Q & A: Networking with New Jersey Young Professionals

At Eventbrite, we love discovering a champion eventholder whose events just keep popping up on our radar. That was the case with Laura Occhipinti’s New Jersey Young Professionals gatherings, an eclectic series of networking events for Jerseyites—everything from hikes in Mahwah to beermaking in Freehold to mingling in Morristown. We invited Laura to answer some questions about NJYP and how to host successful networking events.

What is NJYP?

New Jersey Young Professionals is a social networking organization that helps single and married young professionals get out and make friends. There are thousands of members and a whopping 20-30 events per month. Members meet at restaurants, bars, in coffee houses, at comedy clubs, and even outdoors. We get together to taste wine, honor the happy hour, network, play board games, hike, bike, and so much more.

What do you think your attendees are looking for when they come to your events?

I know that they are looking to connect to other young professionals who live in New Jersey. And by connect I mean they want to make friends, find a relationship, and/or business network.

It looks like you mix it up a lot with your gatherings—there’s everything from hikes to happy hours. Why offer such a range? How do you choose your events?

We have 13,000 young professionals on our mailing list. With so many people you can expect a HUGE variety of interests. We try to cover everything and we get event ideas directly from members! We host everything from beer making to bowling but we also have vegetarian only events as well as “tall men” speed dating. It is lots of fun.

What do you do to make sure the connections forged continue after an event is finished?

After an event members are able to connect on our website via the forums and via their profiles. For certain events we send people home with the guest list (names and email) that we collected via Eventbrite.

Do you find you get a lot of repeat attendees? How do you encourage this?

NJYP is very community based so yes, we do have many members come back for more. We encourage it by offering great events where any “stranger” can walk up to another “stranger” but leave home with a new friend.

Are you actively involved with social media? How has it helped NJYP?

Of course! We are on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and we feel that most of our members are using at least one of those three top-dog social media sites. They make it easy for us to promote our events and for members to tell their friends about the group.

And last, any other tips for other eventholders looking to begin (or improve) networking-type get-togethers?

If you are hosting an event where business networking is encouraged, display the guest list (first name, website, company). Potential ticket buyers will see who is going and will want to meet them! Also use the Eventbrite survey features to collect information on your members that you can then use to create better events.