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By Julie Gearie | CEO – IT and Executive recruitment, GWG Partners

Attending networking events or joining professional groups can seem like hard work. But spending your time connecting with other professionals can really pay off, for both your career and personal development.

We’re lucky to have some fantastic local events and forums here in Newcastle, that are great places to meet other like-minded people, share ideas, find new job opportunities and learn.

Here we give you an overview of some the most popular professional networking events in Newcastle and who will benefit from each.

 

1. Newcastle Business Club

The Newcastle Business Club runs 11 events per year attracting high profile speakers like Lisa Wilkinson, John Howard and Mark Bouris. The format is a sit-down luncheon, running for approximately 1.5 hours.

More formal than other events in Newcastle, they are typically held at Harbourview Function Centre and offer a fantastic platform to meet and hear from high calibre local people.

The speakers deliver informative and insightful content, which is tailored to Newcastle and Hunter region making it valuable for local professionals who want to have their finger on the pulse.

Who should attend?

Attended by local leaders, executives, management and up-and-comer’s, the events attract a wide range of ages, from young professionals to very experienced Newcastle Business Club alumni.  

Dress code: corporate – more formal than other events

Cost: $50 – $120, discounts for members

Benefits: opportunity to make connections with Newcastle business leaders and gain valuable insights from quality speakers

 

2. Hunter Young Professionals 

The Hunter Young Professionals is a networking group designed for young people. I’m just out of the age bracket (ha!).

Events are held at cafes and bars across Newcastle and are a mix of cocktail style and sit-down functions with drinks or coffee provided. With a line-up of 10 events per year they are both informative and fun to attend (so I hear!).

Who should attend? 

The target audience is young professionals up to approx. 35 years who are looking to expand their network, share ideas and learn from other people in their industry. These events are a great way to develop confidence and get comfortable networking in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Price: from $25

Dress code: this is a pretty relaxed forum, however people usually come from work so suits and collared shirts are fine too.

Benefits: causal format with insightful and motivating speakers, especially designed for younger people

 

3. Hunter Business Chamber

The Hunter Business Chamber hold general events for networking and specific functions for industries including infrastructure and mining.

Personally, I’ve found the most valuable event they stage is the business development forum. These functions are usually between 7-9am with hot breaky provided. With plenty of opportunity to network and mingle before the speaker begins, the vibe is welcoming and collaborative.

Held monthly, the subjects covered are relevant and practical. Some of this year’s topics included ‘digital marketing – making social networking work’, ‘changing staff mindsets’ and ‘using technology to innovate, save time and increase profit’.

Who should attend?

The content is most applicable to small to medium business owners and their staff. I’d also suggest its worthwhile attending these events if you’re working in a service focused business with local clients as it’s a great form for business development.

Price: $45 – $155 (discounts if member)

Dress code: corporate

Benefits: great networking opportunities for small to medium businesses with informative, useful content

 

4. Gen Collective

Gen Collective offer a friendly and refreshing platform for professionals (almost all female) to network, socialise and develop. Often held at the most fashionable venues across town, these functions are enjoyable and entertaining.

Gen Collective have played host to some impressive celebrity speakers including Kerrie McCallum the editor-in-chief of Delicious Magazine, Mental Health advocate, Joel Pilgrim and journalist, author and television presenter Jessica Rowe.

Who should attend?

Although open to men and women, they are mostly attended by ladies (sorry guys 😊). With a wide range of topics covered, they cater for all ages and for corporate professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs.

Cost: $25 – $40 for standard events

Dress: smart casual

Benefits: More opportunity to network than other events with a fun, fresh and welcoming feel. Professional development across a wide range of areas.

 

5. The Lunaticks Society

The Lunaticks Society holds events, often over beers and drinks, to promote digital innovation and new ideas in Newcastle. With a very casual format and a room full of digital folk, the Lunaticks events are a brilliant chance to widen your network and meet interesting people. The speakers are knowledgeable, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Who should attend?

Digital, marketing and tech gurus as well as investors, entrepreneurs and start-ups. Anyone interested in exploring digital trends and meeting people in the local industry.

Dress: casual – T-shirt and jeans

Benefits: great way to keep up with current digital trends and hear about exciting innovation projects happening in Newcastle.

 

6. NFP Connect

NFP Connect hold monthly breakfasts to encourage professionals and organisations in the not-for-profit industry to support each other and benefit from shared learning.

A hot breakfast is provided with the opportunity to network with others in the sector and get some tips and tricks to help you in your role.

Who should attend?

Predominantly for not-for-profit employees, owners, leaders and anyone interested in the monthly topic.

Dress: smart casual

Benefits: Supportive, focused on shared learning.

 

Meetup (something extra for IT or digital professionals)

Meetup is an online platform that brings people together around a particular topic or theme. It allows users to promote this topic in the form of an event to likeminded people in the local area.

There are a number of tech focused “meet ups” for local digital and tech professionals in Newcastle and the Hunter. Check them out below.

Newcastle IoT pioneers – https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Newcastle-IoT-Pioneers/

Newcastle coders group – https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Newcastle-Coders-Group/

Newcastle Infracoders and DevOps – https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Newcastle-Infracoders/

Newcastle Agile – https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Agile-Newcastle/

 

I look forward to seeing you at an event over the Christmas period or early next year. Please give me a shout out on LinkedIn or email me directly at julie.gearie@gwgpartners.com.au if you’re attending. I’d love to meet up and find out more about you.

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