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Read on for more about an upcoming young professional event that'll help you get some garden-fresh air as you make some fresh new business connections, too!

The Civic Garden Center wants your network to be as lush as their gorgeous gardens. That’s why they’re hosting a Young Professional Walk and Talk June 6, from 6-8pm at the Parkers Woods and Buttercup Valley Nature Preserve.

The Civic Garden Center (CGC) is a non-profit organization with a mission to build community through gardening, education, and environmental stewardship. They were founded in 1942, and is the only organization of its kind in the regional area. Using horticulture, which is the art of garden cultivation and management, they host classes, house a horticultural library, and several gardens for visitors to enjoy at no cost.

They’ve even cultivated an outdoor compost classroom titled the Green Learning Station, furthering their mission to support the development and success of over 50 community and children’s gardens throughout the city. All buildings and grounds are available for rental events and meetings of any kind.

Jen Bakes, the volunteer coordinator at the center, created the Young Professional Organization, specifically for CGC. “The group was started in September and I started in mid-August so it was one of the first projects I worked on,” says Bakes. “It is made up of people from ages 21 to 45 generally and because there are multiple organizations in the area that have groups like this, I decided to start one as well.”

Elaborating more on the event, she says, “We have meetings every month, usually encompassing a social, educational, or volunteer activity in order to engage young professionals in the culture of our center and to educate them on what we aim to do, which is support the botanical nature of the city.” The organization strives to bring together those who have an interest in the environment in order to educate them on possibly pursuing a career geared towards the field.

Bakes says these meetings are usually held at the center but have also been held at places like Taft Ale House and a couple other different gardens around the city. Members can also enjoy various lectures around the city as well.

At this month’s event on June 6, horticulturist Greg Torres will be taking attendees on a tour around Buttercup Valley Nature Preserve in Northside giving them a chance to connect with each other and learn more about CGC.

“Most of the people we reach out to don’t have a background in the field so that is one of the reasons why we highlight it so much,” Bakes explains. “We want to make people more aware of how great it is.”

The Walk and Talk will be held on Wednesday June 6 from 6-8pm at Parkers Woods and Buttercup Valley Nature Preserve, located at Butter Cup Valley, Cincinnati, OH 45223.

To learn more about the Civic Garden Center, visit http://www.civicgardencenter.org/
and sign up on Facebook if you would like to join the party, https://www.facebook.com/events/237996806750550

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Learn about a new event series that allows you to network and socialize with others while exploring and developing your own creativity.

Abby Hofrichter is launching Queen’s Creative Collaborative to bring the city’s creatives together.

Abby Hofrichter aims to provide helpful and enriching resources to others, especially creative types.

That’s why she launched Tallulahish, her personal blog and website. This locally-based online resource consists of photography by Hofrichter herself, and a blog where she delves into the personal and creative issues people have today.

“I wanted to create a space where no conversation felt unwelcome- even if a bit uncomfortable at first,” she says. “I think writers and story tellers are given so much power in opportunity with the ability to welcome new words and perspectives. The site is my attempt at harnessing that power and opportunity.”

One of the ways Hofrichter hopes to harness this is through a new event called Queen’s Creative Collaborative (or QCC). According to Hofrichter, QCC is a space for people to come together in a welcoming environment with aims to share and lift up each others ideas, both creatively and personally. The talk of the event can be based on anything in the world from entrepreneurship to self-care and everything in-between that is considered “creative.”

Hofrichter created the event in hopes to provide people within the community opportunities to meet new people, build connections, and gain both perspective and feedback on ideas.

“My goal is for QCC to turn into a community of femme folks who meet regularly to explore what it means to be creative, maybe do some fun activities,” says Hofrichter, “but most importantly, to create space for support and idea sharing and building.”

QCC is launching for the first time this month and those attending can expect a relaxed format. “I want to start off slow and really hear what all of us creative femmes feel like we’re missing and what we need,” continues Hofrichter. “This isn’t my group, it’s a community.”

The event will include beer, complimentary La Terza coffee, snacks, and creativity. Along with those essentials, guests will also get to discuss what it means to be “a creative” in the community today, how QCC can be a catalyst for growth, and even try a hand at some needlepoint/embroidery.

All the talk and activities of QCC events are meant to help people reconnect with themselves and the community and leave feeling inspired and re-energized.

“As I say on the event description, it has always been important immerse ourselves in strong, inclusive communities that affirm our goals and aspirations, but it feels so necessary these days with all that’s going on in the world,” concludes Hofrichter.

The Queens Creative Collaborative event will take place this month at 6pm on February 28 at the Rivertown Brewery and Barrel House in Lockland.
For more information, click here.

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Learn about a local organization that’s helping to keep top professional talent in the Tri-State through networking, group events, and professional growth opportunities.

The group that makes up NEXT Young Professionals.
The group that makes up NEXT Young Professionals.

Millennials are the employees of the future and giving them a space to develop their professional skills is important. To help the Tri-State’s young professionals develop those skills find development opportunities, the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance launched the organization NEXT Young Professionals.

“We focus on providing professional and personal development opportunities in West Chester and Liberty Townships for young professionals aged 21-40 that live and/or work along the I-75 Growth Corridor,” explains Staff Liaison Pam Gruber.

Following a relaunch in April 2014, NEXT Young Professionals found itself with the help of Gruber and fellow liaison Kelly Bittlinger.

Gruber and Bittlinger say the inspiration behind NEXT Young Professionals was born when The Chamber Alliance recognized the need to create a welcoming atmosphere for young professionals to get comfortable with networking and see the importance of getting connected in the community.

“No matter what industry they work in or role they play within their organization, the more connected young professionals feel within the community, the more likely they will want to stay in this area,” says Bittlinger.

The group at NEXT Young Professionals is comprised of a devoted steering committee and loyal attendees to the monthly Night of Networking events as well as quarterly Lunch & Learns. There are also several businesses in the area that support and host the Night of Networking events for the organization, some that provide food and drinks.

Not only is NEXT Young Professionals helping young professionals in West Chester and Liberty develop personal and professional skills, but they bring a very unique opportunity that promises a future of growth in a developing part of the Tri-State.

“Our Chamber represents the townships of West Chester and Liberty, strategically located along I-75 and nearly midway between Dayton and Cincinnati,” says Gruber. “As this region continues to develop, our Chamber’s sphere of influence expands. Through its growth, the community continues to offer new opportunities to connect and grow businesses, and the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance continues to educate and inform business professionals about the outstanding economic development opportunities in our region and the I-75 Growth Corridor.”

Aside from the professional developments allotted by NEXT Young Professionals, members of this organization also gain friendships.

“Even beyond the group, lifelong friendships have been formed and have gone beyond business relationships, which is important in keeping key talent in the West Chester and Liberty Townships areas,” says Gruber.

The group is always looking for new ways to collaborate and connect with organizations in the area. To contact them, send an email to info@thechamberalliance.com. NEXT Young Professionals is open to Chamber members and non-members. You can learn more here.

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One local group is bringing more classes to women interested in learning about web development. Read on for more about their upcoming events and new announcements.

Becky Blank and Becky Sroufe, Cincinnati Chapter Leaders of Girl Develop It
Becky Blank and Becky Sroufe, Cincinnati Chapter Leaders of Girl Develop It

With chapters in 54 cities, including Cincinnati, Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide women with affordable and judgement-free opportunities in the tech industry.

According to Girl Develop It, women are underrepresented in technology, which is experiencing greater growth than any other industry. However, through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It is helping women from diverse backgrounds achieve technology goals while also building confidence in their careers as well as their everyday lives.

Cincinnati’s chapter is run by Becky Blank and Becky Sroufe, who this year, set a goal to offer at least one new curriculum per quarter. For the class rotation, the Girl Develop It Cincinnati Chapter Leaders were able to offer classes in Javascript, Python, Git/Github and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

“We are also excited to be one of the designated technical training programs included as part of the recent TechHire designation Cincinnati was given by the White House,” says Sroufe. “TechHire is an initiative commissioned by the White House, dedicated to creating better pathways to technical jobs via non-traditional technical training, like Girl Develop It.”

There are only 30 cities across the country that have been given this special designation, according to Blank. “We’re proud that Cincinnati was one of them and GDI is excited to be a part of it,” she adds. To learn more about TechHire, click here.

Next month, Blank and Sroufe will meet with other Girl Develop It Chapter Leaders in Philadelphia for the annual GDI Chapter Leader Summit. There, they’ll meet with women from the other 53 chapters of Girl Develop It to share ideas about how to continue to improve the mission of the organization.

As for the remainder of the year, Girl Develop It’s Cincinnati Chapter will be offering three more classes: Intro to HTML/CSS, which starts Nov. 2, Intermediate HTML/CSS, also starting Nov. 2 and Intro to SEO, which begins Nov. 16.

Although they’ll be taking a break during the month of December, Sroufe says they’ll jump right into 2016 with a networking Happy Hour for students, potential new students and other community members who want to meet the crew.

They also plan to host an Intro to Web Concepts workshop, an Intro to Javascript class and another installment of the popular Intro to HTML/CSS class in January. “Almost all of our courses are designed for beginning coders and are open to anyone age 18 and up who is interested in learning about web development,” says Blank.

To learn more about the Cincinnati Chapter of Girl Develop It, visit www.girldevelopit.com. You’ll find Cincinnati on the chapters page. You can also register for upcoming classes on Meetup. “We’re also always seeking chapter and class sponsors to support our ongoing mission to bring more women into the tech industry,” says Blank. “Interested organizations can contact us via cincinnati@girldevelopit.com.”

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Learn about Cincinnati Ballet’s young professionals group, Attitude, and how it’s breathing new ballet life into Greater Cincinnati’s next generation of patrons.

091415CAREERAttitude, Cincinnati Ballet’s young professionals group, is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of ballet lovers through personal engagement in the unique athleticism and artistry of Cincinnati Ballet.

“We’ve found that ballet still remains a mystery to many of our contemporaries; however, we’ve also found that those same people come to love it as much as we do once they’ve been properly exposed to it and have the opportunity to interact with the creators and artists that bring it to life,” says Attitude Co-Founder and President Matthew Selker.

Selker and Elise Meyer are the co-founders of Attitude, and want to give the groups members the chance to get up close and personal with the artists of the Cincinnati Ballet. There aren’t any prerequisites necessary to join Attitude, just the desire to share in on the passion of ballet.

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At a previous Attitude get-together

As part of its young professionals group, Attitude offers the Young Patrons package. Totaling $150, the package runs through the 2015-2016 season and includes three performance tickets as well as access to three exclusive events.

The 6-event series includes a cocktail party on Sept. 30 where there will be an opportunity to meet new friends while enjoying an open bar. Then, on Oct. 23 at 8:00 p.m., you’ll enjoy a performance of Lady of the Camellias as well as an after party. A ballet class will be held in January and there’s no experience necessary for you to attend. Whether you’re a lifelong dancer or new to ballet, you’ll find that you’ll either get to tune up old skills or learn some new ones. In February you’ll meet the dancers and watch them rehearse Cinderella before watching Wild Sweet Love on March 18 at 8:00 p.m. The final event of the package includes watching a performance of the director’s choice and heading out for the after party.

Attitude Board Members include: Alex Fischer (Co-Chairman), Christen Steimle (Co-Chairman), Robert Hamberg (Vice Chairman), Lauren Solimine (Secretary), Kristin Fishbaugh (Treasurer), Megan McGruder (Events Chair), Anna Coutts (Corporate Outreach Chair), Matthew Selker (Co-Founder), Elise Meyer (Co-Founder), Tracey Lynn Conrad, Erin Haskamp, Tiffany Shepard, Jason Snodgrass and Kenneth Wright.

The members of the board are a group of vested, urban professionals who have a passion for building community. As a result, Selker says the board works to ensure the continued growth of Cincinnati’s top-tier ballet company with pride, purpose and imagination..

To learn more about Attitude and Young Patrons, click here. You can sign up to receive event invitations as well as exclusive discounts by joining the mailing list. To do that, reach out the Attitude at attitude@cballet.org. There is no cost to join.

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Some tech savvy social butterflies are getting together once a month to network, grab a drink and talk tech. Read on for details and how you can join in the fun!

The crowd at a recent QCMerge Drinkup event
The crowd at a recent QCMerge Drinkup event

Chris Ridenour and Chris Moore wanted to create an event in Cincinnati that would co-mingle their two developer groups. During the planning process, though, they realized a greater need: one for a social event that brought together individuals in technology and digital marketing fields to simply socialize and talk tech.

Fast forward to today, and their group, formerly known as the Web/Tech Drinkup, is now “QCMerge Drinkup.” It now serves as a monthly meetup where developers, designers and anyone working in the technology industry can get together, grab a drink and network.

“The original idea for the meetups was to get the various industry and technology-specific groups out of their secluded meetups, get together and socialize,” explains Ridenour. “No talks, no presentations, just great drinks and great people!”

Ridenour says the meetups have stayed true to their vision for more than three years now. Since their original launch in April 2012, Andy Jobe joined the organizing team and has been around to help out and pass out drink tickets. Even during that first drinkup so many years ago, Ridenour says that although it was the smallest ever event, there were still 30 self-proclaimed “nerds” who got together and had a great time.

Ridenour adds that besides that the first drink is always free, what he enjoys most about the drinkups is getting to see new faces at the event. “Everyone is there to talk about what they do and meet new people,” he says. “We have been credited with countless job changes in the tech industry and we know of one couple who met at the drinkup in 2012 and got married this year!”

QCMerge Drinkup meetings are held the first Thursday of each month, so the next one won’t be until October (but be sure to mark your calendars, tech lovers!). They’re held at Japp’s Since 1879 in Over-the-Rhine.

To learn more about QCMerge Drinkup, click here.

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Our business guru tackles the topic of networking. Read on for his tips on how to make the right connections, find your core, and organize the rest.

Tony Roma

When asked about the greatest challenges faced by female business owners, Carolyn Leonard, CEO of DyMynd, told Business News Daily, “One of the biggest challenges for a female entrepreneur is not understanding how important it is to have networks and trusted advisors.” Networking is vital to any form of career success, and it’s especially important when you have your own business. By following through on introductions and referrals and being open to new meetings, you will always gain new knowledge and possibly gain new connections that will help you grow your business. Expanding your current network can happen organically, but it’s important to take steps to meet people who can help you out.

At a high level, there are many resources to help small businesses get off the ground, from government associations to trade groups to academic institutions, and it’s the people you’ll meet through these organizations that will make all the difference. Dr. Deborah Osgood, president and CEO of Knowledge Institute for Small Business Development (KISBD), recently put together a list of groups that can help you establish new connections and obtain assistance and information. As an expert in small business development, Dr. Osgood has contributed to many small business success stories. She recognizes that there are bumps in the road for any business and advises “don’t try to do it alone.”

There are many national and local organizations that focus on providing resources and information to help women-owned businesses, in particular. For example, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers resources and advice on finding a mentor for women who are starting a business. But what if you find that there isn’t a group that suits a specific need or niche, or there’s something lacking in the network you’ve established? While it is a lot of work to start your own networking group, it can be accomplished with passion and focus. The fact that you recognize the need for a new kind of organization means you’ve done the informal research to get one started, and it’s likely you’ve found other women in the same boat.

As you speak with more people in your business circles, start thinking about who can help and how they can contribute. One fellow business owner may have a space where she can host group events, while others may be the perfect speakers on topics like taxes or small business loans. You’ll find that when you ask for help, your fellow business owners will be willing to pitch in to connect with other entrepreneurs and share the lessons they’ve learned. It’s certain that your new network will grow as others join you to expand their connections and share information that can be difficult to get otherwise.

Frederique Irwin had that realization and established Her Corner to expand “access to other motivated and ambitious women business owners.” By establishing a resource to organize events, share information, and facilitate locally-organized group meetings, Frederique has brought together like-minded female business owners to collaborate and expand their businesses. Building new communities isn’t easy, but her advice to find experienced partners, build a core group, and keep your focus on your members will help you make new connections for yourself and for the rest of your business community. With dedication and connections to the right people, you can build a core team that will establish a wider network and help you and your business grow.

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Learn about a new local networking group that allows you to connect and socialize with other local business women — all in your best little black dress.

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The Sophisticates host monthly Little Black Dress networking and social events.

The Sophisticates, a national women’s business and social networking organization, focuses on building interpersonal relationships by empowering and uplifting fellow women. From executives and business owners to retirees and stay at home moms — and every woman in between — they embrace and support each other’s unique dreams and goals.

“We are a nationwide, woman-focused chamber of commerce of sorts where women can build relation-ships and businesses,” says Angie Clark, CEO and Founding Member of The Sophisticates. “We host monthly Little Black Dress networking and social events where women can connect with each other not only for business reasons, but social as well. Our membership is open to all.”

“We are a sisterhood of women who are focused on supporting each other in business and in life in general,” Clark continues. “As for our name, it literally popped into my mind as I was shopping for a little black dress for a business meeting. I said, ‘that one is perfect… it’s so Sophisticated… wait that’s it… that’s what I’ll call my group – The Sophisticates.”

The Sophisticates launched in December 2010. Since this launch, which first started with six women, has grown to over 1,400 members in 38 states, Canada and Australia – with an average of 60 new members per day.

Jenifer Quinn-Wilson started The Sophisticates of Northern Cincinnati in 2015 out of her true passion for networking, connecting, sharing and empowering women. After spending 12 years with severe health problems, developing agoraphobia (a fear of leaving her home), gaining 150 pounds, and losing her husband – she knew it was time to get healthy or die trying.

Today, Quinn-Wilson is thriving as a makeup artist, stylist, plus size fashion consultant and plus size model. “With support I lost 100 pounds – and with my mobility came a new desire to connect,” says Quinn-Wilson. “I remarried in 2013 and joined several networking communities where I met some amazing people and developed some of the most important relationships of my life.”

“I loved networking, but I wanted an opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level than the 60-second elevator speech,” Quinn-Wilson continues. “I spoke with Jennifer Thompson, a fellow beauty society network marketer, and discovered that The Sophisticates may be just what I needed.”

At The Sophisticates of northern Cincinnati, they call themselves the “anti networking-networking group” because of their desire to get to know women and build them up – not just in business, but in every aspect of life.

“Since our launch on February 26, we already have over 30 members with new women checking us out each month,” she continues. “Starting in May we will be adding extra services for our members such as mastermind groups to help their business reach new levels and different ways to advertise on Facebook.

These new additions should be beneficial to growing one’s business from the smallest to the largest.” Their speakers have specific guidelines to make everything interactive – ensuring that guests will walk out with a new friend. “We really want women to feel special by reminding them of how powerful and amazing they truly are” says Quinn-Wilson. “One never knows when a tiara or two will be presented. After all, aren’t we all queens?”

When looking to the bright future of The Sophisticates of Northern Cincinnati, Quinn-Wilson wants to be able to continue connecting, empowering and building businesses of women.

“We have so many exciting events coming up – from learning how to prepare healthy meals to art with a twist classes,” says Quinn-Wilson. “On April 30th, our very own Kay Fittes will be speaking on kicking up your high-heeled success and we will be at SmoQ in Springdale from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In May we will be in Mason for our healthy eating class with Rebecca Mcgraine.”

To learn more about The Sophisticates, visit www.thesophisticates.org or follow them on Facebook. Meetings are held on the last day of each month (unless it’s a holiday) and they travel from one end of the 275 to the other in an effort to accommodate all their sisters in Cincinnati.

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