At least once a year for the past several years, I pack up a suitcase and head out of town for a few days of education and networking. As a blogger and marketer, interacting with other writers/bloggers IN PERSON at a conference is pretty important. Online is great, but let’s face it, nothing beats an in-person conversation. Plus, as a former stay-at-home, now work-at-home mama, it’s nice to actually get to see people versus staring at an avatar or my computer screen.
This year was a small step outside the norm for me. I usually go just for me and this little blog. This year, my role at BabyCenter came into play just a bit (plus I still had deadlines that needed to be met.) So it was a little less about learning and more about meeting new people and networking with those I already knew.
So what exactly happens at said conference? I have a lot of friends that want to know. Is it all work and no play? All play and little work? Well here’s a little run-down of my Mom 2.0 experience.
The key to starting a conference on the right foot is arriving early. This was my 5th Mom 2.0 and after a lot of practice, I finally have this down. Sure, getting up at 4 a.m. was painful, but being poolside by 10 a.m. was certainly not. This allowed me some time to hang out with friends (old and new!), get some lunch and even have a fancy drink before I had to amp myself up to be “on” for the next few days. The older I get, the less extroverted I am, so starting off in a relaxed setting is totally the way to go.
After a relaxing first part of the day, it was time for registration and Jump Start sessions. The conference technically kicks off at the opening party (later in the evening) but the last few years, the organizers realized that attendees wanted as much learning opportunities as possible. Mad props to my friend, Andrea, who did a kick ass presentation on campaign reporting.
After an afternoon of sessions, it was time for the Welcome Party. Yummy food, drinks and mingling with attendees is the perfect, low-key way to get in the groove of the conference.
We officially started the conference with an opening keynote, featuring Julianna Marguiles, and prepared for two full days focused on this year’s theme – RISE!
After the keynote, attendees had a few options. They could attend the hands-on work shops and presentations or they could start mingling with the sponsors. I chose to mingle. I chatted with some former juvenile industry colleagues who now work at SmartyPants Vitamins. I wandered into the Kia booth and recorded a fun video and then I strolled through to see what other sponsors were in attendance. I hit up Amazon, Best Buy, Green Giant, G.H. Cretors and Eagle Brand (pro tip: CONDENSED MILK in your coffee!! Game changer.)
For the past several years, Dove has been a Title Sponsor of Mom 2.0. They offer these renowned self-esteem workshops focused around #realbeauty. Two years ago I did an amazing workshop with girls from the Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta. This year, I chose a workshop with only attendees. We spent an hour discussing the stereotypes and obstacles women face when it comes to beauty. (And it inspired this post!)
Thursday ended with a Cabana Party, which was another opportunity to interact with sponsors and chat with friends. How cute is Amiyrah from 4 Hats andFrugal. She matches her drink!
After the Cabana Party, I had the pleasure of being invited to a dinner hosted by General Mills. We spend A LOT of money on their cereal, so it was really nice to have an opportunity to hang out with them as a brand and get to know some of the other bloggers they work with.
The last day of the conference started with “How To” sessions. While there is a lot I still have to learn, I had deadlines for work so I went back up to the room after breakfast to plow through my checklist.
At lunch, we did something really fun by gathering together all the BabyCenter bloggers and staff in attendance for lunch. It was so nice to be able to chat IN PERSON. We talked about our kids, the blog, our business goals. It was super productive and quite enjoyable.
I spent my afternoon wandering through the exhibit hall. I stopped in to see what Facebook was up to. I popped in the Dove booth to get my hair done, and then I meandered outside to check out the Kia fleet. (Side note, the new Stinger that’s coming out in the fall looks AMAZING!)
The entire event culminated with the Iris Awards. This is the 4th year that this blogging awards ceremony has taken place and there’s just something cool about getting dressed up with your friends and honoring some of the really talented people in this space. Oh and there was dancing afterwards. LOTS OF DANCING!!
It was an awesome three days and I’m so glad I went. Every year, around this time, I start to feel a little blah about my writing, and I oftentimes wonder how long I’ll keep up with it. But then I attend Mom 2.0 and I leave motivated, inspired and excited about what’s to come.
Traveling away from your family can be difficult. You have to arrange childcare, figure out meals, school pick-ups and all sorts of other things. But whether you’re a writer, a blogger, a sales person….whatever industry you are in, if you have a chance to attend a conference focused on your craft, I say go for it! It’s totally worth the investment.
See y’all in L.A. in 2018!
This post was not sponsored in any way. I paid for my ticket to attend this conference and any brand mentions in this post are a result of them being a sponsor of said conference. All opinions are my own.