The post-pandemic networking landscape has changed dramatically. Once public meetings became in vogue again, people flocked to see their friends, colleagues and co-workers. They also attended more business events to expand their spheres of influence. These events have grown partially because of the forced seclusion for several years and also the intention of forging new paths in their particular industries.
One of the newer networking groups that was created to address this increasing need is RI/MA Referral Makers Networking based in Smithfield. This event meets on the third Tuesday of each month at HomeSmart on Douglas Pike (Rte. 7), from 8:30 AM until 10:00 AM. The festivities feature attendees introducing themselves, explaining their interests and goals, plus connecting with other professionals around Rhode Island. We work to assist other like minded business people grow their businesses.
The event is the brainchild of HomeSmart realtor, Paula Allin. Paula has partnered with colleague Sheri Bishop of Attleboro, MA, to add a Massachusetts location to the networking group.
They have just added the location at 500 East Washington St., in North Attleboro, MA (at the office of Main Street Home Loans). That group will be meeting every month, on the first Wednesday of the month, starting with its inaugural meeting on Wednesday January 3rd at 8:30 AM.
Both women are well-known networkers, who have a broad range of people they can call on to help them with any client’s problems or issues.
Allin said that the idea came from several networking colleagues who wanted to do something different, while staying connected.
“We used to meet weekly as a larger group, but there was a growing sentiment to make changes,” said Allin. “The group wanted to continue meeting, but not as often. We decided to hold an event at my office because it was convenient for most of that group. Word-of-mouth and targeted advertising helped bring more people into the group. Our hope for the event would be to encourage more people to come and check it out.”
Unlike other networking groups, this one does not charge an admission fee or require attendees to bring referrals. They can bring either business cards or brochures, a short story, and a positive attitude. There are light refreshments served, as well.
Allin added that the need for more networking events is evident by the increasing number of guests coming.
“There is certainly an opportunity for people to get out and meet other professionals. This provides anyone with the ability to come and support area small business. Every month features some people who often come to these and others who are first-timer attendees. When that happens, real networking can happen, with those who have not met making important connections.”
For Bishop, it becomes a bit of a challenge to integrate those who are continually networking with those who may feel intimidated being in a room with so many new faces. She said that having the ability to merge both groups into one large opportunity creates more chances for partnerships. Being able to engage with people with different interests and experiences to forge a union can really take off post-meeting.
“Our search for “new blood” means identifying other professions that not only can use some guidance, but can also be a resource down the road,” Bishop said.
“Paula and I are constantly searching for people to meet and work with,” she said. “Not only are we looking to meet other professionals within the real estate industry—such as mortgage brokers, trades, and home inspectors, among other jobs—but, we also welcome anybody involved with senior living communities, senior care, elder care, real estate attorneys, or anyone who we can partner with. We want to expand our reach and help out those needing a hand.”
Bishop noted that people in Rhode Island are invited to check it out, and vice versa for those in the Bay State, who do not mind traveling south.
When Paula and Sheri are not out networking, they are doing their part in helping others in the community. Paula is part of the Elves for Elders campaign that raises money to purchase gifts for seniors who may not have family around or may not otherwise receive anything for the holidays.
Sheri works with veterans, the homeless, and seniors. She is participating in an upcoming event that offers free hot meals to these groups.
For more details regarding this event and for upcoming meetings, please contact Paula Allin at 401-241-2976, or email her at email@example.com. Or, contact Sheri Bishop at 508-472-0306 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.