WOW. The 1st BlogHer|bet conference was a whirl wind affair consisting of a Thursday night gathering at Cisco Tele-presence Suites in Santa Clara and Friday at Microsoft in Mountain View for speakers and panel sessions.
A tech conference in Silicon Valley, how novel… well actually it was. Women supporting each other as entrepreneurs, sharing scoops and best practices is not the norm. Absolutely freaking amazing and wonderful! The conference challenged me to think in new ways, to think positively, to think strategically, and to continue to believe in the power of cooperative networks.
While I personally am not a big fan of large corporations, I was pleased to have the opportunity to see what both Cisco and Microsoft had to offer us individually through products and collectively by physically hosting us. It was conference sponsorship that went beyond swag.
The ability to coordinate soundly focused information rich and fun conferences is one of the most important aspects of BlogHer networking for me. As an uprooted academic, intellectual type person, I appreciate the learning environment that has obviously been nurtured and interwoven into the conference experience by the very savvy women who founded and run the successful business of BlogHer: Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins.
The conference was small enough to create a real sense of group cohesiveness. 100 conference attendees and 50 mentors is almost intimate in the vast impersonal business world. And there was a shared purpose that united participants as well; women need to help each other succeed so we can make the world a better place, and we can make money while doing it.
I cannot list all the great people I met right now as I have to finish up an application for grant funding that I found out about at the conference, but I do want to give a special thanks to my mentor, Marnie Webb, co-CEO of Tech Soup Global, the person who patiently listened to my less than polished pitch and gave me useful, concrete and direct feedback while managing to motivate rather than devastate my sensitive ego.