By Samantha Georgson
When you invest in your relationships, both personal and professional, you’re benefitting your own growth and evolution.
Networking isn’t simply about making connections — it’s about staying on top of industry trends and keeping a pulse on the job market. Ultimately it’s the key to building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships that will, in turn, foster your own career development.
There are so many amazing networking groups and co-working spaces in the Madison area that we couldn’t possibly list them all, but we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites that we hope will inspire you to get involved.
Editor’s note: As of press time, all groups listed are active and hosting virtual events.
100state’s mission is to create a community and home for problem solvers, creatives and entrepreneurs. With more than 300 active members, 100state is dedicated to providing educational resources, events, mentorship and more to the Madison area business and arts communities.
100state’s creative director, Sam Christensen, says one of the best parts about working for 100state is working alongside people of all industries.
“Sharing a space with computer engineers and software programmers challenges the way I think about things as an artist,” he says. “The community aspect is really what makes 100state so unique. Everyone brings such a different piece to the table,” explains Christensen.
Events are one of the cornerstones of 100state, and the organization is taking cues from the county about the safety of gatherings. Pre-COVID-19, 100state hosted in-person happy hours and member lunches but moved those to virtual or socially distant gatherings outside.
Christensen says he has other exciting events and creative workshops in mind, which will eventually be open to the public. 100state.com
AMERICAN FAMILY DREAMBANK
DreamBank hosts networking groups, company meetings, events and offers their own monthly programming of speakers on all topics. Typically, events are held at DreamBank (which are great for connecting with others) but, for now, online events are available for sign-up via its Facebook page. Topics include marketing strategy, rental property investments and family fitness. amfam.com/making-a-difference/dreambank
LATINO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Latino Chamber of Commerce represents a wide array of successful businesses in the greater Madison area, with an emphasis on the many locally owned Latinx businesses. Their mission is to maximize economic development and job creation through business advocacy programs that generate success and value for Latinx entrepreneurs and business owners. lccmadison.org
MADISON FREELANCERS UNION
The Madison Freelancers Union was established for local designers, consultants, marketers, writers and more to promote their services and network with fellow freelancers. Advocacy is another pillar of the organization. An estimated 57 million Americans are freelancers, according to Forbes, making advocacy for their rising numbers even more important. madisonfreelancers.com
Magnet’s mission is to provide young professionals with opportunities to connect, collaborate and grow in their events aim to bolster your professional development. Monthly events have been swapped for virtual learning sessions. madisonmagnet.org
MADISON NETWORK OF BLACK PROFESSIONALS
The Madison Network of Black Professionals was established in 2004 to act as a springboard for Madisonians with similar “heritage, education, business, technology and social activities.” The networking events also share information that’s of interest to the local Black community. madisonblackprofessionals.com
MADISON WOMEN IN TECH
A welcoming space for women and gender nonbinary tech workers — including students — Madison Women in Tech is an educational and professional development hub with regular events that aim to elevate women working in Madison’s tech scene. meetup.com/madison-women-in-tech
SOCIAL MEDIA BREAKFAST MADISON
Social Media Breakfast Madison centers around social media education, from analytics to public relations to growing sales. Each month, members sip coffee and listen to area experts divulge their tips and tricks. The nonprofit organization caters to all member demographics, including academia, nonprofits and businesses. smbmad.org
WISCONSIN WOMEN ENTREPRENUERS
Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs (WWE) South Central Chapter is heralded as a space where entrepreneurial women can explore and develop themselves personally and professionally.
In addition, the organization works with businesses-minded middle school girls, teaching them self-empowerment and providing opportunities to connect with area business owners.
“WWE is a very warm, supportive group of women,” says former WWE president Deb
Klein. “Whatever stage your business is in, whether you’re coming in with just an idea and
you want to get started, or you’ve been in your business for a number of years and you’re looking for some additional support, WWE is there for our members.”
WWE hosts regular meetings that often feature speakers both from within and outside of their organization. wwesouthcentral.org