This past weekend I went to Los Angeles to attend the Create & Cultivate Conference, a semi-annual blogger conference that is held in different cities around the country. It was a jam-packed day with lots of panels and conversations with female (and some male) CEOs and entrepreneurs.
I was in the first track, so the panels I went to were:
–The Balancing Act of Mother and Mogul: best nugget of advice was that no woman can have a full-time career and be a full-time mom…you either have help (significant other, nanny, etc.) or you prioritize which role is more important at certain times. Joy Cho of Oh Joy! talked about how she reserves Wednesdays for her daughter’s gymnastics, and that she’ll turn down calls and appointments, even if Wednesday is their only availability.
–Capitalizing on the Business of Bridal: this panel didn’t have as much cohesiveness as the first panel…instead the speakers mainly talked about their own businesses (cake, wedding magazine, flowers, etc.)…but it was still fun to hear how companies like Zola and 100 Layer Cake got started and manage to stay relevant.
–Startup 101: I really enjoyed this panel because it featured a variety of companies, from SoulCycle to Iconery to Alfred Coffee. The advice given in this panel was much more vague than the first (I know, I keep comparing them to my first panel, but it was that good), but still fun to hear about different collaborations and business strategies.
–Design and Digital: This panel had a lot of original bloggers (as in they started pre-2007), so many of them have evolved as social media has become more relevant. I had a hard time connecting to this panel because I’m not that into interior design (mainly because it’s super expensive and when I buy pieces of furniture, they’re for 50 years and not 5 months). Maybe that’s being too crass? It was still a good panel though and the moderator was hilarious in his powder pink suit!
In addition to the panels, there were also smaller group conversations, so I had the chance to speak with Mara Ferreira of M Loves M and Natasha Case of Coolhaus.
The keynotes were Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe, and Chelsea Handler-all of which were inspiring, but kind of high-level for everyone in the audience who doesn’t quite have a billion dollar company. It was definitely aspirational though and they all had lots of good advice!
One of my favorite moments from the conference was a surprise book signing with Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power. They did an advanced release of their book The Career Code, which I was already planning on going to one of their book tour dates. They were super personable and Hillary and I had a really fun chat about being from the same hometown!
As far as drawbacks to the conference, I’d have to say first and foremost were bathrooms. There were only seven usable spaces for what was probably more than 1,000 people (not that we all had to pee at the same time). But with short breaks between panels, it was near impossible to pee without missing a good chunk of a session. I have no idea why this wasn’t better accommodated-OH, and four of those seven stalls were four flights down some very steep stairs…so it was rather treacherous to watch those in stilettos negotiate the trek.
Another kind of eh moment was the food, which was super minimal for breakfast, and then we only had blah salads for lunch. I’m all for salads and healthy offerings, but for the $500 ticket, a little protein, or at least something other than dry leafy greens and a brown vinegar sauce would have been nice.
So in order to just function throughout the conference, much of my fuel was courtesy of cupcakes…not that I’m complaining!
Anywhoo, the conference overall was quite fun, super exhausting because it was go, go, go…but I think I’d definitely go again. I met a lot of cool people, had the opportunity to speak with some motivated business owners, and the best takeaway is that it got me motivated to do more with this blog.
Yeah, the diary aspect is good to have to share my quips with, but I know if I could get my words out to more people, there could be this awesome space to have discussions about chronic illness, academic overloading, and just fun experiences in life. I know these all don’t relate, but neither does being sick and wanting to live life as if you aren’t!
Enjoy the photos and video!