Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending the ShesConnected Conference held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. ShesConnected was a 2 day conference bringing together 200 influential digital woman and brands. The conference was invite-only. The only conference of its kind. When I received my invite from Donna Marie Antoniadis in August, I was shocked. I would have never thought that when I submitted my application to attend that I would have been selected.
The days leading up to the conference I was feeling quite uneasy. I had thought about backing out. I never had attended a conference before. I felt like I wouldn’t belong. I was quite vocal about how nervous I was on my Twitter feeds. Quite a few fellow attendees tried to reassure me and relate… They too were nervous… or… They had attended previous conferences and understood. It was a normal to be feeling the way I was.
I connected with Katherine (LittleMsSave) prior to the conference. We made plans to meet up at Union Station and walk over to the conference together. What a trip that was. We decided to take the PATH to avoid ruining our hair in the rain. We wound up doing circles in the PATH. It’s an underground walkway that you can very easily get lost in. A security guard eventually came to our rescue and pointed us in the right direction.
Upon arrival at the Sheraton Centre, Katherine and I registered and picked up our awesome ShesConnected Conference tee and badge. We checked our luggage into the baggage room, and headed out to lunch with Katrina (FickleFeline). Following lunch we headed into the Osgoode Hall and started making our rounds connecting and interacting with other digital women and brands. ConAgra Foods has set up a little red carpet fun for everyone.
The first day of the conference was kicked off by Sheryl Connelly from Ford Motor Company. Ford Canada was a title sponsor of the conference. They did a fabulous job. Their staff was full of energy, friendly and knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed testing out the karaoke system in one of the cars, and having the Ford employees dancing and singing along with us. It really helped me find my comfort zone.
We wrapped up the first day of the conference with a networking cocktail hour hosted by Molson Canadian 67. I really enjoyed the Sour 67 that the bartenders were mixing up! Followed by a party at Town Shoes.
Day 2 of the conference was the day I was looking forward to most. The scheduled panels included:
- What brands want from bloggers and digital women.
- Product Reviews vs. Blog Tours/Panels vs. Brand Ambassador Programs vs. Community Management Programs
- Social Good Panel
- Social Media Rock Stars: Veteran, New and Rising Stars
- What is a Blogger worth?
- Rate Cards, Guidelines, & Disclosure
- The 10 Rules of the Road
- “Brands and Bloggers need to start dating again”
- Balance posts about brands within context of your life
- Ask… Ask when you need something. Ask when you need help. You don’t know what will happen if you don’t ask.
- Ranking is one-dimensional. Blog traffic tells you nothing about a bloggers authenticity.
- Not all of us have to “change the world”… But we all have the power to.
- We often think, “People dont want to hear how Im feeling.” but people online want to, and do, every day.
- As bloggers, we are leaving a legacy to our children. We are sharing our story, and our history.
- Once upon a time, media sources were limited. Today we create our own media.
- Consumer is Queen
- Key drivers for info addiction: knowledge as status, influentials, greater scrutiny, time poverty & just in time lifestyle.
- Time Poverty- we have no forced downtime anymore
- Consumers are more savvy, sophisticated & also more demanding.
- Good neighbours make good neighbourhoods
- What’s a blogger worth? You’re worth more than you think. Even if you have a small niche audience, don’t be intimidated by the numbers.
- Be authentic. Be relevant. Be you.
- Your haters are your most loyal fans, who will spread your word and amplify you. Think about it!
- We’re a sisterhood & we should be supporting each other.
- If you’re not a hero in your home, you’re not a hero!
- Like any other facet of your life, consider how you would want to be treated and act accordingly.
- Be authentic, work hard & ask for what u want. Be realistic w/your expectations but don’t undervalue yourself!
- BootyCamp Fitness,
- Molson Canadian 67,
- Ford Motor Company,
- Adult Essentials,
- Chicken Farmers of Canada,
- Royal Canadian Mint,
- and many more.
Now that I have had a few days to sit back, relax and reflect I’m left wondering why I was initially so nervous about this conference. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. It felt like I was reuniting with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I’m already looking forward to the next Shes Connected Conference.