Wow! Wow! Wow! What a jam packed 3 day conference!
I came with zero expectations and downright discouraged as to why I was even attending BlogHer yet left with several amazing new friendships, a ton of encouragement to pursue my brand and vision and new knowledge and tools to get it done.
First and foremost, I want to thank the organization I work for sowing a donation seed for me to go to this conference. We have this empowering group of women within our organization that make up the Women in Leadership internal social group.Back in February of 2017, we had a Personal Branding workshop that was led by Skyler McCurine of Le Red Balloon that challenged us to truly think about our personal brand and how to pursue our dreams further.Our Chief People Officer felt compelled to provide a $500 raffle incentive to one lucky winner to help us pursue our dream outside of our company. I can write for days on our company culture that our CPO and CEO have created at our company and how they invest not only in our lives within the company but also outside of the company. However, I’m going to wheel myself back in to the point. The point is that the day before the winner of that raffle was announced, I literally had the thought “You’re not going to win. The world doesn’t need yet another blogger. You’ll just be one of many.” I had a serious case of imposture syndrome (thinking you’re not good enough). Take a wild guess who won? My best friend won! Just kidding! It was me!
Fast forward to Day 1 of BlogHer 17. I was in line for registration and the 1st person I meet, TheMrsTee, became my weekend BFF and quite possibly for real beyond the weekend. She introduced herself and we quickly realized our personal brand interests and visions were so similar it was almost like looking into a mirror. She’s a more established vlogger/blogger vs me, the newbie, but I was most impressed by how she just took me in & showed me the ropes. This connection would encourage me throughout the weekend when speaking with other attendees and sponsor attendees.
The breakout sessions and keynote speeches were filled with expertise, encouragements and practical tools for anyone pursuing to further their brand. I mean really, if anyone didn’t learn anything this entire weekend it was because they didn’t want to. The panelists varied from bloggers, to celebrity athletes like Serena Williams, Gabrielle Reece and Laurie Hernandez, to news anchors such as Joy Reid and even to social activists like Chelsea Clinton. Regardless of your viewpoints or social standings, each and every speaker offered nuggets of wisdom that I could take away and apply into my everyday – blogging or not.
We were inundated with SWAG from the sponsors that came to the event. The Expo Hall contained a variety of conference sponsors ready to network with us bloggers and give us products as an added bonus. If you really think about it, marketing strategies have drastically changed in recent years and bloggers are a perfect group of people to include story telling into the public perception of a product or service. I loved being able to directly interact with different brands and simply ask what is it that you’re looking for in a blogger and how can I help in this area? Some wise advice I received from another attendee was to stay true to your own vision and if a brand doesn’t encompass similar beliefs like those of your personal brand, it’s okay to not pursue that relationship. However, still engage for the experience.
What most touched my soul about this experience was the affirmation and confirmation I received through each personalized conversation of how distinct my niche is. BlogHer is the largest blogging community for women to date. Everyone I met had their own personal touch to their niche and I quickly realized in the very 1st breakout session, that I did too. I too fit into this world of blogging that has many voices and many personalities. Often times, we can become discouraged listening to the wrong angel on our shoulder but the most valuable nugget I received this weekend is that there is a piece of the pie for me too — if I want it enough to pursue it. The same holds true for you, in whatever you’re considering pursuing. Kick that hesitation and doubt aside and take one step at a time.
I remember the very first Mindful Matter keynote speech encouraging us to think about one thing in particular we wanted to accomplish during our time together. For me it was relationships. I walked away with relationships that I believe will withstand the test of time and propel me into my purpose as I look on and learn from these amazing ladies.
Thank you BlogHer and Ultimate Software for this amazing opportunity!
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