Looking Back at 2015 & BlogHer Conferences
But the end of the year is always a great time for looking back, reflecting on the year we had producing #BlogHer conferences in conjunction with our new SheKnows Media family for the first time.
Here's what stood out to me:
1. The world cares about you: The news-makers, creators, and influencers
Every year amazing people show up to tell you their story. News-makers. Change-makers. Catalysts and instigators. Provocateurs and entrepreneurs.
Every year the best part of my job is reaching out to people I admire to possibly keynote ... and having them respond with a "Hell, yes!". (I may be paraphrasing on that a tiny bit.)
We needed to talk about #BlackLivesMatter (and still do, clearly). We needed to talk about the levels of harassment women experience online (and still do, clearly). We needed to talk about solutions to serve girls and women throughout their lives (and still do, clearly). And we always need to hear from women who have taken bold leaps, started new ventures, and challenged the assumptions others had about them. As I think we all do, clearly. This year I am grateful for the amazing people who showed up for those conversations.
2. New ideas, new initiatives, new blood
We've been doing this a little while, and one thing we know: If you want to grow and thrive, even after a dozen years, you have to be willing to change things up, listen to new voices, and try new things.
Doing that at #BlogHer15 led us to introduce new features to the annual conference that served our mission of #womeninspiringwomen, like #ThePitch keynote contest, right? Go Majora and all our Pitch contestants! Sometimes we even involved #girlsinspiringwomen (because "out of the mouths of babes..." was never better illustrated than by those #HatchKids).
3. Traditions become traditions for a reason
New ideas are necessary, but much-loved traditions are, too. Combining the two, as we did with the Voices of the Year this year, meant that we continued to honor the voice of our community but acknowledged more strongly how we all as content creators have evolved.
Appreciating the art in all forms of expressions is something we will always do. When a six-second Vine can move you deeply, you have to bow down to that kind of talent —just like the talent in a long-form blog post!
4. Oh, yes, we can work and learn hard all day and let loose at night!
When people ask me to describe a #BlogHer conference, I'm sometimes bit challenged. Yes, it's a conference ... with a lot of effort put into multiple tracks of learning and best practice sharing all day long, peppered with important cultural conversations, and some serious hallway and expo networking going on. And yet, it's also part annual reunion, with all the squees and hugs and getting down on the dance floor you would expect from a group of women who have missed each other all year long!
I love both parts of this. I love smart people; I love deep conversation, and I love seeing you all rock out via karaoke or on the dance floor. We can have it all ... for just a few days each year :)
5. I interview women with #HOTshoes
OK, if you've known me a while you may have heard me say, "I can care about politics and cute shoes" to illustrate the point that women are complex, diverse creatures with many interests, all valid, none worthy of being dismissed. And OMG, I do care about politics and cute shoes.
Martha Stewart in 2012 stands out to me, mostly because we were inadvertently color-coordinated, and our shoes looked awesome together on stage. But this year? Between Gwyneth Paltrow's adorable booties at #BlogHer15 and Sarah Michelle Gellar's purposely orange stiletto pumps at #BlogHerFood15 (see above), I was in shoe heaven. (Which is nowhere near hog heaven, in case you were wondering ... no one is letting hogs near my shoes.)
Yes, you got that right: I am ending my year in review with hot shoes. That's who I am!
So, tell me, what would you add to your "year in review"... what made the most impact on you attending a #BlogHer conference this year, whether in person, or following along from afar?
I can't wait to hear!
Elisa Camahort Page
Expert BlogHer, Vegan, Macolyte
Chief Community Officer, SheKnows Media and BlogHer Co-Founder
@ElisaC on Twitter
@ElisaCP on Instagram