I’ve always believed that it’s important to have a network of people I can count on, both in my personal and professional lives. This has become even more important to me since becoming an entrepreneur; having a support network can be the difference between feeling like you’re out there on your own and feeling like you have a team of advisers, partners, and friends to turn to when you’re not sure which path to take.
Earlier this year, I learned about a new (to me) startup network when I received a call from Mike Maher, co-founder and CEO of the collaborative work and event space Benjamin’s Desk, and the Philadelphia Chapter Director for Startup Grind, which is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.
Mike explained that Google for Entrepreneurs had asked him to seek out and interview female, Philadelphia-based startup founders, which was why he was reaching out to me. I was so impressed by their mission that I immediately agreed to the interview.
As I subsequently learned, Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect its more than 75,000 member entrepreneurs. With chapters in more than 100 cities and 50 countries, Startup Grind’s annual conferences, monthly fireside chats and mixers feature successful local founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share their personal stories and lessons learned as they work to build great companies.
I was interviewed by the Benjamin’s Desk co-founder, Jenn Maher, who is also an attorney and the mother of two. Jenn did a great job making me feel comfortable and it was interesting for me to hear her story. Jenn and Mike built Benjamin’s Desk from the ground up, bootstrapping the first level with their own investment. With their opening day being a couple days after the birth of Jenn’s first baby, there were many similarities between the two of us. What I loved most about the Startup Grind event was the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, including Marvin Weinberger of American Certified and Jason Sherman co-founder of Instamour.com.
Networking events like those sponsored by Startup Grind and Benjamin’s Desk give members amazing opportunities to tap into a strong support network, forge meaningful connections, and gain inspiration for the often lonely and difficult journey of a startup founder.
Another brilliant networking event is next month’s Pennsylvania Conference for Women, where I’ll be proud to serve as a volunteer in the speaker’s lounge with the amazing Danielle Leshinski, program coordinator for the conference. Since it’s inaugural conference in 2004, this annual, one-day professional and personal development event has grown to over 7,000 attendees and offers incredible opportunities for business networking, professional development, and personal growth. This year, over 100 speakers including Diane Keaton, Jane Pauley, Robin Roberts, and Tory Johnson will share inspirational stories and lead seminars on the issues that matter most to women.