Portland’s Networking Scene: Connecting Professionals Across Industries

Professional networking events can foster meaningful connections, spark innovative ideas, and create valuable opportunities for professionals across diverse industries.

Whether you’re seeking to expand your network, explore new career avenues, or collaborate on exciting projects, these events offer a platform to engage with like-minded individuals, experts, and thought leaders. 

Check out this roundup of Portland networking opportunities and mark your calendars for an upcoming event. 

Business Networking

B Local PDX

B Local PDX is a group of Certified B Corporations from Oregon and Southwest Washington working to foster and deepen connections among organizations in the region that share its purpose and passion for using business as a force for good.

Business for a Better Portland

Launched in 2016, Business for a Better Portland is a business organization whose members believe that the health and prosperity of businesses depend on the health and prosperity of the community at large. The organization organizes around Portland’s pressing issues, including: safe and efficient transportation, equity in entrepreneurship, access to capital, as well as housing and homelessness.

City Club of Portland

City Club of Portland is a civic organization focused on community service, public affairs, and leadership development. Post-pandemic, City Club has explored a mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Upcoming events are announced by email and appear on the website calendar. Video recordings of past events can be accessed on the club’s YouTube channel. The organization’s membership represents a broad spectrum of leaders from business, government, academia, social services, and other professions.

Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington’s Corporate Exchange

The Corporate Exchange (previously the Corporate Volunteer Council)  is a coalition of businesses and business professionals committed to corporate volunteerism in local communities. The organization gathers professionals focused on corporate community engagement and provides a space for best practice sharing, professional development, and networking. If you want to learn more about Corporate Exchange, please email info@gosw.org.

iTake The Lead Meetup Group

This Portland-based Meetup group has more than 2,225 active members. Its goal is to help small business owners and sales professionals build referral-based businesses while creating a community of entrepreneurs. The group offers a variety of training seminars and networking events, many of which are free to attend.

Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs

OAME is an all-inclusive organization, operating by the motto: “Everybody’s In, Nobody’s Out.” The 700-member association is a collection of entrepreneurs, public agencies, partner non-profits, and large businesses. The mission is directed toward eliminating discrimination and racism. OAME’s annual trade show is one of the biggest events of the year.

Oregon Entrepreneurs Network

OEN connects entrepreneurs to a large network of peers and mentors, funding opportunities, and trainings. They host more than 100 events each year, open to members and non-members. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur launching your first startup, OEN provides the tools you need to grow your business.

Oregon Executives Association

Established in 1926, Oregon Executives Association is one of Portland’s oldest and most successful business networking and support groups. It holds a lively luncheon meeting every Wednesday, and members become part of a close-knit organization focused on increasing member business opportunities and connections throughout the community. OEA members are owners or decision-makers of companies with solid reputations for providing quality services and goods. Their business integrity is a credit to the Association and the community. OEA is a member of the International Executives Association, with more than 6,000 member firms in the United States and Canada.

Portland Business Journal’s Power Breakfasts

Start your day with some networking! The Power Breakfast is an ongoing monthly event showcasing successful local businesses and business leaders.

Portland Metro Chamber

The Portland Metro Chamber is the area’s regional chamber of commerce, with a membership of more than 2,200 companies. PMC organizes regular networking and educational events, giving you an opportunity to connect with local business leaders.

Nonprofit Events

ComNetworkPORTLAND

ComNetworkPORTLAND is a network of Portland-area communications professionals who believe in the power of smart communications to improve lives. In affiliation with The Communications Network, ComNetworkPORTLAND is one among over a dozen cities with active local groups of communicators working in various facets of the social sector, including at foundations, nonprofits, and as consultants.

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Engaging Local Government Leaders

Interested specifically in local government jobs? ELGL represents the unique needs of public service professionals. They coordinate numerous networking and educational events for their members. Check out their “City Hall Selfie Day” page to get a sense of their trademark enthusiasm for all things local government.

GATHER: A Happy Hour for Social Good

GATHER is a quarterly networking event for folks working in and adjacent to the nonprofit sector. This networking event is for mission-driven professionals looking to connect with like-minded folks. Whether you need moral support, a dose of inspiration, or are looking for collaborators, this is the event for you!

Housing Oregon

Are you interested in helping solve the issue of houselessness for Oregon’s vulnerable populations? Housing Oregon is a statewide association of 75 organizations that are building, financing, and supporting affordable housing. They advocate on the local and state levels for programs and policies that enable members to provide housing for working families, people with disabilities, seniors, and others struggling to meet their needs in communities throughout Oregon.

Nonprofit Association of Oregon

When it comes to the Portland nonprofit scene, NAO is the place to start. Each week, NAO hosts multiple training events for nonprofit professionals, most of which are open to non-members. The NAO Events Calendar is the most comprehensive list of nonprofit-themed events, with listings from many organizations around the state. NAO also has a robust selection of trainings for established nonprofit professionals.

People’s Nonprofit Accelerator

The People’s Nonprofit Accelerator (formerly Willamette Valley Development Officers) is a local membership association dedicated to the continuing development of nonprofit fundraising professionals. They organize regular seminars, conferences, and online courses to improve nonprofit development programs.

Say Hey!

Partners in Diversity works to increase multicultural inclusion in the workplace and support local professionals of color. They offer a series of services and training to for-profit, nonprofit, and government professionals. Their quarterly Say Hey! series is Oregon’s largest multicultural networking event.

YNPN Portland

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) is a volunteer-led and volunteer-run organization that supports current and future nonprofit leaders. The Portland chapter coordinates regular educational and networking events throughout the metropolitan area. From events like a summer pizza party to a seminar on managing conflict, YNPN has a lot to offer to those interested in making waves in the nonprofit world.

Marketing Events

AMA PDX

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and the American Marketing Association is dedicated to helping marketers stay on the cutting edge. The local chapter in Portland hosts regular luncheons, happy hours, and programs to connect and educate local marketers. Plus, their AMA PDX Agency connects local marketers with nonprofit organizations in need of marketing services. These projects allow local pros the opportunity to give back, meet their peers in the industry, and hone their skills at the same time.

Magnet

What if the person who could further your career was already looking for you? What if a room full of people knew the exact insight you sought? What if your knowledge could be someone else’s Eureka moment? Welcome to Magnet, where you can let your net… work. This Portland networking event creates relationships that connect ideas.

SEMpdx

SEMpdx started out with an SEO/SEM focus, but has been hosting varied marketing events featuring regional experts for several years. If you want to make dozens of new connections quickly, attend their flagship events: the annual Summer Networking Party and the Holiday Networking Party. These networking events also give you the opportunity to connect with organizations like the Portland Business Alliance, Think NW, and more.

ThinkNW

Founded in 1906, ThinkNW (formerly Portland Advertising Federation) holds the title of the oldest advertising club in the United States. ThinkNW is a next-generation organization and community unifying Pacific Northwest advertising, marketing, and media professionals, students, and talent. Check out one of their panel events or agency-hosted happy hours. 

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More Organizations That Host Marketing Events in Portland

There are also many incredible Portland professional organizations that aren’t primarily focused on marketing. Still, they host regular marketing events or are in industries adjacent to marketing (such as design, tech, nonprofit, PR, and entrepreneurship). Keep tabs on these organizations’ event calendars to meet new people and connect with leaders in the Portland marketing scene.

Can’t-Miss Portland Marketing Events

Creative Mornings

Start your morning with creative inspiration, professional networking, and industry insights. Creative Mornings is a free monthly breakfast lecture series for creative professionals. Each session starts with a short talk, followed by a Q&A and breakfast. This series was founded in NYC in 2008 and now has spread to 170 cities globally. The Portland chapter celebrates our city’s amazing talent and gives marketers a great opportunity to connect with creatives on a monthly basis.

Engage

The Engage Conference is hosted annually by the aforementioned SEMpdx. It covers every niche of search and social media marketing, from the basic fundamentals of keywords to cutting-edge tips and tricks for mobile optimization, link building, and digital marketing. Each session also includes extensive Q&A with the speakers and an extended time for networking. Plus, this conference is typically ⅓ of the cost of other industry conferences, so you can attend even if you have a smaller budget for networking conferences.

Technology Events 

Calagator

Calagator is a treasure trove of networking events for tech professionals in Portland. Started more than ten years ago to establish one unified calendar for the tech community, Calagator is a flexible and easy-to-use way to stay on top of tech events. Anyone can import, create, and edit events. Calagator offers an in-depth view of Portland’s networking scene, from the biggest, nationally advertised conferences to the intimate, niche gatherings at coffee shops.

ChickTech

ChickTech is a national organization that aims to empower, increase, and retain women in the tech industry. Their intergenerational tech-centered events offer a broad range of networking and mentoring opportunities, from social happy hours to soft-skill and technical workshops. 

Nonprofit Technology Conference

The Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) draws more than 2,000 nonprofit professionals worldwide to Portland every year. Organized by the Portland-based Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, an invaluable resource in its own right, NTC boasts over 100 sessions exhibiting the most innovative technologies and strategies and networking events every night. It’s a dynamic place to collaborate with other nonprofit tech professionals passionate about creating change through technology.

PDX Startups

PDX Startups is a “crowdsourced resource platform connecting and supporting Portland’s growing startup ecosystem.” The website hosts a comprehensive directory of locally connected startup organizations, plus a database of investors. If you’re in the startup world, ensure you have a presence here. And if you’re looking to get involved with startups in Portland, it’s a great resource to get oriented. You’ll also find other resources for startup folks linked here, including the PDX Startup Slack channel and Silicon Florist’s Startup Switchboard.

PortlandTech.org

A project developed by WorkSource Oregon, PortlandTech.org started as a resource to publicize the many work opportunities in Portland’s tech industry. The site now offers a number of valuable resources for networking in tech, such as an incredibly detailed and specific list of jobs filtered by skill set, language, and preferred system, as well as positions from intern to management level. In addition, they maintain a calendar for community tech events, including trainings available in the area, prep help for coding interviews, and more.  

Portland Tech Meetups

The international networking hub Meetup operates on the philosophy that “Getting together with real people in real life makes powerful things happen.” Find other real people in the Portland tech community on Portland Tech Meetups. If you’re an avid bitcoin enthusiast, a web designer hoping to break into the industry, or anywhere in between, you’ll probably find a group perfect for you. It’s as easy as signing up.

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Silicon Florist

If you’re looking for an expert voice from deep within Portland’s tech industry, look no further than the Silicon Florist. For over a decade, founder, national speaker, and author Rick Turoczy has covered tech news in Portland’s startup and broader tech community through the Silicon Florist website, email newsletter, and social media channels. He offers insider perspectives on local tech industry news. If you sign up for a weekly newsletter, you’ll learn about what’s happening in tech nationally and locally and hear about the best networking events to attend. 

Technology Association of Oregon

The Technology Association of Oregon is a recognized leader in promoting and supporting the tech industry in Oregon. TAO supports entrepreneurs, creates connections within the tech community, and promotes the sharing of knowledge and expertise. There are several ways to get involved, from becoming a member, to attending some of their many great events

Women Who Code

Women Who Code is an international nonprofit organization that “envisions a world where women are proportionally represented as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members, and software engineers.” With a membership of more than 167,000 tech professionals, Women Who Code offers skills training, fosters community, and develops role models to inspire women to pursue their tech careers. Join the Portland chapter to get access to coding resources, leadership opportunities, and scholarships.

Women’s Events

Center for Women’s Leadership

The Center for Women’s Leadership (CWL) is the only organization of its kind in the Northwest. With a mission to increase women and girls’ leadership, CWL hosts leadership trainings, supports research on women’s leadership, develops and shares curricula on the achievements of Oregon women leaders, and supports Oregon’s women leaders through a speakers series and informational digital archive. Get involved with CWL by attending their regular speaker series and annual Power Lunch. If you’re a current college student, you can enroll in their NEW Leadership Oregon programs, too.

Hub Dot

At the core of Hub Dot is the mission to revolutionize the way women network. It’s about removing labels. Through “Dot Alchemy,” Hub Dot lightens the pressure or awkwardness of networking, giving women the opportunity to connect based on discussing “What’s your story?” rather than “What do you do?” This group of women loves to support each other through sharing personal stories and connecting in an authentic and fun environment. Portland is lucky enough to be one of the handful of cities where Hub Dot takes place. Join their mailing list to hear about upcoming events, and join their online community to keep your inspiration flowing.

Women’s Foundation of Oregon

With values of being bold, compassionate, inclusive, determined, optimistic, and accountable, the Women’s Foundation is striving to make Oregon a place where every woman and girl can thrive. The organization dismantles sexism, racism, and structural oppression through the movement of resources and ideas toward gender justice. Read their research report, Count Her In, which lists insightful stats about Oregon’s female workforce. You can also become a foundation member and attend their local events.

Here are even more resources to check out:

  • Boss Ladies PDX is a Facebook group where female entrepreneurs ask questions and share advice and opportunities with each other.
  • See Chick Tech and Women Who Code above.

Young Professional Events

Emerging Professionals of Portland

Organized by the Portland Metro Chamber, the local chamber of commerce, EPOP offers programming focused on educational and professional development, civic engagement, and networking opportunities.

Urban League of Portland Young Professionals

The Urban League of Portland hosts monthly professional and personal development programming for young professionals aged 21-40 to connect them to the League’s work in advocacy, civic engagement, and workforce development.

  • See AMA-PDX, Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Partners in Diversity, SEMpdx, and YNPN Portland above.