Finding Your People: Five communities to Know About

In parts one and two of my Alice in Workland series, I highlighted the lessons I learned during stints in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. While the thrill of anonymity got me to my destination, I had to hit the ground running when it came to making connections.

Whether I'm traipsing about in Indianapolis, looking for something to do in between museum visits in NYC, or scarfin' down some beignets in New Orleans, here are my go-tos when tackling a new city:

Network After Work: My former coworkers can attest to my fervent lurve of NAW. With over 40 locations across the country, we are never without options for schmoozing when traveling in the States. I attend their events here in Boston and am always bowled over by the venues they choose and the energy of the room. They boast hundreds of attendees at the monthly events in their larger hubs, but the smaller ones are no slouches. Tickets are available online and at the door, but are less expensive when you purchase them earlier. Name tags are color coded according to industry and make for good conversation starters.

Eventbrite: Perhaps it's because of Sara Steele-Rogers, Eventbrite Boston's wonder of a wingwoman, but my love of this site goes back ages. Most of the cities I've chosen to live in have been major metropolitan areas, but Eventbrite has also been a fount of fantastic opportunities when I ran programs out of Wichita and rural Indiana. Their platform is an invaluable resource for event attendees and planners alike. Their Event Academy is quite the toolbox for those of you out there getting your event management feet wet. While headquartered in San Francisco, Eventbrite's presence is felt the world over...and for good reason.

Yelp: When I first moved to Cambridge, I wanted to take the opportunity to learn about my new town's personality. Affectionately referred to as my House of Worship Hop, I immediately bookmarked churches, mosques, and meeting houses and made appointments to interview clergy and members. Over the years, Yelp has played an instrumental role in my ability to become familiar with the tenor of a community. You don't have to have to sit at a shabbat with the book upside down (because, like me, you don't read Hebrew) or have lunch with a married priest from Mississippi like I did, but I encourage you to get out there, eat some stuff, write reviews, and (hopefully) get invited to the Yelp Elite circle. You'll be in great company and their perks and special events are out of this world. Shout out to Damien who does Massachusetts proud in his Community Manager role.

Meetup: Whether you're a stay at home mom that plays death metal or a Wiccan that likes to get their archery on from time to time, Meetup is a place for people of similar interests to get together and do what they do best. Meetups became a lifesaver after moving to Cambridge five years ago. I drew on my Martha Stewart qualities in a Head Organizer role, which opened the door to other opportunities and invaluable social justice connections. If the event planning force is strong in you (but your wallet, not so much), there are opportunities for local businesses tosponsor your mini community by offering meeting space or to assume monthly operating costs.

CreativeMornings: This global community is something to write mama about. I have got to give Keith F. a shout out for revitalizing the formerly defunct Boston group. It's a pleasure to be part of a fantastic community of creative folks that meets every month. He keeps us in amazing coffee, snacks and charm like no one else can. CreativeMornings has 100 cities under its belt and they're growing every day. Each month has a different theme and presenter, and videos are uploaded on the site for those of us who are playing at home (or at work, as the meetings are...er..in the morning). Whether you're in Guadalajara or Grand Rapids, this is where the cool kids are.

As always, folks - it's been a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you. I look forward to seeing you at an event!