What comes to mind when you hear the word networking? Do you feel excited, nauseous, indifferent? Networking can be polarizing. Some people love it. Some people hate it, and some have never really thought about it.
Networking can be an amazing tool when used correctly. Opportunities to connect with other women continue to expand as Charlotte continues to grow, even during the pandemic. Even though it may feel easier to close your computer and avoid Zoom after a long day, we still need each other. We need to adapt, connect, find new business and most importantly, find other women to share the journey with. Whether it turns into a business colleague, a mentor or a friend, networking can help make those connections. How do you get started? Great question. We assembled a list of 21 Charlotte Women’s Networking groups and co-ed networking groups to help you get started. Happy networking! You’ve got this.
Career Chasers Club helps women set and achieve their career aspirations. Their goal is to help working women of color close the wage gap, while crushing their goals. They provide career coaching, networking, a buddy accountability program, a resource library and more. Membership options are $90 per quarter or $300 per year.
Carolina Women in Tech seeks to educate, empower and engage women in tech. They provide events, mentorship opportunities and access to scholarships and grants. CWIT’s goal is unite women who celebrate the role technology plays in everyday life. Memberships range from free to $150.
CAACC exists to facilitate interaction within the Asian communities and the entire Charlotte community, as well as the Carolinas, to improve commerce, culture and communication. They encourage efforts to sustain traditional heritages through exceptional business practice, education, volunteerism and public service. Membership options start at $50 per year.
CMBCC offers resources, promotes civic engagement and networking to increase the economic opportunities for Charlotte’s Black business community.
Business Sorority exists to build relationships. The organization states, “we are not a leads group!” Instead, they focus on fostering an environment where people can create relationships. They believe people do business with those they know, like and trust. They offer monthly luncheons for North Charlotte, Uptown and Ballantyne members, while also hosting speakers and mixers. Business Sorority also offers a business book club for members, with no required reading. Membership is limited and you will need a sponsor (the person who invited you to attend a Business Sorority event).
The Charlotte Woman’s Club is the one that started it all. It is the oldest civic organization in Charlotte. It was founded in 1899 as the Stud Club for Mothers, and became the Charlotte Woman’s Club in 1902. They established the city’s first kindergarten and staffed the bus and the Southern Railway stations during both World Wars. They know how to keep things moving. Annual membership is $100.
If commercial real estate is your passion, then CREW Charlotte is the place for you. The 31-year-old organization aims to empower women in the sector by creating a professional community to help them thrive. Memberships range from $115 to $525.
Ellevate provides a community for ambitious professional women looking to take the next step in their careers. The national organization offers a free membership, which includes career advice from experts and $10 tickets to virtual events and workshops. A basic membership costs $5 per month, and tickets to virtual events are also $5 each. A pro membership is $40 per month, and virtual events are included in membership dues. Pro members also receive 80% off in-person events. Executive membership costs $150 per month, and includes the same benefits as a pro membership. However, executive members have access to Ellevate’s weekly executive roundtable.
Like many brilliant ideas, Good Friends emerged when four good friends came together for lunch. Now, decades later, they hold an annual luncheon to raise money to provide grant funding to families in need. Since 1987, they have raised over $5,000,000.
Hood Hargett Breakfast Club offers a popular breakfast event six times annually at Quail Hollow Country Club. Prospective members must reach out to the club directly, and they will contact you about membership opportunities.
Take whatever you think you know about Junior League, and leave it at the door. Charlotte’s chapter still brings the heart of volunteer work center stage, but with a modern approach. Applicants must be sponsored by a current member and be 23 years old.
Know Women is a global community with a strong local presence. It is a space where women from all walks of life can connect, including Charlotte Rep. Alma Adams. Know Women offers monthly master classes, local events and mixers, global connection events, space to promote in their online marketplace and through their Facebook group, Let’s Have Coffee sessions and other member-only perks. Membership starts at $45 per month.
LAWA is committed to improving the lives of Latino in the Charlotte region. They provide scholarships and college and career readiness programs to help local families.
Women vote. Just look at the 2020 election. If civic engagement interests you, look at getting involved with the League of Women Voters. The nonpartisan organization encourages civic understanding and active participation in government.
A space designed for collaboration, not just networking. NABFEME has 20 active hubs, including Charlotte raising the profile of Black women in music and entertainment. The organization is a resource base for empowerment. They offer events, creative programing and corporate alliances to help members meet personal and professional goals. Memberships range from $75 to $150.
Women own businesses. NAWBO provides tools to help them succeed. The Charlotte chapter of this national organization supports 115,000 women-owned businesses in the Charlotte area through connections, education, resources and advocacy programs. They require a one-time $100 initiation fee, with annual membership options ranging from $239.40 to $479.40.
The Queen City Metropolitan Chapter advocate for Black women. The non-profit organization focuses on empowering women to be community and career leaders. Members act as agents for change, influencing public policy to promote gender equity in economic empowerment, education and health.
NCACPA offers a Charlotte Women’s Initiative networking group. The group intends to connect Charlotte-area women while encouraging personal and professional growth through events. Membership is annual at varying prices.
Who was your last mentor? Have you thought about looking for a mentor, but don’t know where to start? Pink Mentor Network provides the roadmap. They teach individuals how to find and use mentorship for business and career growth, while coaching leaders on how to become sponsors and allies. A monthly membership is $19 per month, and an annual membership is $190.
The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance created POW to engage, inform, inspire and connect professional women to resources in the Charlotte region. From mentoring opportunities to programing to learning how to negotiate for the raise you deserve, POW covers it all.
The Charlotte Post Foundation uses education to address economic disparities disproportionately impacting Charlotte’s Black community. They provide corrective education programs to at-risk students in local elementary schools, community education through events and scholarships through the Top Senior program. Their annual banquet celebrates all three, as well as annually recognized community leaders and educators. Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown was the 2019 Luminary recipient.
Known as WE, the organization has been around for over 40 years. A lot can change in four decades, but WE continues to push for an environment that offers not only career growth, but personal growth as well. WE’s goal is to create a community that represents Charlotte’s leaders in the business, professional, educational and non-profit communities. Membership is by invitation and sponsorship is required.
WIN includes multiple Charlotte area chapters, including Ballantyne, Charlotte-Uptown, Concord, Lake Norman, South Charlotte and SouthPark. Exchanging customer referrals and leads, sharing knowledge and offering professional support for growth is WIN’s goal. Chapters meet virtually each week. To join a chapter, the seat for your business category must be available, which can be found on WIN’s website. Membership costs $115 annually. There is a one-time $25 activation fee.
If you want to seriously commit to philanthropy, this group is for you. Women’s Impact Fund went from a Foundation for the Carolinas initiative to an influential non-profit with over 500 members. Membership dues are $1,300 annually, and new members are asked to sign a five-year commitment. Women’s Impact Fund allocates $1,000 from grant dues to providing grants and $300 for operating costs.
Philanthropy and education are the focus Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange, an award-winning non-profit. The goal is to build social capital among women from diverse cultures. They provide multicultural programming, as well as mentoring for college and high school students.
Co-ed networking groups:
Charlotte is one of 69 affiliates of AIGA, the oldest and largest membership association for designers and design advocates. The goal is to provide a space for designers to network and grow. They provide education and inspiration to the creatives through events, initiatives and programs. Individual membership ranges from $50 to $2,500 annually. Group membership costs $675 to $7,500.
Charlotte Professional Networking Week is designed to help professionals focus on entrepreneurship, philanthropy and employment opportunities. The annual experience is open to all.
A monthly morning meeting where they say, “everyone is creative, and everyone is welcome.” A featured speaker and featured musical guest are just part of the experience. It’s free.
Hue House centers around Black and brown creative entrepreneurs. It is a Black-owned creative agency advocating for the representation of artists and other creative individuals of color through a social enterprise model. Hue House hosts an event series called The Block.
Calling digital marketers. The non-profit is a professional development organization connecting people in Charlotte’s different social media and digital marketing spheres. Their goal is to foster dialogue by hosting events and providing resources. An annual membership costs $50.