Whether you’re looking for new customers, starting a new business, searching for potential collaboration partners or even looking for a new career — networking can be your key to new opportunities. Austin has several monthly events for LGBTQ and allied professionals looking to grow their business connections and social circles. From the Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s monthly networking luncheons to the socially-oriented Gay In Austin, there’s plenty of chances out there to build new relationships and grow existing ones.
Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
The Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce works to cultivate and promote the economic well-being of LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses in Central Texas through marketing, education and community development. In addtion to the Chamber’s primary services — the membership directory and community calendar — the AGLCC provides networking and educational opportunities for its members to strengthen the community and its businesses.
AGLCC Networking Luncheon
AGLCC January 2015 Luncheon at Finn & Porter / photo credit: AGLCC/Facebook
Held on the first Tuesday of each month, the AGLCC’s networking luncheon is geared towards business owners and professionals, both LGBTQ and allied, looking for potential leads for new business. The crowd is fairly mixed, industry-wise, and fairly large for a luncheon with 60-75 attendees on average, but depending on the venue that month could be higher.
The luncheon typically starts off with 30 minutes for check-in and networking starting at 11 AM. The programming starts approximately 11:30 AM with introductions. Attendees go around the room and have about 10-15 seconds to introduce themselves — where they work and/or what they do along with what a good lead is for them. While it can seem daunting to stand up in the middle of a crowd and talk about youself, it goes fairly quickly and is quite painless … plus, it’s a fun group and there are often many first-timers so newbies shouldn’t feel alone.
After introductions, while lunch is being served (and consumed) there is usually a speaker, but not always, members will be giving testimony throughout the luncheon while the attendees get in a little one-on-one networking. The luncheons typically end with the AGLCC board members giving a brief wrap up on upcoming chamber and community events.
The luncheons are $15 for members ($20 for non-members) when paid in advanced, online, before 8:30 AM on the day of the luncheon. Otherwise, it’s $25 for anyone who opts to pay at the door. This fee covers the cost of your meal and beverages.
Venue changes monthly. First Tuesday of the month. All ages. Advance registration: $15/members, $20/non-members. On-site registration: $25 (space permitting)
AGLCC Networking Happy Hour
On the third Thursday of the month the AGLCC hosts its networking happy hour. Like the Chamber’s luncheon, the crowd is evenly mixed and attendees will vary depending on venue and location. Unlike the luncheons, there is typically no programming other than a few announcements towards the end of the event. So whip out those cards and starting working the room. The happy hours are always free to attend.
Venue changes monthly. Third Thursday of the month. Age restrictions vary depending on venue. FREE.
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Gay in Austin
Gay In Austin, published by REATX Real Estate, is an online resource for gays who have recently relocated or are looking to relocate soon to the Austin area. The site is aimed at helping provide the tools for finding your way and establishing your new life in Austin through the blog, social events, real estate services, and vendor relations.
Gay in Austin Happy Hour
November 2014 GayInAustinTexas.com Happy Hour @ Highland Lounge / photo credit: Gay In Austin / Facebook
Gay in Austin hosts a happy hour on the first Thursday of each month at a different venue. This event tends to be more of a social function rather than networking, but it does draw a large, primarily younger, professional crowd, including recent transplants. You’ll also find higher proportion of attendees from the creative and tech industries. The happy hours are free to attend. You can register online if you wish, but it isn’t required to attend.
Venue changes monthly. First Thursday of the month. Age restrictions vary depending on venue. FREE.
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Remember, these are just networking opportunities within our community. There are plenty of opportunities out there just waiting for you. If you’re nervous, bring a friend or see if someone you already know will be there. Sometimes just a friendly face is enough to calm your nerves. Events like these are just the beginning, so don’t forget: follow-up and connect.
For a current list of upcoming networking opportunities, check out our monthly networking post Rainbow Connections.