Networking at Regional Associations

Networking at Regional Associations

In addition to attending regional chapter events of national associations, finding and networking at regional associations should be a critical part of your networking. In Southern California, for example, I am aware of many associations that exist only in this area. I’ve had many people tell me about groups in their area that they have found helpful and I’ve tried to add them to the list. I try to keep this list current but I am aware that some of these associations have either disappeared or have changed their name or merged with another association.

The list that follows is an example of places where you should attend meetings particularly when you are networking for employment. It is grouped by geographic location and is focused on North America. It is grouped first by State and then by major metropolitan area. Within widely dispersed metropolitan areas, there may be additional groupings depending on the numbers of associations in the area.

Associations are listed alphabetically within their geographic locations. General networking calendars that show multiple organizations and their events are listed first within each region. If you are aware of an association that you believe is worth considering for others in transition, please contact me and I’ll add them to the list.

Associations are listed as follows (click on the link to go to the associations in that area):

California, San Francisco Bay Area
California, Los Angeles
California, Orange County
California, San Diego
Illinois, Chicago
New York, New York City

Northern California: San Francisco Bay Area

General calendars

WorkIt –
WorkIt says they are the premier resource for information and networking opportunities for technology startups in the Bay area. You can sign up for a free e-mail of weekly events in your area or go to their website to view the calendar of events and to click through to the sponsoring organization for details and registration information.

Southern California: Los Angeles

Larta –
Larta (formerly the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance) is an independent, private nonprofit company that serves as a trusted advisor to Southern California’s investment, startup, and technology community and helps to nurture and grow young technology companies. Larta facilitates the matching of eligible companies with the right investors, administers a California seed grant fund, conducts Larta University boot camp workshops that teach young companies how to build successful businesses, nurtures and showcases young companies to strategic investors or partners, and sponsors research studies.

Larta co-sponsors events with other regional technology organizations in Southern California in addition to organizing its own half-day Larta University boot camp workshops. Check their website to register for their boot camp workshops, to subscribe to their free newsletter, or for more information.

Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) –
The Los Angeles Venture Association is a not-for-profit informal membership organization that brings together venture capital investors and other money providers, entrepreneurs, business executives, academicians, management candidates for new ventures, and providers of professional services needed by new ventures. Monthly breakfast meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month on the west side of Los Angeles. Special interest workshops are also held at various times of the year.

LAVA sponsors the annual Investment Capital Conference for emerging growth and middle market companies each spring. The conference is the largest such event in Southern California, drawing crowds well in excess of 1,000 attendees. Events are open to non-members.

Technology Council of Southern California (TCOSC) —
The Technology Council of Southern California is a non-profit membership association comprised of software development organizations and other companies that provide support and services to the Southern California software industry. The association voices the concerns of the software industry in Southern California, and serves as a clearinghouse for industry information.

Southern California: Orange County


OCTANe is a trade association fueling innovation development in Orange County and Southern California. By connecting people, capital and technology, OCTANe accelerates entrepreneurs and company development for Orange County’s biomedical and information technology community. Members represent Orange County technology executive leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, academicians, and strategic advisors. Their programs bring together people, capital, ideas, and technology in Orange County. They are noted for several programs that bolster the technology, biomedical, and clean tech industries in Orange County. Each year, OCTANe programs and Signature Events attract over 7,000 people, ranging from entrepreneurs to VCs to large company CEOs.

TechBiz Connection –

TechBiz Connection is a non-profit professional trade association that organizes monthly events helping Southern California executives, technology professionals and entrepreneurs to more effectively network, and to learn about key technology and management trends that affect business performance. They hold monthly networking events in Irvine, CA. There is no cost to be a member but there is a nominal charge to attend the monthly events where food is provided.

Tech Coast Venture Network (TCVN) –

The Tech Coast Venture Network is a not-for-profit membership organization formed to bring together users and providers of resources for new and emerging businesses. Such resources include public accounting, banking, intellectual property protection, funding, marketing, sales, publishing, strategic planning, administrative, sources of professional information, and government resources.

TCVN holds ten public forums per year on various topics typically in the areas of funding, presenting business plans, sources of early stage funding, and the investment outlook that are provided by panels consisting of industry experts in their fields. The forums are held in the evenings on the fourth Thursday of the month in Orange County near John Wayne airport and are open to non-members. Check their website for membership and meeting details.

Southern California: San Diego

Connect –

CONNECT is a regional program  that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego County by linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success.  Since 1985, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 5,000 companies. The leadership of CONNECT attributes its success to the unique culture of collaboration between industry, capital sources, professional service providers and research organizations that CONNECT has sought to foster in the region.

CONNECT was originally founded as a part of the University of California (UC) San Diego in the mid-80s.  At that time traditional industries in the region were on the decline, the attraction of companies to the San Diego region was very difficult and region leaders were searching for a path to economic renewal and sustained growth.

Meanwhile, innovative high tech and life sciences companies such as IMED, IVAC, Linkabit, SAIC, Qualcomm and Hybritech were quietly developing in the San Diego region, fueled in part by technology and scientists at research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa.  UC San Diego, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and private sector business leaders recognized in this an opportunity for CONNECT to transform San Diego’s growing research capabilities into commercially viable products and businesses that would ultimately increase the prosperity of the region.

Connect facilitates meetings throughout each month that attract a wide range of executives who have interests in the technology and biotechnology fields. This is the largest networking organization in San Diego County.

San Diego Venture Group –

Founded in 1986, the SDVG is a non-profit organization designed to bring together people in San Diego who are interested in new enterprise and the process of creating it.

SDVG’s mission is to provide a networking forum for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and advisors in an informal atmosphere where human expertise can foster new ventures. We are comprised of professionals with bright ideas to share and the practical skills required to implement these ideas.

There are ten monthly meetings of the SDVG each year. Each meeting typically features a panel discussion by cross-industry experts on a specific entrepreneurial topic. Meetings provide a friendly atmosphere for social contacts with peers – opportunities to expand one’s circle of friends and acquaintances with common interests.

Illinois: Chicago

Executive Network Group –

The Executive Network Group of Greater Chicago, Inc. started in 1991 to assist men and women executives in career transition. It focuses on middle and senior level management talent. They charge an annual membership, plus a nominal charge to attend all-day meetings. There is a strong use of resumes, so plan to have plenty available for each meeting. Check their Web site for current information on membership fees and minimum salary requirements.

Business Network Chicago –
The Business Network Chicago  maintains a comprehensive list or organizations and associations where executives in transition can network. Click on the link for more details.

New York: New York City

Crains New York –
Sponsored by Crain Communications Inc. lists a wide range of networking events in the New York area.

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