Why large networking events are not for me, and why that’s okay

Happy Monday friends. Here we are, another Monday, another week. I spent this weekend hanging out with a visitor from out of town. We spent Saturday morning running the Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie 5K, thanks to the two entries I won from 365 Things To Do in Austin. I haven’t run an organized race for a while and this was one of the best I’ve run. The finisher’s village was filled with vendors like Rove, Quest Nutrition and Tom’s of Maine. On Sunday, we bar hopped down Rainey Street, so far my favorite place in the City. We had a great time!

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I wanted to share two different events I’ve attended recently – Personify Austin’s Austin Ladies Who Brunch at Z’Tegas and Boss Babes ATX at Chicon Collective. Both were targeted towards providing networking opportunities for creative women.

Enjoying @personifyaustin's #atxladieswhobrunch at @ztejassouthwesterngrill!

A post shared by Heather (@hrmundwiler) on

Personify Austin’s Austin Ladies Who Brunch was held on a Saturday morning at Z’tegas on 6th Street, with around 30 women in attendance. I mixed and mingled with ladies I had met at previous blogger mixers as well as met some new ladies! At our tables, I was happy to be sat with some ladies I already knew but also some new ladies that I had the opportunity to get to know. When chatting about my upcoming move, I was blown away when Jesse Coulter mentioned something she had read on my blog. I appreciate anyone that takes the time to read my blog and it just meant so much to me! (Seriously, if you’re reading this, please leave your blog/instagram/twitter below because I’d love to check out yours!)

Through these events, I’ve met some amazing women, including Chelsea Francis who encouraged me to go to West Elm and make pinwheels and eat cupcakes bite-sized brownies, despite wanting to go home and mope about the speeding ticket I had gotten on the way to the brunch. Pinwheels were a much better idea.

Fast forward a few days, Boss Babes ATX held on a Thursday evening at Chicon Collective. It could have been that it was Thursday, at the end of a very long week at work. It could have been that it was very hot outside and inside. But while I heard nothing but great things about the first Boss Babes event, I don’t think this event was for me.

As an introvert, I recharge by spending time on my own, whether that is reading, running or simply watching tv. When learning that the event had sold out, with over 1000 rsvps on their facebook event page, I had a feeling that this evening was not going to be for me.

Photo by A. Jordan Pryor

Photo by A. Jordan Pryor

I met a lovely woman in line who we chatted and even wandered a bit together before she found her friends and I found mine and got separated (you can see us in the BossBabesATX instagram – I’m wearing orange just up and right from the middle of the photo). But other than that, I didn’t feel like I could mix and mingle. The space was just too small for that number and I didn’t even feel like I could have waited in the drink line if I had wanted to. I thrive on small group interaction. It allows everyone the chance to speak and feel heard and part of the group.

When one of the ladies I was with suggested leaving the Boss Babes event to go have a drink, I jumped at the chance. These ladies are ones I had met through the previous events I’ve mentioned and I jumped at the opportunity to grow those relationships within a small group. They are some of the most interesting people I’ve met since moving to Austin and people I would love to get to know more. And I’m not going to do that standing around a crowded event with 300 other women shoulder to shoulder.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the message and energy of the Boss Babes group. I’d love to support the movement anyway I can. But attending large events where I don’t feel like I can get to know someone one-on-one basis are not for me. I love the opportunity to connect on an individual basis with someone or a small group over a meal or a coffee or a drink. If the BossBabes were to hold smaller future events, I might consider going and giving it another shot. Until that time, I’ll keep attending events that work for me and my goals.

One thought on “Why large networking events are not for me, and why that’s okay

  1. Little Kokomo says:

    i’m the same way! I often feel like big group settings don’t allow for real genuine conversations to happen as much. Whereas on the other hand, small groups or 1-on-1 meetings will go into depth on certain topics, people will be more honest and willing to listen, and that usually inspires more ideas for me. thanks for sharing!

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