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PEG DEGRASSA--- DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA In attendance at Tasty Talks at Yangming Restaurant in Radnor Township are, left to right, Mongomery County Republican Committee Chairman William Donnelly; Jeff Bartos, candidate for Lt. Governor of PA; Tasty Talks May speaker Renee Amoore; Realtor Michelle Leonard, co-host of Tasty Talks; Bucks County Republican Party Chairwoman Pat Poprik; Dr. Thanuja Hamilton, co-host of Tasty Talks; Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly; Yangming's proprietor Michael Wei; and Chester County Republican Committee Vice Chair Steven Sansone. In attendance at Tasty Talks at Yangming Restaurant in Radnor Township are, left to right, Mongomery County Republican Committee Chairman William Donnelly; Jeff Bartos, candidate for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania; Tasty Talks May speaker Renee Amoore; Realtor Michelle Leonard, co-host of Tasty Talks; Bucks County Republican Party Chairwoman Pat Poprik; Dr. Thanuja Hamilton, co-host of Tasty Talks; Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly; Yangming’s proprietor Michael Wei; and Chester County Republican Committee Vice Chair Steven Sansone.

I don’t have to tell any successful business professional the importance of local networking. Most of them already know that networking is one of the most useful strategies to grow their business or career. By networking, business owners and professionals meet other experienced business people from whom they can learn and get some helpful advice. It is also a way to gain new clients and customers and to meet others in the same and in different fields to build short-term and long-term business relationships.

By meeting new people and handing out business cards and other contact info, networking often leads to referrals, leads and opportunities, which of course, in the end, usually leads to increased business. Remember that old phrase that goes “It’s not what you know but who you know”? In business, this is truer than in any other part of life.

Networking allows people to gather a wide variety of different connections that can help down the line. Good networking not only helps the professional, but it helps their entire company because it gets its name out there for others to know and recognize. The more networking you carry out, the more you will learn and connect with others in the business community and the better the results will be.

This past month, I went to three really terrific local networking events. All of them have another event coming up in June, so business professionals can still take advantage of the opportunities.

In May, I attended my very first Tasty Talks event at Yangming Restaurant in Radnor Township. Only a few years old, the series of lunchtime talks is hosted by co-chairs Michelle Leonard, a Realtor on the Main Line for Century 21, and Dr. Thanuja Hamilton, as well as Yangming proprietor Michael Wei. Once a month, for a $20 admission, Tasty Talks offers hors d’oeuvres, a family style lunch, dessert, tax and tip, a stimulating speaker and time for networking, and all proceeds benefit the charity of the speaker’s choice.

The speakers usually share ways that they make a difference in the community.

Past guests have included Marilyn Russell of 98.1WOGL; Jim Donovan of CBS3; Steve Morrison, co-host of WMMR’s Preston & Steve Show; Karen Hepp of Fox29; Hugh E. Dillon of Philly Chit Chat; Kyree Terrell of MyNewPhilly; and Eddie Keels of Philly Current.

I was thrilled when Michelle Leonard invited me to attend my very first Tasty Talk to hear inspirational speaker Renee Amooré, who spoke about the importance of loving and respecting yourself. Renee is an American health care advocate and the founder and president of The Amoore Group Inc. She has always played a significant role in the Pennsylvania Republican Party, including being deputy chairwoman of the Pennsylvania GOP.

Renee’s mother was Delaware County’s first black committee woman. Republican VIPs from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, as well as from the state level, came to Yangming to hear Amoore and network with the crowd. About 80 luncheon guests attended, including Andy Reilly, Delaware County Republican chairman; Pearl Kim, Delaware County congressional candidate; and Jeff Bartos, candidate for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

The next Tasty Talks is planned for Wednesday, June 27, at Yangming and will feature former Gov. Ed Rendell, who will likely bring out a who’s who of Dems. Networking begins at noon.

After leaving public office, Rendell returned to his former law firm, Ballard Spahr, and became an on-air political analyst for NBC and a sports analyst for Comcast SportsNet’s Eagles Postgame Live. All profits will benefit The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, which is inspiring K-8 students with its educational mock trials, annual Citizenship Challenge and professional development opportunities for teachers. To reserve seats, call 610-527-3200.

Another great networking opportunity that I had in May was at the Delaware County Press Club monthly luncheon. As former president of the club, I’ve written and have spoken about its networking opportunities countless times, especially for business and communications professionals in Delaware and Chester counties. You have to eat lunch anyway, so why not make it a lunch where you learn new things and meet new people?

This club is another “who’s who” of successful business professionals who are ready and able to help others grow in their fields, and the club’s luncheons are a perfect place to mingle and make some connections that will likely serve you down the line.

Although the club is getting ready to wrap until September, Press Club President Tracy Price and the Press Club board are busy planning a fun closing event that is open to the public and a perfect time to come meet everyone and find out how to join in time for the September opening meeting.

The Delaware County Press Club is ready to enter its 40th year as a vibrant organization offering networking opportunities, workshops, field trips and luncheons that focus on professional development opportunities complementing the needs and interests of the club’s members. The club is a reciprocal member of The National Press Club in Washington D.C.

Monthly luncheons are held on the third Wednesday of the month, at various Delaware County locations, moving around the county to fairly provide easy access to all members and guests. There’s always time allowed for lunchtime networking. The luncheon cost is a flat $20. Past guests have included famed criminal attorney F. Lee Bailey; Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens; Upper Darby police Chief Mike Chitwood; Sun Center Studio owner Jeff Rotwitt; local news personalities Larry Kane, Jim Donovan, Cherri Gregg, Lisa Thomas-Laury and countless others; CEO of the Philly POPS Frank Giordano; Greater Philadelphia Film Office President Sharon Pinkenson; and Kimmel Center CEO Anne Ewers.

Everyone is welcome to Delco Press Club’s closing event at the beautifully scenic Springhaven Club in Wallingford on June 13 at 5:30 p.m. for burgers and hot dogs and a driving range and putting contest. Guests can bring their own clubs or borrow from the Pro Shop. A cash bar will be available. Here’s a chance to mingle and network and preview all the Press Club has to offer for their 2019-19 season before it takes a summer break until September. To register to attend or get more info on the Press Club, visit thepresslcubpa.org.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s a very cool new networking group, the DelCo Connections Optimist Club, that had its inaugural networking night a few weeks ago at Barnaby’s in Havertown. The newly formed organization is a sub-club of the 40-year-old Rose Tree Media (RTM) Optimist Club, with a mission to provide a forum for business professionals to help one another and give back to the community in various ways. Members of the club intend to host monthly business networking events for both members and guests in the region to get to know one another and form connections to grow their businesses.

The DelCo Connections Optimist Club’s first networking night in May drew about 60 business professionals, including insurance agents, life coaches, leadership consultants, chiropractors, tech supporters, educators and individual retail proprietors. Each attendee had five minutes at the microphone to talk about their business or community project. Business owners and other professionals enjoyed a buffet dinner, drinks, door prizes and casual networking. The next networking event is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at Stingers on the Waterfront in Ridley Township. For more information, call Riordan at 610-745-0104 or email Eriordan@aol.com.

All of these networking events are only the tip of the iceberg.

The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce is another source of awesome networking opportunities. The chamber holds early morning Coffee Connections networking, Business After Hours networking, Women in Business networking, Young Professionals events and networking and much more. There are countless and continuous ways to mingle and meet other business professionals through the chamber. For more information, visit delcochamber.org.

Additionally, there are many other interesting and fruitful networking groups — just keep your eyes peeled for them. I recently attended the Real Housewives of Philadelphia’s networking night in West Chester, which I spotted in my Facebook newsfeed. The Real Housewives told me that they host the group all over the Greater Philadelphia area, so sooner or later, it will be conveniently close by to where you work or live.

No matter what your business or profession, get out there and meet others in the business world. Don’t use that you have too much work to do as an excuse. Networking IS work because it will pay off for your business eventually in dividends! Plus, you will get to meet droves of new and interesting people that you may never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, if you hadn’t gotten out there and networked!

Readers can contact Peg DeGrassa at pdegrassa@21st-centurymedia.com.

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