A Young Professionals Guide to Networking
By Laine Himmelmann
If you’ve looked at your LinkedIn newsfeed at all lately, you probably noticed the plethora of rapidly sprouting and growing Young Professionals (YP) Groups on our little grid. Following the mentality that it’s not “what you know, but who you know”, bosses and parents all over town are encouraging recent graduates and mid-level professionals to join YP Groups and network their way to the top (or in my mother’s hopes, network your way into finding a potential suitor who has a real job and can provide her with grandchildren).
Having experienced such a prodding myself, both from my boss and well-intentioned, albeit too-involved, mother, I began looking into YP groups in the area and experienced what I can only describe as “YP Overload”.
With such a saturation of YP groups in our area, all with different fees and focuses, I instantly felt overwhelmed. So I did what any obnoxious and over-analytical Type A woman would do and created a summary sheet in hopes to help simplify my decision of which groups were the right fit for me.
Having done all the research already, I thought I might share my findings in hopes that it might make your decision easier.
The following is my findings on the YP groups based on what I’ve personally experienced, heard, and found on the World Wide Web.
Catalyst – New Leaders for New Century
- Focus: Business Professionals; Leadership Development
- Dues: $2,500 per participants. Commit to a 9 month program
- Crowd you can expect: This group is part of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. Due to the price and that this group is more centered on leadership development; you’re going to need to put your suit and serious face on. That said, their membership boasts a pretty hearty amount of Sacramento’s leading professionals.
- Types of Events you can expect: Networking events, seminars, trainings, and a graduation at the end.
- Website: www.sacasiancc.org/foundation/catalyst
Greater Sacramento Urban League Young Professionals
- Focus: Enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights.
- Dues: $50/year for Professionals
- Crowd you can expect: This group is an arm of the Greater Sacramento Urban League and focuses a lot on community development and empowerment. The group caters from 21-40, but offers discounts for college students. You’re going to get a mixed bag of folks here.
- Types of Events you can expect: Christmas Gift Drives, volunteer events in partnership with the Urban League, block parties, and “Pizza and Politics”.
- Website: www.joinyp.org
Habitat Young Professionals
- Focus: Professional Networking, Leadership, and Philanthropy
- Dues: $60/year
- Crowd you can expect: Caters to professionals ages 21-40 who are interested in supporting Habitat for Humanity through volunteerism and advocacy. (Ladies, if you’re looking for a man with a job who also has an interest in building things, this might be a good one to check out)
- Types of Events you can expect: Quarterly Builds on the Habitat construction site, quarterly Happy Hour Event Mixers, various community outreach events, and an Annual Fundraiser.
- Website: www.shfh.org
Ignite Young Professionals
- Focus: Professional Development
- Dues: Annual fee is $250 plus an initial registration fee of $50
- Crowd you can expect: Ignite is the Young Professional arm of the Roseville Chamber. They target professionals under 40. You’re going to find a similar crowd to MetroEdge, but cozier because they’re a smaller chamber and in Roseville.
- Types of Events you can expect: Happy Hours; Committee Meetings
- Website: http://rosevillechamber.com/ignite-young-professionals
- Focus: Professional Networking, Development
- Dues: Chamber Member – $100; Nonmember – $120
- Crowd you can expect: Metro Edge is the Young Professional Arm of the Metro Chamber. This is probably the biggest Young Professionals group in the area and they’re known for having well-attended and fun events. The crowd is full of young Sacramento movers and shakers, but be ready to put your brave face on because Metro Edge won’t hold your hand through these traditional networking mixer events. Bring your business cards; grab a drink, and good luck!
- Types of Events you can expect: Monthly Mixer Events
- Website: http://metro-edge.org
New Leaders Council “NLC”
- Focus: Professional and leadership development for political entrepreneurs
- Dues: FREE
- Crowd you can expect: The NLC is a 5-month program that focuses on engaging young professionals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Expect to find a lot of the non-profit and future politico movers and shakers in this crowd. These are the folks who are the right hand people to our electeds and will probably be running our community’s nonprofits in a few years.
- Types of Events you can expect: Trainings, seminars, alumni networking, happy hours, and meetings.
- Website: www.nlcsac.org
United Way Emerging Leaders
- Focus: Supporting the United Way, philanthropy, and networking.
- Dues: $365/Year (though word through the grapevine is they will be lowering it this year)
- Crowd you can expect: Emerging Leaders is the YP arm of the local United Way. It caters to under 40 and has a pretty diverse group of members which represent both their for-profit and non-profit partners. Even if you don’t join, their Annual White Party extravaganza is one event that you won’t want to miss.
- Types of Events you can expect: Various volunteer opportunities such as reading to kids or the Annual Toilet Paper Drive, White Party, and Networking Events.
- Website: www.yourlocalunitedway.org/el
Though I obviously can’t tell you which YP group is going to be the best fit for you, I hope, whether your aim is for a better career, suitor, or happy hour prospects, that you will have found this information helpful.
GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY YP NETWORKING!!!