Last night, I had the opportunity to attend an After Hours Mixer sponsored by the Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) at the Infusion Lounge. First of all, the venue was fantastic. It was the second time I have attended an event there and I found it to be one of the coolest spots I have seen in San Francisco.
These After Hours Mixers are used by a lot of groups for members and non-members of organizations to network, create business opportunities and build business relationships.
I have personally found them to be one of the most effective ways to get business and to also develop enduring relationships within the business community.
The GGBA is especially unique as it is centered on businesses within the LGBT community and is the oldest such organization in the country. It truly reflects the contributions that LGBT business owners and professionals make to the economic fabric of our community.
Being a member of an organization like this one requires active participation. Tony Moraga, the GGBA’s General Manager, cannot do it all alone, even as effective as he has been in his work. Too many people join organizations, pay dues and then expect something in return for that investment that is disproportionate to their lack of involvement.
I have had the opportunity to volunteer some time at fairs at booths and also to attend most of their events for the GGBA . It has allowed me to meet and engage people in my business. Some of the returns to me personally has been immediate and some more long term.
There are some people who resign these organizations simply because they feel it has done nothing for them. However, more often then not the issue has not been with the organization but with themselves.
Similar to any non-profit organization, there is need for improvement. That is why there is an elected board and a great opportunity to volunteer. A non-profit is truly is has healthy and as effective as its level of volunteerism.
For the LGBT community, while we are trying to make so many inroads for equal rights, there is great impetus for moving many things forward within the business community with an organization like the GGBA. All you need to do is get involved.