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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
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Mompreneur Knows Value of a Network

As owner of staffing agency Criterion Resources Corp. in Northridge, Michelle Arevalo knows building relationships is key to making sales. But trying to attend business networking events to form those connections as a mother of two young boys, Arevalo found most events out of reach. That’s why she started Playdate Connection about a year ago, as a “chamber of commerce for mompreneurs,” she says, to host business networking and educational events for business moms and their kids. “I’ve been in sales for 21 years, and what I found out through sales, it is planting seeds,” Arevalo said. “Sales don’t necessarily, realistically happen right away – you have to develop that relationship, grow it and strengthen that bond in business. If women are taking care of kids at home, they can’t go to chamber of commerce events.” Playdate Connection’s monthly membership costs $16 to $25 and members can attend all or none of the six to eight activities at places that provide supervised child activities. Venues include Tinkergarten Inc.’s outdoor classes in Woodland Hills, Maddie’s Playhouse in Northridge and even Whole Foods Market in Tarzana. Seminars on financial topics like planning for college tuition are often given by Playdate members with expertise, and in this way Arevalo highlights the members’ business to others while also educating them. There are lighter events, too – healthy cooking lessons, for example, hosted by health coaches who happen to be Playdate members. Events are sprinkled throughout the San Fernando Valley, Tri-Cities and West Los Angeles. Membership also includes perks. Arevalo negotiates discounts, she said, with providers of business services and promotes members’ businesses on social media. Most of Playdates’s 50 or so members are in sales or own their own business, but to get clients they need to attend at least two monthly events, Arevalo said. Janet Li-Tall is a vice president in training at Opes Financial Solutions’ Valencia office. She attends two to three events monthly with her 4- and 5-year-old children. The result is she has gained seven or eight new clients over the year. “I’m happy with that,” she said. “It (membership) pays for itself over and over again from the clients I’ve gotten. We can connect better and build rapport.” – Carol Lawrence

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