Back in May of 2009 I was the Director of Front Office Operations for the New York Hilton Midtown and we hosted a large conference by the name of BlogHer. We over-prepared because as a hotel that our reputation, particularly online, can make or break us, we wanted to be sure with a hotel full of online personalities we had all of our ducks in a row. I was active in social media but not very much, I started a Twitter account specifically for this conference as a hotel representative to be able to have constant communication and to monitor online chatter. I was truly amazed at this community of women (I don’t remember men, sorry if there were some), their interactions, fun, and desire to connect and learn. I was communicating so much with the conference attendees the hotel even ran a “where’s Julie” contest with photos similar to “where’s waldo”, it was just fun.
Years passed, I moved to other hotels, was promoted, and became involved in college recruitment programs, mentoring programs, and the like. In sharing all of this information in my head, some important, some not so much, many people mentioned I should start a blog. I toyed with the idea for quite some time and finally took the steps and wrote by first post in September of 2016, 42. BlogHer has always been on my mind, so I started following on social media and worked to grow my network. I have a super supportive other half who said “just do it, take the plunge, go to BlogHer”. Admittedly, I was intimidated with my past experience thinking I am not nearly at the level of the ladies I encountered. I joined a few groups and forums and started to realize how amazing and supportive this group of ladies it, no matter what level you are at.
The excitement built over the months until I was entirely overwhelmed the week of the conference. Work and personal commitments kept me going and too busy to think about it and I think this was a blessing in disguise. I say that because I was so nervous and overwhelmed with the groups, chatter, open calls, sessions, and everything that is BlogHer, I wasn’t entirely sure what awaited me.
Now, I write this as I am on the plane heading home from the conference and I am working to decompress. I am super thankful to the wonderful community that BlogHer is and that I was welcomed so openly. I had so much fun in the sessions, events, and laughed so hard I almost wet myself in the movie premier for Universal’s Girls Trip. I wish I had my Poise samples with me! Connecting with so many and understanding I am not alone in the blogging world, the world of being a woman, and overall just wow. Hearing the stories of those on panels and keynote speakers inspired me so much and made me realize that although they have achieved so much success, they are just so real. I have luckily on my connecting flights waiting in airports to board and connect as well as on the plane taken the time to just read my notes. Truly, I have a plan of action now for the next four months! Yes, I am an over-achiever, a planner, I am being self-aware and owning my brand (see how I am using my session learnings already?), I told myself I would set out a plan and I have. While I am eager to get going on all of my new knowledge, I have a new goal. My goal is to have my strategies all in place from the conference by my one year blogiversary, September 22nd. Thankfully, before the conference I worked ahead and after this post, I am taking two weeks to really absorb all that took place and will not write new posts (you will see them because they are scheduled). I will however, on my upcoming international trip, take the time to read and read again all that I jotted down and brainstorm. I will take the plan I set forth on the plane today to carry out over the coming months and turn it into actions to support the strategies to achieve my goals.
This conference location was an added benefit because it was held only 30 minutes away from my parents and I was able to stay with them and visit which I do not get to do as often as I would like. In the future though, I would be sure to stay at the host hotel (and book it early) to enjoy the added benefits and lack of commute. I have also learned to set alarms for times to sign up for the open calls, wow- that went fast! I am happy I took the advice from some to bring cards with all my info to connect as it is just too tough and time-consuming to try to connect on the spot. I spent time in the evenings catching up and connecting, the personal connections are priceless, I can see how true friendships have been born out of this conference.
I feel like I just have so much in my head and I am sprinting circles in my mind, this post easily could turn into a short story or possibly a novel. I will spare you this and will promise that more insight from the conference will follow in my posts as I took so much away from the entire three days. I left this conference feeling rich and full of knowledge and power. I look forward to continuing to grow these connections and attending future BlogHer conferences. Can only wait to see what the future hold for just julie’s take.
Whew…… take a breath, Julie, breathe, mindful moments.