SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Efforts to network during the coronavirus pandemic has led to creative ways for businesses to connect with their neighbors digitally.
The Ocean Beach Networking Group is used to meeting weekly in person, but has now moved online to continue to support each other.
For the past six years the group would meet every Tuesday at Te Mana Café on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach. However, with the coronavirus social distancing orders, the café had to close. The founder Chuck Hardwick wanted to maintain those connections so he moved the meetup to Zoom.
“I like to see my friends and family. This a is a great way to continue to groove on. It's a tough time for me,” said Hardwick, Owner of Dancing Panda Marketing.
On Tuesday’s Zoom, there were 22 people who connected. A chiropractor, realtors, a T-shirt company manager, a pastor, a fitness coach, web designers, and marketers.
“This has been a phenomenal time for networking,” said Cynthia Kosciuczyk, owner of Designertastes.
This week’s ice breaker question was for each attendee to say something positive that has happened to them after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Through my networking group, having Chuck help me rebuild my website,” said Nate Church, owner of On Track Wellness Martial Arts and Fitness.
Many also shared how they’ve made deeper connections with friends and families and customers online.
“I really connect more with friends at a deeper level and be more vulnerable,” said Ellen Birrell, HEAL Consulting founder.
Finding that connection with this week’s featured speaker included Roger Wyer, an intuitive coach.
“I think the universe has been guiding me to prepare for this moment my entire life,” said Wyer.
He asked the group to fill in the blank, “What I need today is (blank) to move my life and business forward.”
The responses were honest and heartfelt, and no objects like money were mentioned.
Words such as “cheerleader," "emotional support," "what I do makes a difference," "faith," "direction and hugs” were mentioned in the chat.
“I would like to challenge everyone to think how you can channel those soft skills outward, from this digital space,” Lenora Lostaunau, principal for Creative Cultivations Marketing Consultant.
The group found that networking their inner self can build a foundation to succeed.
"Everyone knows that's inside them and evaluating themselves every single day and realizing what's important and having the strength to go out there and do it,” said Lucas Marty, Champion T-Shirts manager.
The Ocean Beach Networking Group meets each Tuesday at noon. To learn more about the group click here.
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