The Missouri-Kansas border? Packed with motivated professionals. Whether you’re in downtown Kansas City, Missori or over the line in Kansas, here are six solid picks for Kansas City networking.
From Kansas City jazz to Kansas City barbeque, KC manages to put its own unique spin on just about everything. The Kansas City networking scene is no exception. Whatever you’re looking for, from small, casual gatherings to huge events, educational speakers’ series to referral-driven groups, you’ll find it here.
Many people are surprised to find that Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri. But despite the city’s location in a so-called “flyover state”, KC has a thriving economy and a vibrant business scene for both established companies and startups. Looking to make your own mark on KC? Check out the Kansas City networking groups listed below, and you’re certain to find a group of people that can help you make a real difference in your career. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Network After Work — Kansas City
Network After Work events are the embodiment of the “go big or go home” networking mentality. The Kansas City chapter of this national organization regularly draws upwards of 150 visitors across a number of industries and professions. Monthly events are held at interesting venues throughout the area; previous locations have included McFadden’s, Mosaic, 2000 Grand, and Kill Devil Club.
Networking events are all about making connections. Color coded nametags at Network After Work events help attendees find potential connections in relevant industries, and appetizers and a free drink ensure that everyone has a good time while doing business. Meetings are held once a month from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., with date and location changing monthly. There is no ongoing membership cost, but individual event fees generally range from $15 to $25.
2. Kansas City Businesses
If the idea of trying to network in a crowd of 100+ people seems daunting, don’t worry — Kansas City Businesses may be more your style. This group focuses on meaningful small-group discussions rather than massive meet and greets. Each week, group members choose a topic relating to sales, marketing, communication, social media, or anything else business-related. With group size typically ranging from five to 20 attendees, you may not meet a lot of new people, but you will definitely learn something new and forge stronger connections with the other members of the group.
Meetings of Kansas City Businesses are held every Tuesday from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at Winstead’s. Meetings are free and there is no ongoing membership cost, so if you’re interested in small-business mastermind conversations, there’s no reason not to check out the group.
3. Kansas City Express Network
The Kansas City chapter of the American Business Women’s Association is a great place for forging new connections and building professional skills. Each monthly meeting features a guest speaker, covering subjects like motivation, creativity, and planning for growth. Women in any industry can benefit from the KCEN community, but the group is especially beneficial for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
This group will take you over the state line into Kansas, home of the other Kansas City. Business connections in two states? Yes please! Meetings are held from 11:20 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hallbrook Country Club in Leawood on the third Tuesday of every month. Membership in the Kansas City Express Network runs $175 per year, with monthly lunch meetings costing $21 for members and $25 for guests.
4. Prospector’s Club
Since 1977, the Prospector’s Club has been Kansas City’s networking destination for executives and high-level decision makers. Membership is restricted to “individuals with policy-making or …decision-making authority” in the greater Kansas City area, as long as the group has an opening for that professional category. With such a wealth of experience available, referrals and business-building advice are some of the most valuable benefits of membership in Prospector’s Club.
Members are held weekly on Thursdays at 7:00 a.m., with locations rotating among member businesses. Interested members are welcome to attend a meeting as a guest. Full membership costs $200 per quarter ($800 per year), plus an initial $50 application fee.
5. KC Roundtable
Learning and teaching is at the heart of KC Roundtable’s mission and meeting style. The group offers breakfast meetings aimed at startups and young entrepreneurs who want to “fill the void of not having a water cooler.” Attendees can commiserate over the challenges of finding customers, offer referrals, and learn new strategies in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.
Meetings are held at 7:30 a.m. on the first and third Thursday each month, at Eggct on Main Street. There is no ongoing cost of attendance. All you have to do is pay for your breakfast and contribute to the conversation.
6. Startup Grind Kansas City
If you’re interested in budding entrepreneurism, but looking to add some nuts and bolts advice to the collaboration provided by KC Roundtable, then Startup Grind may be just the right fit. Each month’s event offers a guest speaker (typically live, but sometimes online) who gives their perspective on lessons learned from their own startup experiences.
Previous guest speakers have included Becky Blades of Startistry Publishing, Leo Morton from UMKC, and Diana Kander from the Kauffman Foundation. Meetings start at 6:00 p.m. and are typically held on a Wednesday or Thursday evening. It’s a highly charged, highly educational event, and with meeting fees running less than $12 per event, there’s no better value for entrepreneurs in Kansas City.
Shelby Blanchard Stogner is a freelance copywriter and blogger who helps businesses get the word out about the great work they’re doing. Visit her on the web at www.sbscopywriting.com.