Wouldn't it be great to meet a whole bunch of new business contacts and learn from some of the top entrepreneurs in Charleston all in one evening?

Well, tonight is your lucky night, because it's the Center for Women's 11th annual Networking Event.

The night kicks off with a panel discussion with Intertech Group CEO Anita Zucker, Skirt! publisher Nikki Hardin, Charleston Cookie Co. CEO Judith Moore, and Center for Women Executive Director Jennet Robinson Alterman. They're four of the women profiled in Dorothy Perrin Moore's recently published book “Womenpreneurs — 21st Century Success Strategies.”

Moore, professor emeritus of The Citadel School of Business, has been building toward this book for the past 12 years, drawing on previous interviews with nearly 400 women.

The panel discussion will include what the women have found to be their greatest challenges as leaders, and whether they might give different advice to the people in the audience. They'll also address their social consciousness.

“Successful women have all pursued a challenge of making a difference ... whether it's Anita who uses her products to make a difference in the world, or whether it's Jennet, who develops strategies to make it easier for women to work with each other,” Moore said.

On your mark, get set

It's called the Networking Event, with three rounds of speed networking. You're guaranteed to meet 30 people.

“That is a primary value, that you get to expand that network beyond your contacts and your center of influence,” said Virginia Mandell of Regions Bank. She has just completed her term as president of Women at Work, a local networking group for businesswomen .

The advantage of the speed networking session is being able to share your story, Mandell said, “what makes you unique and what value you can add to other women's businesses.” She's made professional and personal contacts, ranging from CPAs and attorneys to wedding photographers. Of course, it's not how many business cards you get, it's what you do with them.

“Reaching out and having coffee or a phone call to follow up is really important. That's something we stress at Women at Work as well, taking that connection beyond what you've made at the meeting.”

You can still register tonight for $25 at The Citadel Holliday Alumni House, 69 Hagood Ave. Go to c4women.org for more details. And yes, even though the event is sponsored by the Center for Women, men are encouraged to attend.

Shameless plug

This week, I'll be leaving my position as Digital Editor to be a full-time columnist and outreach editor at The Post and Courier.

I've been given a great opportunity to spend more time writing columns, which also means I get to spend more time talking to people about issues that matter to them. I want to know what's important to you, so I hope you won't be shy about letting me know.

I'll be at tonight's event, and hope to see you there.

Reach Melanie Balog at mbalog@postandcourier.com or at postandcourier.com/ the-balog-blog.