Margaret C. TheringWe hope you enjoyed our interview with Betty Francisco, Executive Vice President of Millennium Partners Sports Club Management.  In the interview, Francisco wisely advocates that women should make time for working out.  She also advocates having an extensive professional and personal network.  She is definitely right on both counts.  Admittedly, many executive and working women have difficulty balancing work, professional networking, an active social life, and fitness.  As a busy attorney at Epstein, Becker, & Green, P.C., fitness and health, which are so integral to a happy existence at both home and work can often times get placed on the bottom of the “to do” list.  I have found that by cultivating  certain aspects of my life (e.g., professional networking and fitness or personal socializing and fitness), it is easier to maintain this juggle.

Figure skating is one of my personal passions and interests. To fill these personal goals, when I moved to New York last year, I joined an adult synchronized figure skating team.  I did not join the team thinking about networking opportunities, but I am amazed by the accomplished, professional women on this team.  There are many lawyers, a doctor, a scientist, an actuary, an engineer, an architect, a broadcast journalist, a fashion production company owner, and a jewelry designer, among others.  I have also made new friends and contacts by playing dodgeball with ZogSports, a league that is essentially intramurals for adults (and that attracts a lot of young professionals), as well as through bowling with Better Off Bowling, a social bowling league that advertises itself as a league for young professionals.  There are endless opportunities to meet other professionals through athletic events and team sports.  I have friends who participate in the NYC Social Sports Club and New York Road Runners, among others.  We might consider joining such teams for social, athletic, and professional benefits.

Additionally, we might consider turning one-on-one networking opportunities into fitness opportunities.  Instead of meeting for drinks as your next networking event, why not meet for a spin or yoga class or a run in the park?  Not only will you streamline your to-do list, but you will likely make your networking event more memorable.  I cannot remember with specificity all of the networking happy hours I have attended, but I do remember the active networking events I have attended: a sword fighting class with a networking group; a boot camp class with a women’s networking group; a spin class with a mentor of mine; and a hike with former co-workers.  These events were really fun and provided better bonding experiences than simple happy hours.

My firm’s Women’s Initiative also provides great opportunities for professional women to network.  In a recent event, a group of EBG women attorneys “powered walked” and invited clients and guests to do the same in order to raise money and awareness for the non-profit organization, Dress For Success, which benefits  young women aspiring to attain professional career goals.

Readers – Do you have any favorite fitness classes or activities that might make for successful professional networking opportunities?  How do you balance working, fitness, professional networking, and your social life?