more enriching for personal development and making career contacts.
Held at the Foundation Center in downtown San Francisco, the room was packed with around 80 eager bodies. Walking into the atmosphere I was greeted by smiling faces all around, ready to speak about their passions for the non-profit world. Before the official networking session began, I had already made three acquaintances.
Then we started. Nervous, palms sweating and trying to remember my elevator speech, we started. One inner ring of chairs and one outer ring circled inside the room. I stretched out my hand, “Hi there, what brings you here tonight?” the polite and friendly face in front of me asked. Oh easy, this man opened up the conversation and it was smooth sailing from there. It’s easy to start talking about things you care about – helping to improve the world through your work. In the end, the real challenge wasn’t finding enough to say, it was having to stop talking once we started because the four-minute time slots with each person whizzed by!
I met over 20 professionals who were all inspiring, ambitious, passionate and caring people. If ever an organization could collectively pull together a group of these types of people, it’s YNPN. There were CEOs of companies looking to recruit or make connections; there were young and eager job searchers and well-established employees of the non-profit education sector.
I came away with a plethora of business cards, which I immediately looked up on LinkedIn when I got home. I gained 20 new potential personal contacts to help propel me into the non-profit field and 20 new stories to learn and grow from. Each person shared a personal experience that I could learn from. It was a fascinating and invaluable night. I met a nonprofit founder and got a job prospect with an invitation for an early interview! Plus, I made a new friend. I scored in every way and left the event with a new notebook list of possibilities – you never know just how something will turn out in the end, but I have high hopes.
See you at the next networking event? I hope so!
This is a guest post by new YNPNsfba member Aja Viafora. Aja recently moved back to California from Sydney, Australia She works as a consultant in nonprofit marketing, PR, and event planning.