“As an organization, The Connect provides its members and visiting guests alike the opportunity to network both professionally and socially in a low-pressure setting that fosters community and reminds attendees that there are people in Delaware looking to get together…”
Are you truly a Delawarean—native or resident? Here’s the ultimate test: How often do you comment on how little there is to do in Delaware? If the response in your head made you laugh out loud at how relatable it is to vent about the few social and networking options that Delaware offers, you are truly a Delawarean! One common thread that often connects Delaware residents to one another is the understanding that it’s just a little hard to find things that bring us together outside of food and drink. But there is a budding organization looking to remedy that situation, and that organization is—you guessed it! The Connect!
I was lucky enough to sit down with a few of The Connect’s members and event attendees to get their perspective on how it feels to be a Delawarean, at least as far as networking is concerned. One interviewee and Delaware native, Nicole Mooze mentioned that she came back to Delaware after leaving to jumpstart her career as an attorney. Nicole commented that she felt like there was a “missing link for young professionals, especially young professionals of color”. Another interviewee, Jason “Cam” Cameron mentioned that the lack of on-going professional networking events even makes it hard for him to recruit new applicants into his line of work. Even more frustrating, Cam mentioned that it’s even harder to get new recruits to stay with the very few networking opportunities available. I even joked a little with Aj Sababu and Sydney Garlick, both Delaware natives who’d also left the state, about how “dry” Delaware can get sometimes.
It can be disheartening. On one hand, it’s impossible to downplay one’s pride for the “302”. Whenever I drive around in a new state, I comment on how grateful I am to Delaware for providing free driver’s ed, because the people who have to pay for it (which seems to happen more often than not) don’t seem to soak in the lesson or have enough practice to actually be a good driver. When I shop in a new state, I get aggravated that the price on the price tag isn’t the final price, which is a blessing bestowed by Delaware’s lack of sales tax. I even commented with Nicole and Aj that Delaware is a state with the most opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. We talked about Delaware’s Court of Chancery, which makes Delaware the premiere state for corporations and businesses and arguably the best place to start a new business as many young entrepreneurs are hoping to do. Cam and Aj even commented that one major draw to Delaware is that it’s so centrally located to some of the best cities in the United States—New York, Philly and D.C. And yet on the other hand, Delaware just feels—for a lack of better terms—so boring, right?
Here’s where The Connect comes in! As an organization, The Connect provides its members and visiting guests alike the opportunity to network both professionally and socially in a low-pressure setting that fosters community and reminds attendees that there are people in Delaware looking to get together, and these people finally have the space to do it! I talked with Nicole, Aj, and Sydney about being so excited about what The Connect offers, especially as Delaware natives who had never before seen such an opportunity so widely available before. Cam agreed, commenting that he was so excited with what The Connect was offering that he’d even want to partner with The Connect to recruit individuals for job opportunities within the education sector.
One universal theme in each interview was how exciting The Connect is, and how excited attendees are to see the organization grow and expand. As Delawareans, we all know that our home can feel far less than fun. But fret not! Delaware now has a premiere space for young professionals looking to network through happy hour events (that feel closer to true Happy Hours than to extended hours at the office doing extra work to get ahead). Yes, Delaware can be boring sometimes. But with an organization like The Connect coming to the forefront, what’s really stopping us from enjoying our home state to the fullest? And with Premium membership costing as little as $40 per year (seriously, what professional organization offers this much content for a yearly fee of only $40?), what’s getting in the way of connecting with young professionals in Delaware, and getting the most out of the Diamond State?
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More about the Author
Vanessa Hatton is currently a graduate student studying Psychology at Rutgers University. Vanessa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.