This past weekend was jam packed with growth, excitement, fun + real-life engagement. Create & Cultivate finally descended upon NYC with the most Instagram worthy blogger/entrepreneur conference. I legit had FUN. Like old school, starry-eyed F. U. N.
The whole event took place out in Queens in the most chic event space, The Knockdown Center. Every detail was thought of + you instantly felt a part of something wayyy bigger than yourself. Walking past you were people you’ve only met online or stalked their instagrams from a far and now here they were in the flesh, (albeit a bit shorter than you imagined…) with the opportunity to connect in real life.
I went with my aura twin (which we learned later that day when we had our auras read + we were two of six people out of everyone that had blue auras, no wondaaa we work so well together!). Jenna + I had minimal expectations, just hoping our VIP tickets would count for something, so we set out into the conference with open ears, eyes + hearts, like two kids in a candy store.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I just need to acknowledge all the brands that participated because…SWAG. Seriously, I now am the proud owner of two La Croix hats, straws, pins, bags, patches, you name it. Every brand brought their A-game. No detail left out. The creativity they had with incorporating their brand into this space was amazing.
I mean, Sleep Number bed was there. Who uses a sleep number bed?! Not I. But I’ll tell ya one thing, they gave me bath salts + lavender essential oil, along with tips for a better night sleep. You best believe, next time I need a bed I’m looking for Sleep Number.
The creativity + inspiration from not only a marketing stand point but an engagement level was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I was seriously blown away. You can tell each brand appreciated this event + the people it got them in front of.
Ok, I’m done nerding out on the aesthetic + branding. I wanna get to the real meat of the event.
The 600 attendees were broken up into two different tracks. Track 1 + track 2 differed slightly in the types of influencers and panel discussion topics. I skipped around and went to both (shh, don’t tell anyone) but I wanted to get the most bang for my buck.
I stopped by to see one of my fave bloggers Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential deal some real business + tactical advice (which I wasn’t surprised by at all, because chick knows her shit) and then listened to Piera Gelardi of Refinery 29 dish about the struggles of feeling like an imposter. (side note: her mother was in the audience for the first time to hear her daughter speak live. She is the cutest human being + if I can make my mother half as excited as she was whenever I get to speak at an event like that I will have won the game of life.)
Aside from the panels, I think what I learned from the other attendees was just as valuable. Swaping productivity hacks, automation techniques, the benefits of batching work together were all incredible pieces of information that I’ve already started to implement. What I realized the more I spoke with people is that we’re all trying to figure this out. No one knows what their doing.
A perfect example is when I met my instacrush (promise this is the last time I’ll talk about this) Landyn from Living with Landyn (go look her up you can thank me later). I told her how much I enjoyed and appreciated her instastories, candidness + the humility she brings to the space and told to keep doing whatever it is she’s doing.
She then turned + looked at me and goes, “I have no freggin’ idea what I’m doing.” We both laughed (basically were bffs now…) and carried on. Now, this woman has over 40k followers, a budding jewelry line, is an affiliate power house and SHE doesn’t even know what she’s doing. I cannot express to you how refreshing that was to hear. We’re all just figuring it out together.
My favorite thing about this conference was that you met all of these women as just that...women.
You didn’t know their social followings, you didn’t know what kind of businesses they ran, you just saw them where they’re at in the moment. You got to know them for who they are behind the ‘gram. It was a beautiful thing.
One portion of the conference that Create & Cultivate held was the mentor power hour. Each attendee picked (or was assigned) two mentors you could sit with for a half hour each in small group settings to discuss business, tips + tricks, advice, you name it.
My two mentors were host, model, dancer, Peloton cycle instructor, health coach THE Ally Love and VP + GM of Livestrong.com, Jess Baron.
Now I picked these two mentors for obvious reasons. I mean, Ally Love, duh (just look at the job similarity there!) + Jess for her expertise on the business end of the health/wellness arena.
Upon the first two minutes of sitting down with Ally, she made the entire day/trip/expense worth it.
She introduced herself like this: “Hey, I’m Ally Love and I’m part of the slash generation.” BOOM. “I’m a TV Host-slash-model-slash-dancer-slah-coach-slash-cycle instructor at Peloton”.
Thank you, I can go home now.
I literally had a physical reaction + yelled “AMEN!” after she said that.
You see, just before this sit down session, I was talking with some friends about feeling conflicted between ALL my jobs + the business I’m building. Whether or not I should keep them separate as to not confuse anyone.
Any of the coaches I follow are just that, coaches. They don’t show other businesses they may be into, they talk about coaching + thats it. In the game of comparison, I was severely loosing. My days are never just all about coaching.
Sure, it’s my passion, but so are my other jobs.
That’s why I love coaching so much because I’m fiercely passionate about helping others discover + monetize their passions.
So why would I hide what I’m passionate about?! Seems silly to think of now, but the problem was I had never see anyone do it this way before. That is until I met Ally.
She described her work with the confidence + self-assuredness I longed to have. I was always so nervous to answer the question “so, what do you do?!” because I didn’t want to see scatterbrained. But the way she explained it made her seem empowered + dynamic. And, to be honest, that’s actually how I feel!
I love the fact that I have money coming in from multiple sources for jobs I truly love to do. My days never look the same + I can honestly say I feel like I haven’t worked a single day since I left my corporate job.
Ally gave me the permission to own my slashes. To appreciate how each job leverages a skill in the next. How everything I do is connected + has purpose, no matter how anyone else sees it. This small piece of advice has forever changed the way I look at my business + life. I’m so grateful to have been able to share space with her + to see a wonderful example of what it means to be multi-passionate.
My other mentor, Jess, was infectious, her energy + knowledge blew my mind. She dropped some truth bombs on us that I was so happy she shared. She told us how in her time at Livestrong she’s hired a tremendous amount of people over the years, about 50% men + 50% women. She told us that upon offering each candidate the job, every male negotiated for a higher salary. Every. Single. One. How many women did the same you ask?
Not a single woman, when offered the job, went back to ask for more money.
I was bummed to hear this pointed out in black and white but so so SO happy she shared it with this group of women. I literally yelped when she said it because it’s a topic I feel sooo strongly about. But what shocked me even more was that the women beside me seemed unphased by it.
Either they all worked for themselves and don’t have salaries to negotiate or they were just not interested. Whatever the case may be, this is something we all should be interested in.
Women get paid 80 cents on the dollar. And it’s not because someone says women should get paid less, its because we don’t ask for more. We’ve been conditioned to think its an honor + privilege to be offered a job in the first place that we shouldn’t be “greedy” and just take what we’re given. Gag. Please.
No one is going to pay you more “just because”. They’re not gonna give you a raise because Fred is making more and doing half the work and they realize “it’s just not fair”. No. You make it fair by giving yourself a fighting chance. By standing up for yourself and asking for what you worth. If they can’t give you more money, ask for time. Can’t give you that, move on.
Jess explained the longer women stay in jobs being underpaid the longer this problem will exist. Make a lateral move if you have to, but negotiate something if you can’t get the money you’re looking for. Ask them if this kind of money is possible and what you would have to do in order to earn it.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil and men have known this for years.
Please, please, please, if you take anything from this blog post, let it be this. You want a raise? Go ask for it. Want a new job? Make it your job to find a new one. Be active in creating the life you want and think you deserve.
And finally, to close out the day, OG #girlboss Gloria Steinem brought the house down. She was/is/forever will be amazing. I can’t lie, I knew very little about her other than her work with the feminist movement over the past half century but I learned so much from her talk that I can’t wait to read more about her.
First of all, she’s 83. Yes, 83 years old, looks 70, acts 20. Curses like a sailor and is infinitely wise about all the things.
She took my idea of feminism and flipped it on its damn head. Glory be to Gloria. She spoke about practical things like women recognizing themselves from the outside. Writing our attributes and strengths on a piece of paper to admire them as you would if they were someone elses. She also taught us the importance of treating OURSELVES the way we treat other people. We’re always aiming to please and serve others that we usually forget to treat ourselves with the same respect.
She also said, “Stay woke,” so I’ll just leave you with that…
Overall, Create & Cultivate was an eye-opening, creative, inspirational, motivating experience. One that I hope to have over and over again. Meeting face to face has so many more benefits than you can even imagine. I cannot wait to do it again.
Have any awesome conferences you’ve been to? Workshops you’ve attended?! I’d love to know more about them. I’m making it my goal to get to at least two more this year!
If you wanna know more about the conference or have any other questions, feel free to email me or DM on insta and I will be sure to answer!
With a big hug + lots of love!
xo Kendall Marie