Whatcom County Networking Groups

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“Personal networking and social media involvement is not about hard selling, it’s about building trusting and mutually beneficial relationships over time.”  Patti Rowlson, PR Consulting

Networking can be an important tool for small businesses and it should not be limited to simply ‘connecting’ with people on social media sites.  Word of mouth referrals come from putting yourself out there, meeting new people and then forming business relationships.

If you would like to join a local networking group I recommend these three tips:  1) Consider what the time commitment would be (weekly or monthly meetings/AM, lunch or PM gatherings) and whether you could set aside time to participate consistently.  2) Attend a meeting or two as a guest to see if their format and membership is a good match. 3)  Pick just one group to start with and do it well!

Networking Tip:  Take plenty of business cards to hand out and value the cards received from folks you meet at events.  Read this article about a simple and effective way to use those cards to expand your professional network.

Bellingham Connections: Bellingham Connections focuses on building trust between members in order to provide referrals to one another through strong business relationships. Bellingham Connections meet Thursday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. off of Baker Creek Place at the BIAWC Building. 

Bellingham Green Drinks: An informal monthly gathering of environmentally minded folks. Open to all, an ever-changing group of people meet to network, make friends, collaborate, and find out what’s happening in our community. Bellingham Green Drinks meets every 1st Wednesday of the month at 5:00 pm at varying locations. Click here to receive notifications of when and where the next one will be. 

Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce:  We invite you to participate in what is our biggest event of each month and the largest networking breakfast meeting in Whatcom County! Beginning at 7:15 a.m. at the Northwood Hall in Bellingham and held on the second Friday of each month, this ongoing event brings together more than 130 business professionals together on a regular basis. Meet active and involved business professionals.  

BNI by the Bay: Members of the BNI can increase their business by 20 percent during their first year of membership; their weekly meetings take place at 8 a.m. Wednesday mornings at the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County. 

Building Industry Association of Whatcom County: The Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIAWC) is a private, non-profit trade organization of builders, remodelers and other businesses related to the home building and construction industry. They offer regular membership meetings with networking opportunities.

Everson/Nooksack Chamber of Commerce: Come participate with the Everson/Nooksack Chamber! The Chamber’s main agenda revolves around their summer and winter festivals, which are intended for the promotion of local businesses. Contact the group for the date of their next general meeting. 

Ferndale Chamber of Commerce: On the third Wednesday of each month at 12:00 p.m., the Ferndale Chamber has its Membership Luncheon, bringing together local business professionals since 1955.  Have the opportunity to market and network your business at Chamber events. 

Lynden Chamber of Commerce:  Beat your competitors to the punch!  Join the Lynden Chamber’s monthly networking meetings (some are lunches, some are breakfasts).  The group gathers at The Reserve in Lynden on the last Thursday of the month. 

Lynden/Nooksack Valley Business Group:  This group of positive, upbeat business professionals meets on the second Friday of each month at select restaurants in Lynden.  Members must work in Lynden, Everson, Nooksack or Sumas.  

Sustainable Connections: A non-profit membership organization of independent, locally-owned businesses, farms, and organizations based in Whatcom and neighboring counties working to transform and model an economy built on sustainable practices. Members enjoy marketing, education and networking benefits including monthly lunch meetings on first Thursdays and morning networking on third Thursdays. 

Networking Tip:  Don’t put business cards collected at networking events in your desk drawer.  Read this article to learn how to use those cards to expand your network in 15 minutes or less!

Lunch MeetingTechnology Alliance Group NW (TAG): TAG membership grants technology based business professionals the opportunity to learn and make connections from both industry experts and local business leaders with the goal of improving your skills as a business owner. Quarterly buffet breakfasts are held, keep up to date on their website to find the next one. 

Whatcom Business Alliance: WBA is a growing membership organization comprising businesses and public entities across all business sectors, promoting a positive business climate that facilitates business success and community prosperity. They offer frequent member events where networking can take place.

Whatcom Women in Business Whatcom Women in Business was established in 1978, and is one of the oldest and most encompassing network/referral sources for business women. It is the mission of WWiB to promote a positive image of professional women in business while developing leadership skills, strength through mutual support, mentoring and opportunities for business and personal growth.  WWIB meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 5:30-8pm at Bellingham Country Club. 

Whatcom Women’s Network:  This group meets once a week at On Rice in Fairhaven for lunch. Every week we have a featured speaker, typically from our group, and catch up on news, new connections and referrals. We’ve found this regular networking to be a powerful way to grow our individual businesses.  

Whatcom Young Professionals:  Since 2006, The WYPs have become much more than just a networking group.  In addition to the ever-changing spectrum of networking events, we now offer marketing opportunities to get the word out and showcase your business, service opportunities to give back to the community, and various opportunities to increase leadership and team building skills.  Various meeting days/times offered throughout Whatcom County.  

Women’s Professional Network: If you’re looking for the chance to attend an educational event in addition to expanding your business network, look no further than the Women’s Professional Network. With meetings the last Thursday of each month at the Four Points By Sheraton t 7 a.m., you won’t want to miss out on this group.

Know a Whatcom County networking group that should be included in this list?  Email details to pr@pattirowlson.com

 

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