This week I am back from the BlogHer ’10 conference in New York City. For me the weekend was a study in contrasts. Unlike BlogHer ’09 where I was a speaker, this time I simply planned on drinking in the experience without any specific time commitments. Last year I was stoked to be social; this year I am still walking the path of grief since my Mom died less than two months ago.
Since I was no longer a newbie, I knew what to expect – an overwhelming experience with a ton of women (2400 attendees up from the 1600 last year). That is a lot of excitement and energy in one place. And, not just any women… but the most powerful voices online today. You only need one snippet from the final keynote (quoted here from Denise Tanton’s post at BlogHer: You Are Powerful) to understand the magnitude of this power:
During the final keynote, I listened as Gloria Feldt talked about your power. I listened as she tried to tell you that the expo hall was filled with Fortune 10 companies because of YOUR power. I listened as Marie Wilson, Simran Sethi, and, Alison Stewart told you that your voice is important and you can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. I listened and I was thankful. Strong, powerful women were telling you exactly what I wanted to tell you. Surely we would all walk out of that keynote and feel able to embrace our power. What a wonderful way to end an event that really should send you home feeling strong, proud, and empowered.
As a contributing editor for BlogHer, I am particularly honored to be part of this community and am always humbled by the company I am in. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and connecting with many of my fellow editors on Thursday night which was a wonderful start to the weekend. Here’s the truth – you can own your own power and be humbled at the same time. It truly can work that way (and certainly does for me). Owning your voice is not about becoming an untouchable figure or icon on the shelf. It is about celebrating your brilliance and the brilliance of those around you.
I have to admit that this conference is normally overwhelming but was particularly so for me this year. It marked the two month anniversary of my Mom’s untimely death and frankly was my first major networking event since. Sure I’ve hit some of my local “regular” events, but nothing prepares a vulnerable soul for walking into the proverbial social experiment fryer known as BlogHer. Before I left home I had already set my intentions and given myself permission to ease in and out of sessions and activities as I needed to. Even so Friday felt like drinking from a fire hose. Thankfully I received a number of golden nuggets before I chose to spend a quieter evening with friends. Here’s a very light recap with much more to come in future posts. [Read more…]