Last week's inaugural BlogHer Business Conference was a blast! It was an awesome opportunity to both see friends and colleagues, meet more smart, cool people and to learn some things and come away from a business conference feeling like I was smarter after than I was going in.
Kudos, as always, to Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort and Jory Des Jardins for organizing an excellent event. And applause as well to BlogHer event planning goddess Kristy Sammis for her smashing great work.
I had the great honor to work on the programming advisory committee for the conference with several talented women from the social media world each of whom deserve recognition for the valuable contributions made to helping shape the conference programming... Toby Bloomberg, Elana Centor, Susan Getgood, Marianne Richmond and Lena West.
I participated in two panels at the conference. Day one, I had the opportunity to interview the fabulous Staci Schiller from Wells Fargo. Day two, I moderated a panel with three powerhouses: Nicki Dugan from Yahoo!, Lynne d Johnson from Fast Company and Karen Walrond from Weblogs, Inc.
Among the highlights for me from the panels I attended was the other business case study interviews, including Lena West's interview of Carmen VanKerckhove of New Demographic. Carmen was a panelist on the Identity and Obligation panel I moderated at last summers BlogHer conference (on which Karen Walrond also participated) so I already knew what a wise and funny woman Carmen is but it was terrific to hear her speak from a business perspective and to learn so much from her. Carmen had the tip of the conference with her use of del.icio.us to create link posts. I also particularly enjoyed the panel called "The Press Release Must Die." As someone who is not a PR person but who looks at how to incorporate PR into overall marketing strategies and plans, it was a useful learning experience and I came away with tips and tools that I can immediately implement. This is what you dream of finding at a business conference and rarely do.
I met the founders of a service called sk*rt which is sort of like a "Digg" for women. I met Stacy Schnider from a new question based search engine called hakia. Women are doing cool things in the web 2.0 world. Women are using social media to support their creative businesses like Eileen O'Keeffe Clancy from Simply Juicy Travel, Megan Garnhum from a girl must shop and Lori Magno who gifted me with a lovely set of beads after I admired her necklace which she created.
I met Nelly Yusupova from Webgrrls. I talked politics with Liza Sabater of Culture Kitchen. I had a chance to spend a bit more time with Mir than at the summer conference. I had a chance to break bread with Chris, Liz Gumbinner, and Jen Lemen. I met one of my awesome BlogHer CE colleagues, Morra Aarons. I met Rachel Clarke of JWT for the first time in person after she found me for the Kleenex Let It Out Blog. I met Ewan Spence, wearing a kilt and representing for Scotland and The Podcast Network. Had a chance to chat a bit with Chris Carfi from Cerado. I saw my dear friend and extraordinary graphic/web designer Kimley Maretzo.
There are many whom I'm forgetting - please accept my apologies - and many whom I am sorry I missed a chance to speak with. And thanks to everyone who gave Zoe (thanks Lynne!) a kind word or gentle pat. She much preferred the conference to her kennel. I also greatly enjoyed the Yahootini's, Mangoritas and shoulder massages from the Spa Chicks at the Day One reception, otherwise known as the best reception/networking event/schmooze-fest ever.
If you are in any way considering or already using social media in a business setting I encourage you to read the live blogs or listen to the audio casts when they are available and keep your calendar open to attend the next BlogHer Business conference. Also, if you need help figuring out how to tackle the social media beast or how to best optimize your use of social media as a business tool check out the women I've linked to or check out the speakers from the conference and you'll find an amazing collection of bright, talented women ready to help you succeed in a social media world.
Also, on the travel side - I had the opportunity to try out United's p.s. service and used miles to upgrade to business class which was phenomenal - better than first class service on most flights I've ever experienced. I highly recommend this flight if you're going to or from either Los Angeles or San Francisco and JFK in New York. Now if only it hadn't been so spacious that I stashed my travel meds bag in the arm of the seat and forgot it! The Affinia Manhattan hotel where the conference was held was also great, plus they named their restaurant after me! They are pet friendly and human friendly as well. It's not the fanciest hotel I've ever stayed at but it was clean, comfortable and quite useful since all rooms are suites with full kitchens. It's a great value by NYC standards and the staff were all incredibly friendly, helpful and accommodating.