Whether you’re just at the outset of your career or a seasoned vet, business networking is a great way to make professional connections and explore career opportunities.
St. Louis has long been a hub for movers and shakers. From hosting the 1904 World’s Fair to being named the fastest growing startup scene in the country by Business Insider earlier this year, St. Louis has always distinguished itself as a community committed to product innovation and business networking.
Given the city’s low cost of living, countless incentives to new and growing businesses, and exciting tech-driven communities like Cortex and T-REX, it’s no wonder that young professionals and entrepreneurs from all over are flocking to the Gateway City.
And with networking events and organizations popping up all over the St. Louis metro area, we have to ask: which business networking groups are St. Louis’ up-and-comers seeing the most value from?
Club Eleven, The Rotary Club of St. Louis
Founded in 1910, Club Eleven earned its moniker when it became the 11th international chapter established in Rotary history. Following the Rotary model, member events are focused largely on community service, with seasonal and annual fundraising efforts dedicated to various humanitarian causes. Weekly meetings and volunteer hours allow you to rub elbows with some of St. Louis’ best and brightest, but this may also be a tough commitment for those whose professional lives don’t offer a wealth of spare time.
Venture Café hosts weekly networking events aimed at creating a “more inclusive innovation ecosystem.” At these meetups, entrepreneurs and techies from all over the St. Louis region have the opportunity to collaborate and engage in professional networking opportunities. A welcome addition to the city’s Central West End neighborhood, VC’s Thursday evening mixers are noted for their revolving door of weekly regulars alongside new faces. Accordingly, Venture Café is a great option for tech professionals looking to reap the benefits of business networking groups without a costly or time-consuming commitment.
College and university alumni networks are another great way to make relevant business contacts. Naturally, Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University both have large, active networks — but a good number of smaller, local colleges and national universities also have sizable alumni groups in the area as well. The catch, of course, is that these networks are only open to alums, but for those able to participate, there are meaningful business networking opportunities to be had across a number of industries and verticals.
St. Louis Young Professionals
Catering to young people interested in friends as much as professional connections, the St. Louis Young Professionals offers something more social than a standard business networking group. The group hosts regular movie showings and outings to local karaoke bars, but it’s not all fun and games — the Young Professionals are also responsible for co-hosting noteworthy St. Louis events like The Gateway to the Future Summit. For those who fit the demographic, this group has a lot to offer, particularly to those just beginning their careers and actively networking in business.
Junior Board, The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis
Junior Board, a leadership-oriented network aimed at bringing young people into The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, doubles as a fantastic professional networking group for young St. Louisans. The volunteer-based board not only offers direct connections through fellow members, but also focuses its efforts on outreach to other young St. Louis professionals through networking events and mixers held at the museum. An influential force in the STL art space since 1980, CAM St. Louis provides an intriguing networking opportunity for young people with a background in the arts or a vested interest in cultural events in the area.
Missouri Athletic Club
As with all of the organizations we’ve discussed here, the Missouri Athletic Club boasts significant opportunities for professional networking — and we’d like to think a whole lot more! From our two clubhouses to our athletic programs, the MAC is a place for St. Louis’ finest to meet, collaborate, and form lifelong bonds at every stage of their careers.
Most notable to those eager to network? Membership to the MAC grants access to more than 15 Clubs Within the Club. From the Craft Beer Club to the Mark Twain Society, there are dozens of excuses to mingle with your fellow members and establish significant personal and professional contacts. One standout for St. Louis up-and-comers is our Business Development Group, which gathers for a monthly breakfast to feature presentations and roundtables on business practices, processes, and development.
Request a tour, or join us at our upcoming Fall Speaker Series, which will feature a number of presentations from some of St. Louis’ most successful business leaders and is sure to be a fantastic business networking opportunity.