An old-school approach to networking

Is it outdated to network face to face? Has Facebook replaced the tried and true business-to-business exchange? I may be old-school, but I believe shaking hands is still the preferred interaction among successful business people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely a believer, friend and, yes, fan of Facebook, but truth be told, online social networking is outgrowth of community networking offered by chambers of commerce; Rotary, Quota, Kiwanis and Lions clubs; and groups such as the South Bay Women’s Network.

On Tuesday, the Women’s Network is hosting a free mixer from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Inn at Morro Bay. According to Dawn Rodden, president, “This is our annual membership event to encourage women to join us at the beginning of our new year. We currently have 47 active members.”

Recently, Network Publicity Chairwoman Sally Brooks introduced a typical luncheon speaker, Dr. Consuelo Meux, as the “founder and president of the National Online Training Association for Mid-Life Professionals, an author and certified executive and creativity coach.”

Meux suggested several helpful truisms to jump-start career momentum.

She also announced the first Central Coast Women’s Conference: Turning Talents into Income on April 29 in Paso Robles. Learn about that event at www.ccwconference.com.

The Women’s Network was founded in 1983 by Jean Brown, formerly of the then-Security Pacific National Bank, who stated, “There was no group for the women in the business community. … (I) decided a network would be the best.”

She enlisted five other community businesswomen, and 40 showed up to form the group. Members are business owners, employees, retirees and housewives all residing in San Luis Obispo County.

Sitting on the original committee were Cathy Stalter, Judi Tewell, Connie Framberger, Diane McClish, Linda Villanueva, Rosa Metzler and Brown. They took turns finding speakers and, as they do today, always scheduled meeting time to share their business or community news.

In 1988, the group adopted the Women’s Shelter for fund development support and selected an annual re-entry scholarship winner at Cuesta College. Its Holiday Dinner and Auction is its major fundraiser. Coming up Tuesday is its unique Closet Swap. Visit www.sbwn.org to learn about that.

On the first Tuesdays of each month, members break bread together at the Inn at Morro Bay. Although they probably network the rest of the month through Facebook, they’ve met firsthand to learn the best of, the worst of and the next-best opportunities of meeting face to face, business to business — and working together to do great things for the community.

Reach Judy Salamacha at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.