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From left, Shervonne Cherry, community manager, and Beth Boots Workman, director of operations at Spark.
From left, Shervonne Cherry, community manager, and Beth Boots Workman, director of operations at Spark.

Want to network? Have fun while you meet

Designated networking events can be successful but there are different, fun ways women are using to meet others who share similar interests.

Melanie Thomas co-founded Thomas Moreland Fitness a couple of years ago. “My goal in opening up this studio was to provide a small studio for women to come, feel comfortable, be held accountable, meet new friends, gain motivation so when you come to my studio it’s more than just a workout,” she said.

Based in Timonium, the center takes a holistic approach to health, featuring nutrition information and mindfulness discussions. “It’s different from the big-box gym because it is more personal,” she said. “When you come to my studio, you are with a trainer.”

Thomas runs 6 a.m. and late-evening fitness classes for working moms who want to get in their workout before or after the business day. She will often hear about her clients, who work in a variety of different fields, meeting up to do a hike on the weekend or going out to a meal together. “They are forming friendships,” she said. “They are forming a support group.”

The Baltimore Martial Arts Academy in Catonsville features fitness classes like kickboxing and kettlebells for all abilities that are popular among women. “They are all good friends outside of the program,” said Alex Karadimas, manager. “I think it is the hard work that they do in there. They find common ground in it.”

For those who prefer not to work up a sweat while meeting others, Pub & Paint is a fun way to explore your creative muse and engage people with similar interests. Hosted in various bars and restaurants throughout the area, people can go in groups or by themselves.

“The paintings we design and teach everyone are really simple and easy to do for anybody no matter what kind of experience that they have,” said Brady Starr, owner. “Walk people through steps to make the painting and give them hints and tips to customize and make paintings their own. Our whole objective is to take away any kind of fear or anxiety people may have when it comes to painting. That’s why we do events at bars.”

The goal is to make the event like a social interactive party. “We try to get everyone to be vocal and move around and laugh,” Starr said. “Once the music breaks and people are laughing and checking out what other people are doing … that’s where that could be a benefit for networking and meeting new people.”

Co-working spaces have grown in popularity over the past several years. “It’s a unique place to effectively network and build your company,” said Shervonne Cherry, community manager at Spark Baltimore. “You have a built in system of a community.”

Spark, located at Power Plant Live! near the Inner Harbor, features private offices and shared work space for a variety of different businesses including established and startups. “We are very diverse in the companies that we have in this space,” Cherry said.

The mix of companies is resourceful for those wanting to network because they can find contacts in-house. Cherry said people can just walk next door or down the hall to ask a company to connect on a meeting or discuss working together.

Featuring a lounge, kitchen, a gourmet coffee and craft beer bar and multiple meeting rooms, Spark plans to kick off a robust content schedule this year featuring a speaker series and networking events. “It’s a resourceful location for (people) building their businesses,” Cherry said.

This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Path To Excellence: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Path to Excellence magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Path to Excellence.

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