Inland Business Catalyst - March/April 2008
It's important to have a solid professional network both within and outside your industry. "You never know who you'll need to call on or what type of help you may be asking for, so it's best that your network spreads far and wide," says Communications Chair Bethany Luck-Hutson. "Make sure you never burn bridges. Spokane is a tight-knit community. You've got to use that to your advantage, not your detriment." The Spokane Society of Young Professionals is a networking organization without an age limit... it's all about youthful energy. Here's what has worked for us when it comes to networking.
Build your network.
Meet as many people as you can and really get to know them. "Build your network by attending SSYP events, which draw friendly, outgoing people who are excited about the potential for new professional relationships," says Recreation Chair Ryan Erlandson. Get involved in many different groups and attend lots of different events. Because we understand the value of members of different organizations networking with each other, SSYP recently cosponsored events with Young Lawyers Division of the Spokane County Bar Association, the Spokane Athletic Club and Greater Spokane Incorporated. "SSYP's goal to make Spokane a better place for young professionals to live, work and play is compatible with what a lot of other groups are seeking to accomplish," says Civic Chair Rick Repp. "We team up with other organizations because we recognize that helping them achieve their mission helps us achieve our mission. And at the same time, we're creating even more opportunities for our members to expand their networks."
Maintain your network.
Keep a good record of the people you meet – use Outlook and your rolodex. Make sure to associate names with faces. Maintain your relationships by contacting people just to see how they are doing, not just when you need something. "Successful networking is not about showing up at one event and finding someone to buy a product you are selling. It's about making connections and building relationships that will last for years," says Membership Chair Matt Albrecht.
Do your part to make the Spokane Region a better place to live for everyone while meeting new people. "SSYP organizes volunteers to assist with building houses for Habitat for Humanity and entertaining children at Shriner's Children's Hospital, among other things. It's not only a great way to get involved and give back to the community, it's a great way to meet new people and build your network," says Opportunities Chair Ashlee Erlandson.
Enjoy our community
Spokane is a great community to live in. In addition to all the fabulous restaurants, great arts scene and tons of recreational opportunities, we have excellent intellectual property and successful and interesting entrepreneurs. Take advantage of all of it. By enjoying what our community has to offer, you'll build your network by meeting other people who share your interests. "SSYP is constantly seeking out the hip new places in town to hold our events. Our members enjoy being on the cutting edge and checking out new places. We're able to provide that for them," says Social Chair Nicole Bradley. "We also bring in speakers from different industries and different perspectives – people our members wouldn't necessarily normally have access to," says Finance Chair Kelly Franklin. "We're fortunate that Spokane can capture and retain young talent because of the great things this community offers," says Sponsorship Chair Chris Bell. "It's important to experience as much of it as you can to maximize your networking efforts."