Create & Cultivate Conference Recap

August 31, 2018

As you may already know, I spent last Saturday in the company of 800 fierce females at the Create & Cultivate Chicago Conference! If you haven't heard of Create & Cultivate before and you either are, or are dreaming, of becoming a blogger/entrepreneur/career woman/girl boss, you'll want to check them out ASAP. Their mission is to help women create and cultivate the career of their dreams- how awesome is that? Check out their posts and upcoming events here.

Between the inspirational speakers, awesome vendors and A+ photo opportunities, it's hard to pick a favorite part of the event! Today on the blog, I'm recapping my experience at the conference and filling you in on all the details.

#CreateCultivateCHI was located at the House of Vans on Elizabeth Street near the West Loop. That's right- an indoor skate park and concert venue got a total makeover and transformed into a super girly arrangement of stages, photo walls, vendor booths and beauty stations. Every part of the House of Vans took on unique Create & Cultivate detailing to the point where you almost forgot where you were! I was blown away by all the work that was put into decorating this venue.

When you register for C&C, you decide on one of two tracks to pick topics that are most relevant to you. I decided on track two, which had sessions about telling your brand story on digital platforms, collaboration over competition, driving traffic and monetizing content, and creating a strong sense of self. These topics definitely spoke to me and were what I wanted to learn about most. Along with these sessions, there was also a mentor power hour, which included two 30-minute Q&A sessions with mentors of your choice. I chose Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Ice Cream and blogger Jenna Colgrove.

The day started with a presentation by Ben Silbermann, the CEO of Pinterest, and throughout the afternoon, there were keynotes with Shay Mitchell, Alli Webb and Jennifer Hudson. It was a jam packed day full of presentations and each speaker was as inspirational as the next. My favorite panel was called "Squad Up" and the topic was Creating a Strong Sense of Self and Encouraging Others to do the Same. Members of the panel included Koya Webb, Candace Reels, Danielle Moss and Michelle Arnau, moderated by Maxie McCoy. I loved listening to Koya who said "If I don't love myself, I don't give nobody else an opportunity to love me either."

Just as the day was full of speakers, the event was also full of vendors providing different experiences with products, food and drinks. The list is long, but some of the vendors included La Croix, Oui by Yoplait, Living Proof, Biossance and Shopstyle. Sweetgreen provided salads for lunch and McDonald's provided snacks throughout the day, including chicken tenders, french fries and a sundae bar. And don't even get me started on BomboBar's cookie monster dough gelato... Y U M!

I had my tarot cards read with Pinterest, made a custom nameplate with JCPenney and was turned into a fashion illustration with La Croix! OGX was offering hair braiding, WeWork was customizing business card holders and all the attendees were living their best lives, including me.

Create & Cultivate already knows that their conference attendees want to do it for the 'gram, so they set up some really chic and unique photo opportunities. The "Self Made" feather wall and the "My Best Life" neon wall were the most popular attractions, along with the "Daydream Achiever" neon wall, the shrubbery walls and the floor decals. With so many opportunities and a room full of women who know how to get every angle for you, it was impossible to not get some great shots from the day.

Besides the ha-uge swag bag full of goodies and the signed copy of WorkParty by Jaclyn Johnson, founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, I took away a lot from this event personally. First off, I negotiated with my boss that this event would be beneficial for me professionally, which was a bold move that paid off. I also attended the conference alone, which I was a little nervous for because my networking skills are a little rusty. But what I liked about C&C is that you're encouraged to network, but you don't feel a lot of pressure to network because all of the attendees are there to learn and better themselves versus strictly meet new people. It's definitely a personal experience that is good to do on your own.

In terms of the blog, I learned that I should be using Pinterest more as a way to drive traffic, and I should start feeling more confident in pitching brands. A lot of the other information I had heard before. What I found to be more beneficial than learning how to improve the blog was the personal inspiration from all the speakers. Hearing so many unique stories opened my eyes and gave me a better perspective on how every journey as a girl boss is different. I'm feeling more motivated than ever to keep working hard toward my goals and not give up on my dreams.

The highlight of my day? Walking in the doors and passing Jaclyn Johnson who complemented my outfit! It made me so giddy and set the mood for the whole conference. Freakin' epic. 

Who run the world?  GIRLS.

Be bossy,

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