Get To Know The San Diego Creative Community - An In-Depth Guide

San Diego, California has a pretty impressive population of small business owners, bloggers, and freelance solopreneurs. We have cake pop companies, Facebook ad strategists, gift box curators, and wellness chefs. Graphic designers, distillers, and career coaches. Everywhere I turn, there seems to be a new event popping up for the creative community that I can pencil in to my calendar.

This is another reason why I’m wholeheartedly obsessed with San Diego.

I mean, how could anyone not fall in love with this coastal city? The tacos, the towering palm trees, the quite-frequently perfect days, andddd yes, the insanely amazing entrepreneurial community. Let’s dig in, shall we?

One thing I’ve noticed at every event I’ve stepped foot in, is just how supportive, encouraging, and inspiring the women are, and it lights me up like no other. I leave feeling like a firecracker - ready to take on the world, implement the next big thing, and do a happy dance over all the new people I met!

Depending on your personality type, in-person events can be nervewracking, draining, or both, but I have a few practices I put into place at the start of each month that ensure I get to at least 1 or 2.

Set an intention of how many events or new connections you’d like to make.

If you’re not used to networking on the regular, maybe 1 event per month is a good benchmark to set that won’t be too overwhelming. Last month, I managed to attend three local events, schedule a virtual brunch, and have an in-person smoothie date with a new friend at Trilogy Sanctuary (which has the prettiest views of the ocean and La Jolla!).

Pro tip: I squished the events into a 2 week window so that the rest of the month, my calendar had plenty of white space - aka dedicated time built in for rest, replenishment, and other things!

When you purchase the tickets or RSVP to claim your spot, do so ahead of time and pencil the events into your calendar. I love looking at my planner in a monthly view, and I color code my commitments with a highlighter so they really stand out.

Have 2-3 meaningful conversations.

Never walk into a local event with the goal of connecting with every single person. For one, that’s an impossible feat, and two, it would lead to 20 or 45 “small talk” conversations that end up being forgettable, rather than meaningful. (I talk more about this on the Fear Less, Create More Podcast).

Instead, stalk the Instagrams of people that you know are going to the event, and leave a comment on their page. Or, see who is ‘following’ the networking group, and check out some of the profiles of their followers. A little pre-engaging goes a long way!
Here’s a taste of the three events I attended last month:

September 9th - Woke up early (for a Saturday) and went to a beachfront spinning class at the Hotel Del Coronado with Levo San Diego, a group for young professional women. About 10-12 of us spun our hearts out and then walked over to a cute cafe for breakfast and got to know each other better.

September 11th - What better way to start a Monday than to visit a new co-working space in the heart of downtown, and settle in to an inspiring rooftop yoga flow taught by Allison Gower? This was the first San Diego Micro Meetup on a Monday. The event also offered mini swag bags, giveaways, and a lively Q&A session with two business coaches.

September 13th - I gathered around a table with 6 other creative business women and just like in a typical mastermind format, we each had the “floor” for 20 minutes to gather whatever business advice or suggestions we needed from the group. I left this Dream | Driven roundtable with new connections, a notebook filled to the brim with ideas, and plenty of validation on ideas I was contemplating for City Leaper.

Now, where to find all of these fabulous networking groups? Here is a list of my personal favorites, along with a description of each.

San Diego Networking Groups

Ad 2 San Diego - If you’re under the age of 32 and work in advertising or marketing, this is your community! The nonprofit regularly hosts inexpensive workshops and networking events for young professionals all around San Diego. Over the age of 32? Check out SDX.

Sample Event: An untapped event at the headquarters of San Diego Magazine.

Follow Ad 2 San Diego on Facebook
Follow @ad2sd on Instagram

Babes Who Sweat - I love the community that holistic health coach and trainer Keara Christine has put together. From beach boot camps to weekend hikes and wellness popup and fitness events, Keara has fostered a fun community.

Sample Event: A 2-mile run and HIIT session followed by a chat led by a nutritionist!

Follow Babes Who Sweat on Facebook
Follow @babeswhosweat on Instagram

Creative Mornings San Diego - A "breakfast lecture" series for the creative community. You can 100% anticipate free coffee, donuts, or both at these inspiring morning talks. Always held on a Friday, each month's event features a speaker and a chosen theme.

Sample Event: Speaker Sara Schairer spoke about compassion and how it can revolutionize our world.

Follow Creative Mornings San Diego on Facebook

Follow @creativemornings_sd on Instagram

Dames Collective - This intimate group of women (capped at 50 members!) host monthly meetups and gatherings all around San Diego. In their words, this is the “ultimate networking group for this generation’s female leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators.” Membership fees apply.

Sample Event: An open brainstorming session about guerilla marketing held at You & Yours Distillery. 

Follow Dames Collective on Facebook
Follow @damescollective on Instagram

Gals That Brunch - With over 55 chapters around the world, Gals That Brunch hosts intimate brunches for women predominantly in their 20's and 30's. They're headquarted in SD, and we all know San Diego has tons of delicious brunch fare.

Sample Event: Brunch at Great Maple, complete with allll the maple bacon donuts.

Follow Gals That Brunch on Facebook
Follow @galsthatbrunchsd on Instagram

Happsters Squad - Kelli Pease has created an incredible community of happiness and inspiration over at @happsters. Now, in her newest venture, she cultivates groups of 18-20 girls for good vibes and deep connections.

Sample Event: A sunset picnic with rose and a floral sage DIY project. 

Follow Happsters on Facebook
Follow @happsterssquad on Instagram

Lady Killas San Diego - Lady Killas are devoted to the growth of female leadership in the workplace, and founder Courtney Wall has created a positive, powerful platform with monthly networking and speaker-led events. These events are super accessible to all (most being free or $5!) so you can’t afford to miss one.

Sample Event: Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential spoke to the crowd all about confidence.

Follow Lady Killas on Facebook 
Follow @ladykillas_sd on Instagram

Levo San Diego - Levo is a community of professional millennial women. I attended my first event with them recently and was blown away by how nice everyone was. The San Diego chapter hosts many fun and completely free events.

Sample Event: A scenic hike at Torrey Pines, thoughtfully called a “network-out” :) 

Follow Levo League on Facebook 
Follow @levoleaguesd on Instagram

DREAM | DRIVEN - If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of a mastermind group, DREAM | DRIVEN’s intimate roundtable events are for you. Hosted nearly every month, the platform that co-founders Marie and Michelle have built is incredible for fostering deeper connections and inspiring growth for your business.

Sample Event: You’re paired with a small group of entrepreneurs at a table, and a facilitator keeps time as each person is given 20 minutes to seek advice and ideas from the group. 

Follow DREAM | DRIVEN on Instagram

San Diego Business Babes Collective - Launched in August 2017, the San Diego chapter is bringing women together for quality connections and collaboration. I’m excited to see what events these ladies have in store for 2018.

Sample Event: Open networking at a local boutique with drinks, treats, inspiring speakers, and a photo booth. 

Follow San Diego Business Babes Collective on Facebook 
Follow @sdbusinessbabes on Instagram

San Diego Micro Meetups - Krystal organizes small gatherings of ambitious women that are thoughtfully curated and a blast to attend. Pricing is affordable and all events are limited in size so that there’s an opportunity to get to know the other ladies.

Sample Event: 1 hour of open Q&A with 2 business coaches, followed by a rooftop vinyasa yoga class at a co-working space. 

Follow San Diego Micro Meetups on Facebook 
Follow @micromeetupsd on Instagram

San Diego Style Bloggers - If you’re a fashion blogger, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to connect and collaborate with these fierce ladies. They occasionally host events in partnership with local boutiques and brands. Hashtag your outfit photos on Instagram with #SDStyleBloggers for a chance to be featured on their account.

Sample Event: A private trunk show with exclusive discounts, hosted pizza and cocktails.

Follow San Diego Style Bloggers on Facebook 
Follow @sdstylebloggers on Instagram

She Rocks - What began as an intimate networking event in the fall of 2016 has grown into a freaking fantastic, large-scale networking group for creative women in business. My first She Rocks event was insanely memorable and I look forward to future events. They have a lot planned for 2018, so keep an eye out!

Sample Event: 100+ woman networking party with bites, cocktails, a braid bar, and shopping. 

Follow She Rocks on Facebook 
Follow @sherockswerock on Instagram

Tone It Up San Diego - If you’re a fan of Karena and Katrina, or just happen to love a good sweat, this encouraging Facebook group will connect you with local San Diego women (most in their 20’s and 30’s) who share upcoming fitness events and gatherings.

Sample Event: Private class at a barre studio with mimosas served afterwards. 

Join Tone It Up San Diego on Facebook 
Follow @tiusandiego on Instagram

Tuesdays Together San Diego - A division of Rising Tide Society, Tuesdays Together hosts a monthly meetup (on a Tuesday!) with a new theme for discussion. There’s often times 1-2 speakers, and casual conversations that follow. If you identify as a ‘creative’ or a ‘maker’, you’ll fit right in!

Sample Event: Networking at a co-working space, followed by a speaker sharing her advice on client experiences. 

Follow Tuesdays Together San Diego on Facebook 
Follow @tuesdaystogethersd on Instagram

The WE Society - WE (Women Entrepreneurs) cultivates structured panel-style events every quarter. Speakers share all their best secrets and tricks to success. They always choose a quality group of panelists and host many of their gatherings at the industrial-chic space, Moniker Warehouse.

Sample Event: Drinks and appetizers from Little Lion Cafe, and a 3-gal panel. 

Follow The WE Society on Facebook 
Follow @the_we_society on Instagram


Cover Photo: Sabrina Louise Photography
2nd Photo from Top: Vivienne Tyler Photography
Networking Photos: See Instagram accounts

Let's Chat: Have you attended an inspiring networking event recently? Do you run a local networking group for women that wasn't mentioned in my post? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!
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