A networking event will be held Thursday, Jan. 23 at the Tourism Discovery Centre from 5 to 7 p.m. for businesses, organizations, employers and anyone wanting to make connections. (Williams Lake Tribune file photo).

Networking event first of many organizers hope

Several local business development partners are cohosting ‘beat the January blues’

Organizers of an upcoming networking event in Williams Lake are hoping it will be the first of many more.

Beth Veenkamp, the city’s economic development officer, and former city councillor Laurie Walters, who is the business liaison for the Williams Lake Hiring Initiative, said Networking After 5, taking place Thursday, Jan. 23, will provide an opportunity for locals to meet new people and connect.

Read more: Former city councillor to manage one-year Williams Lake hiring initiative

“There’s been no after hours networking opportunities for some time,” Veenkamp said.

“Through the Williams Lake Hiring Initiative, one of things we’ve heard from employers loud and clear is there’s an interest in providing a space and forum for people to get together just to have direct conversations and networking.”

Slated to run from 5 to 7 p.m., Veenkamp said it will be short and sweet, with no formal program, and nobody speaking on a mic.

“We hope it will become an opportunity through our business partners to host these six times a year. This one will be the test pilot to see if people like the forum and to see if we can get people out on a cold night in January,” she added.

The Williams Lake Hiring Initiative is co-hosting the event with Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Williams Lake and WorkBC Employment Services.

Each of the co-hosts will have a table at the forum as well.

For professionals new to the community that haven’t found a place to connect with others, they hope it will fill that gap.

“It is open to anyone to attend that has an interest in networking,” Walters said.

Through her position with the WL Hiring Initiative Walters has connected people.

In the 50-plus interviews she’s conducted, she’s heard that people are busy with their own routines and don’t have opportunities to connect with others.

“There are a lot of businesses and organizations that are doing some great things around best practices. It became clear when we did a networking breakfast event. They didn’t want to stop and were really into the conversations they were having with each other,” Walters said.

Read more: Employer networking session attracts business owners and non-profit groups

Live music will be provided by Brian Sawyer, Rick Mathews and Glenn Robson.

Admission is $10 at the door and includes a drink ticket and appies.


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