I was talking to a friend the other day about ways to get more involved in the local Portland scene for networking and volunteering. Here are several avenues I’m aware of. Most I’ve tried in one form or the other.
- Silicon Florist — All things small companies and start-ups in Portland. Be sure to sign-up for the weekly email newsletter which always has good stuff in it.
- PDX Startups Switchboard — Tons of opportunities to offer your help or services or do the same for others.
- Calagator — tons of local events (tech and non-tech)
- New Relic Future Talks — A variety of interesting talks and great pizza
- Meetup.com — If you sign up for one or two, before long you’ll be getting emails about all kinds of interesting groups
- KBOO Portland, Community Radio — If you’ve always wanted to learn about radio, be on the air, learn technical skills or give back to the local community, KBOO has lots of opportunities.
- FreeGeek — I donate all my old gear to FreeGeek. They have tons of free classes and opportunities to volunteer. You can even build your own computer for free with enough hours.
- Washington County Community Safety Academy — an inside look at how local law enforcement works and ways people can help
I recommend searching for things you’re really interested in, not things you think you should be interested in or that would simply “help your career.” I find there’s more connection when it’s a natural interest and not something you’re supposed to like.
And if you aren’t sure what you are interested in, pick one event a month and try something out until you find a fit. Don’t torture yourself if it seems like a bad fit. Make yourself stay for 15 minutes and introduce yourself to two other people. If you don’t get any traction with that, call it a “success” and call it a night.