PUBLISHED: 5:17 PM on Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Making the connection
Monthly event looks to help Juneau professionals mix social circles
You've started a business, looking for a job or just moved to town.

Now it is time to set out to meet people who can help you achieve your goals or who you can make friends with to build up a social group.

It can be intimidating and challenging to find an avenue to meet people. That's where the Knowledge Industry Network is aiming to help.

The KIN of Juneau Economic Development Council started Pub Nights, which are held the third Thursday of each month as a network opportunity for Juneau residents in their 20s and 30s.

Megan Gleason of the JEDC said she presented the idea after having a difficult time finding work and meeting people. Gleason grew up in Juneau and went to the Lower 48 after high school.

She said when she returned to Juneau she thought about staying in town, but was faced with challenges of breaking into the work force.

"I found it very hard to immerse myself back into things professionally and socially," Gleason said.

After getting a job with JEDC, Gleason began talking to other young people in Juneau about their concerns. She said the majority of people she spoke with also had difficulty networking and meeting people.

"There are a lot of groups of people in Juneau who kind of stick together, and that makes it difficult to reach out and make friends and meet people to do business with," Gleason said.

"There are a lot of circles that aren't overlapping."

Jess Parks, KIN project manager, said the kick-off was held in July with the first Pub Night being held in August.

She said about 60 people attended the August event at Island Pub in Douglas.

She said the theme was Networking 101 to give people tips about how to start conversations with people and network.

"People just went right into the networking," Parks said.

"People are excited that there are other options to meet people besides the bar scene and the church scene. It's nice to have another outlet that is specifically geared toward 20 and 30 somethings."

Jeremy Hansen, CEO of the Juneau information technology company Hansen Gress, has worked with the KIN to develop a Web site and also has attended Pub Night.

"The people at KIN are great people to work with. Every time we see them they come packed with enthusiasm. They always bring an energy and a new approach to things that have been done before in a traditional way," said Hansen, a 23-year-old Juneau High School graduate.

"They're inspired to do something to greatly enhance the quality of the entrepreneur experience in Alaska. That's very inline with my business goals of helping businesses achieve goals."

Hansen said Pub Night allows him an opportunity to make contacts in the community. "It really fosters an environment for quality social networking," Hansen said.

"I meet people that I've met before again. When you attend lots of social events the goal is to communicate, and it builds the quality of the relationship."

The next Pub Night will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at Island Pub. Free appetizers will be served and there will be a no-host bar. For information about KIN or JEDC, call Parks at 463-3662.

Gleason said the event appeals to a broad base of people, and she hopes to see people take advantage of the opportunity.

"There's a new force of 20-30 somethings who are out and about," Gleason said.

"We need to make people aware that this is an open community with young people who are bright and capable and interested in living in and staying in Juneau, Alaska."