Impactful People NW began as Impactful Women NW in 2014 as a small meet-up group for women in Vancouver, Washington. Founder and President, Erika Laws, created the group after noticing a gap in the current networking circuit. She had stumbled into the world of networking through a career change in 2013. While she was fortunate to meet many people through the existing networking events, many events required a membership in order to attend and nearly all required an out of pocket cost up front. Erika wanted something different. She enjoyed connecting and meeting with people, but she also wanted a group that not only allowed her to be social, but gave her opportunities to listen to only presentations of interest, had no formal obligation to attend, and was affordable to those just starting out in their businesses. She decided to create her own event and The Social Hour was born.
After a full year of monthly Social Hour meet-ups, the conference series was added bringing an element of affordable education to further help people grow. Holding both Quarterly Conferences and an annual All Day Conference each year, attendees learn valuable skills to not only help them succeed in their business but also in their everyday life.
As Impactful Women NW continued to grow, amazing connections were made, friendships were formed and business referrals were helping to make it one of the top networking connections in the Vancouver/Portland region. Women liked that they did not have to commit to every event and they enjoyed the opportunity to attend at locations in Vancouver and in Portland at no cost.
By the end of 2015, it was beginning to feel like it was time to make an even bigger impact on our community so in the spring of 2016, Impactful Women NW set out to establish a Board of Directors with the goal of turning our small networking organization into a non-profit. We wanted to reach further into our community with programming and other resources. Our inaugural ConnectFEST event, held July 25, 2016 had two purposes: to feature and connect local women in business and to serve as a fundraiser to help us reach our goal to become a non-profit. It was a huge success! Over 200 people attended and more than 30 businesses participated. By the fall of 2016, both women and men were taking notice of the type of personal and business relationships that were being formed. And at our December co-ed Social Hour, a few men commented that they wished there was a similar networking group for them.
In February 2017 we completed our Board by adding four male members who would serve over a new chapter called Impactful Men NW. The men’s group operates much the same as the women and hold’s monthly Social Hour meet-ups. While the group is just getting started, they already are making a positive impact on the community and are seeking ways to create Community Action Events for their group.
As we move forward as Impactful People NW, we will continue to seek opportunities to make a positive impact in our community and to develop programming to help youth in our community build the confidence and skills they need to be successful, contributing adults. We encourage you to get involved with both groups and stay connected by following our Impactful People NW Facebook page or by contacting us via our email firstname.lastname@example.org.