As much as I love social media, networking in person at conferences and events has always yielded amazing opportunities for my growth, both personally and professionally. But I usually have had a friend, business partner, or coworker to attend events with me. That is… until this past weekend.

On Sunday, I went to a networking brunch sponsored by Fanm a Fanm (which translates to “women to women”). The event was called The Black Table, and it was marketed to black women bloggers in the Washington, DC Metro area.

Waiting outside the venue for the brunch to start – Josephine Butler Center

I was excited to attend this event because it was local and cheap ($20 flash sale!). Plus it included brunch and bottomless mimosas! Score!

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At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to step outside of my comfort zone, especially when it came to meeting new people and expanding my network. I had a list of conferences I wanted to attend, but either I had a scheduling conflict, or the event was too far away or too expensive. So when this event came along and it fit all my criteria, I challenged myself to attend, even if it was by myself.

About the Black Table Brunch

The event started with mingling in the library and patio of the Josephine Butler Center, located in Meridian Hill Park in DC. The venue was gorgeous, and coupled with the weather, made a scenic spot for brunch and photos.

After everyone was seated and the hosts brought brief introductions, it was time for brunch!

Following brunch, we were treated to a brief panel discussion with some amazing bloggers and influencers who had grown their brand and social media to an incredibly successful point. I appreciated hearing their stories of how they took chances and became their own designers, promoters and marketing team.

If you are in the DC-Metro area next year, you should definitely attend this event! I love the premise of bringing bloggers and influencers together to network, share ideas, and support each other. And since the event, I have added some amazing ladies on IG who inspire me daily to keep going.

I also got connected with a group called the Content Creator Coalition (CCC) that meets once a month in different locations throughout the DMV to help creators take photos for their websites and social media. This is exactly what I have been looking to join or create! Sometimes, it is difficult to take my own photos all the time. So the brunch ticket paid for itself right there by connecting me with the members of the CCC Meetup.

I will share my experience with attending the meetup soon! My first one is Sunday, September 16.

Navigating Your Networking Event Solo

In Episode 4 of my podcast Beauty Boss Goals, I go into detail about how to navigate networking in-person, based on my experience at this event. But I wanted to highlight some lessons I learned from the brunch. 

Most people categorize me as outgoing or extroverted because I talk a lot and enjoy public speaking, but when it comes to one-on-one conversations or meeting someone new, I am incredibly shy. I was incredibly intimidated to step out and mingle when I didn’t know ANYONE else in the room, but the act of pushing myself to “do it scared” really helped me grow.

My #1 piece of advice? Get out of your fear and DO IT. Make a goal that scares you, and then tackle it!

My goal was to talk to five people and get their contact information. When I committed to it, it was like magic, and I had tripled my goal number within the first hour of the event!

What events or locations have you been thinking about attending but don’t want to go solo?

stephthorne