Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bay Area Black Professionals takes social networking ‘offline’

By: Kevin L. Nichols 

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Meetup and Twitter are making it incredibly difficult to actually meet new professionals in person. With the exception of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook lend themselves toward people that you already know, like high school or colleague classmates, family members or co-workers. LinkedIn groups and Meetup groups allow you to network with people you do not already know; however, without an organized purpose, meeting them face to face in order to refer business to them, etc., is nearly useless … until now.

Aurice Guyton

Aurice Guyton, organizer of the East Bay Black Professionals Association (a Meetup group) and a valued member of the Bay Area Black Professionals group (a LinkedIn group — both groups consist of over 500 members), recently organized the first Summer Networking Mixer at Adagia Restaurant in Berkeley near UC Berkeley’s campus. With the assistance of the restaurant’s event manager, Aaronnette King, the event brought over 50 professionals together to network face to face.

The event consisted of happy hour — including food, appetizers and beverages and live music by a phenomenal band called DAP — and icebreaker games to help the professionals get acquainted more easily.
When asked how groups such as these are important to the Bay Area professional community, Guyton had this to say: “One common grievance among black business owners is the lack of support or patronage from the black community. We don’t support each other enough. I host networking events so black professionals can promote their business, with the hope that we will network and do business with each other. My goal is to keep black dollars in our community. It’s imperative to the future of black business that we support each other, which will promote growth and create business opportunities for our people.”

For more information, visit klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com for the LinkedIn Bay Area Black Professionals group and www.meetup.com/eastbayblackprof for the East Bay Black Professionals Association group.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author and the president/CEO of KLN Publishing, located in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.klnpublishing.com.

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