“They are very informative, and I also enjoyed the Halloween party and New Year’s Eve gala,” Saiki said. “If you’re looking to get to know people, the group is a good place to mingle and meet.”
Created in 1999, Professionals in the City has expanded its network into Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston, but the bulk of its activity is in D.C.
“We get a cross section of the D.C. professional community,” Karlan said. “We [also] get a lot of Hill staffers.”
Anthony Ward, 36, is a senior webmaster for the Department of Defense, and has regularly attended speed-dating events for four years.
“I have gained a lot of contacts by just meeting people, whether it has been personal, friendship or business,” Ward said. “It is a good networking tool, but you can also meet some nice people that you want to interact with personally.”
In addition to Karlan’s typical singles events, he offers group-focused speed dating for singles by age, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, profession and education level.
The organization also pulls the political heartstrings of the District’s partisan populace.
“We offered speed dating for Democrats and speed dating for Republicans,” Karlan said. “We even offered speed dating with the DC Rollergirls,” an all-female roller derby league.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.