As you know, BlogHer 15 was my first BlogHer Conference. You can read about my reasons for attending BlogHer15 here. The theme of the conference was “Experts Among Us.” I read several blog posts to prepare myself for the hustle and bustle. However, just three hours into the conference on Thursday evening, I was on sensory overload. And the conference “officially” started on Friday morning. If you follow me or the My Faith and Fitness Blog on Twitter, you saw many of the pictures that I took during the conference. I was in BlogHer15 land from 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 until 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 18. Here are my highlights from those 52 hours:
After a trying commute into the city, I checked into my room and went to the Black Lives Matter session. My excitement for the conference had been tempered by the news of the death of Sanda Bland, while in police custody in Texas. This particular death was personal for me because Sandra Bland was my soror. I appreciated the panel acknowledging her death at the beginning of the session. I did not want the conversation to give the impression that state sanctioned violence against unarmed Black people is not an ongoing issue. The discussion was therapeutic. I needed it.
Sensory overload started during the Evening at the Expo. Between the exhibits, giveaways, food and scores of people, I needed rest by 8:30 p.m. After I fixed a plate of food, I sat at a table with another Black woman, L.A. Drye, who writes the Wash and Drye Blog. As we made small talk, L.A mentioned Sandra Bland’s death and the fact that Sandra Bland was her soror. The first person that I met at BlogHer15 was a soror! How great was that. We bonded over the vibrant life of our fallen soror. That, too, was therapeutic.
BlogHer is famous for its parties. I attended the MultiCulti Party that was sponsored by several bloggers, one of whom was Ananda Leeke of the Digital Sisterhood Network. I was excited to attend that particular party because I wanted to meet Ananda in person. I have been following Ananda for several years and she’s my soror. We also bonded and grieved. More therapy for me.
Friday was full of sessions to help me increase my technical knowledge and skills. The speakers for the sessions were well-versed in their areas of expertise. I have a lot of plans to implement some of the techniques that I learned. I learned about some great photo editing apps from Beatrice Clay during her session. I like to get app recommendations from experts. There’s an app for everything, but all apps are not created equal. I can’t tell the good ones from the bad ones just by searching in the app store. I don’t have time or energy for trial and error.
Trish Sammer of Write Works lead a session on setting rates for writing gigs. Many bloggers have ads on their blogs to earn money. I enjoy writing reviews of health and fitness products so that my readers can make informed decisions prior to making purchases, but I do not plan to include ads. I plan to use the writing on the My Faith and Fitness Blog and the For Your Deliberation Blog as a springboard for obtaining speaking, teaching and writing opportunities. Attending Trish’s session was an important step in helping me reach that goal.
The Pitch was sooooo inspiring. Here’s the background info on The Pitch:
The Pitch is an original video series that offers women entrepreneurs a comprehensive, cross-platform program to help them share their message with the full audience of the SheKnows Media family of properties, including our aggregated 80 million web visitors and even greater number of social followers.
SheKnows Media created The Pitch to help close the gap between the number of businesses owned by women versus men and accelerate the growth of women-owned enterprises across the country, which are already increasing at a rate of 1.5 times the national average.
We’re giving six inspiring entrepreneurs the main stage and letting them pitch live to a panel of equally inspiring women business leaders, who will give them live feedback. Then you, the attendees, vote for your favorite.
- Luvvie Ajayi, Founder and Executive Director, The Red Pump Project
- Majora Carter, CEO, StartUp Box (THE WINNER!!!)
- Courtney Macavinta, CEO, The Respect Institute
- Meghan Martinez, Founder, Keasy Lock
- Christine Souffrant, CEO and Founder, Vendedy
- Tanya Van Court, CEO and Chief Sower, Sow
I ran into Majora Carter in the hallway Saturday afternoon and had a fantastic, inspiring discussion with her. It was therapeutic.
The Closing Keynote with Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) was THE NUMBER ONE highlight of BlogHer15. I was so excited to hear the conversation that I arrived 45 minutes early and I sat front and center. Although she did not take pictures or give autographs, I was just glad to be in her presence and hear her thoughts about her career and current events.
Finally, McDonald’s gave an awesome party at Pier 84 where Boyz II Men performed four songs. I felt like I was back in college. I even caught two roses! Good stuff. After Boyz II Men performed, I sat on a blanket on the grass, ate some food, talked to some new friends and made my way back to the hotel. I was thoroughly exhausted, but it was good exhaustion.
Did you attend BlogHer ’15 in NYC? How did you become an expert? Please share. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post, on the Facebook fan page, Tweet me or use the form on the Contact page. Be blessed. Stay encouraged.