The Type-A Mom Conference: A Rookie's Perspective

I heard about this Type-A Mom Conference months and months and months ago and, at the time, I totally disregarded it, thinking it was not my bag. There were a couple of things wrongs with it:
  

1.     It had the word 'Mom' in the name.
        I reject being labeled "mommy blogger" (because I'm all rebel-y like that).
        Yes, I'm a mom. And I blog. But motherhood certainly does not define my writing nor         does it define who I am.
2.    It seemed way too small and entirely too organic for my "bigger is better" rookie                 mentality.

 

Boy was I ever wrong.

Thank goodness for my ulterior motive which forced me to change my mind and pack my bags for my very first blogging conference.
 

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The last time I went to a conference was when I was in high school. (Yes, seriously). 
I went to the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Youth Conference held at the Sandestin Beach Hilton. I have very fond memories of that conference - not only was it fun but I remember leaving that conference more confident, refreshed and empowered. At that age, empowerment & confidence goes a long way in defining who you become as an adult.

The last time I planned on going to a conference was a little over a year ago. The 2010 BlogHer Conference tickets were just announced and I immediately purchased my ticket - regardless of when or where. I knew I just had to go.

The first time I chickened-out of going to a conference was in July when I was getting bombarded by all things BlogHer. I felt so overwhelmed - an entire month before the conference! This did not bode well for my spirit. So on one of my low days, I chickened-out. I gave my ticket to a dear friend who was much more excited to go than I was at the time. (MC, you rocked it, girl!)

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Needless to say there was a lot of anticipation and emotion as I geared up to traipse 2000 miles away from home (with the girl on my hip, no less) to step out of my comfort zone and join the other amazing men and women at the Type-A Mom Conference.

I had no expectations. None. 

This was so out of my realm, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like.

The Conference

I think every person needs to experience a conference like the Type-A Mom Conference in their lifetime (in their own industry of interest, of course; because why would, say, an engineer want to be at a mommy conference? Unless he was there to “shoplift the ‘pooty’”).

Despite the fact that during the entire conference I felt small and out-of-place (even in this cozy, intimate setting), I learned and I was inspired and I was empowered with the tools to go forth and make my dreams come true.

I'm not gonna lie. Not every breakout session was a gold mine of information. There were three specific sessions that were disappointing to me - one of them was the very first session of the conference, which painted my first impression grey.

But color quickly splashed onto the page at the very next session when Wendy Scherer and Katja Presnal painted a very clear picture of The Almighty Media Kit. Amen.

In the end, I left with a very beautiful Monet. Each tool a color, blending with the next, to create MY very personal big picture.

The Stuff In-Between the Conference
Not everything about the conference is about the conference.

This weekend I was a very small little minnow in a sea of Big Fish. 

I literally did not know a soul. Not personally. Not virtually. Nada.

Of course, if I were a true Type-A personality, I would have sought out these people in the blogosphere, and on Twitter weeks before the actual conference. But. I think I’m a hybrid, so I didn’t.

I’m a relatively new blogger. A relatively new social media nutcase maven. And rookie business card hander-outer.

Networking, when you’re practically a nobody (in terms of reach) is hard.

No body is there seeking you out.

I think the Big Fish forget how difficult it is.
They have their colleagues, their muses, their agendas to seek out and fulfill.

They forget that they are muses to much smaller fish.

I realize that a lot of the networking responsibility falls on the smaller fish to just get out there and introduce themselves. In fact, if I didn’t have my daughter with me or if my husband was able to be there, I’m sure I would’ve made some connections through the many after-hours social activities that Kelby was so good at incorporating into the conference. But when one’s social time is limited to the brief moments found in shuffling from one salon to the next, or the perfunctory dishing-out of business cards, it’s next to impossible to create an impression.

So.
I’d like to end with a challenge.

I’d like to challenge all you Big Fish, even all you blogger conference organizers to remember.

Remember what it was like to go to your very first conference - alone (and if you were lucky enough to go to your very first conference with a friend or acquaintance, imagine).

Find a way to help us small fish feel a little less awkward - especially if we’ve summoned enough courage to venture into the deep water.

I think a small, cozy & intimate conference, like Type-A Mom, is the perfect place to facilitate small fish to Big Fish interaction.

{ If you need ideas, I have some.}

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Want to read more about Type-A Mom Conference?
Here are two of my favorite post-conference posts:

The Secret to Online Success - Jessica Rosenberg

Type-A Mom: A (Very) Pleasant Surprise - Deb Ng

 

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