I started Mommy Outside the Box in May of this year. By June I started to see the #SCCTO hash tag and lots of buzz about this conference. Being a “newbie” I really didn’t know a thing about it. I was somewhat familiar with Shes Connected so I knew this was something good.
The She’s Connected Conference is the #1 Social Media Conference in Canada (according to the website). It provides opportunities for bloggers to learn, grow and connect. With sessions on blogger relations, content strategies, monetizing your blog and social media and tons of chances to connect with brands, the Shes Connected Conference has something for everyone.
So, I read up on the conference, followed the online chatter and although I felt it was the kind of event that I would love to attend I really didn’t think it was in the cards for me. It wasn’t in the budget and between family and work commitments, I just didn’t know how I could make it work. But then I received an opportunity that changed things.
If you follow my blog you will know that I am a Canada Beef Brand Ambassador. I was absolutely thrilled when the fine folks at Canada Beef offered to sponsor me to attend SCCTO! I still wasn’t sure I could make it work but my supportive husband really encouraged me to take advantage of this great opportunity to do something for me and pursue something I am really interested in.
How could I pass up this opportunity? Well, I just couldn’t. I designed my blog business cards, put hours into developing my media kit, packed my bags, got on a plane, without knowing a soul and already missing my two year old daughter, and headed to Toronto.
So, what did I get out of SCCTO? I think everyone walks away from a conference like this with different lessons and experiences. There were some great sessions that afforded attendees some more formal learning as well as informative, and often inspirational keynote addresses. However, for me, the true value of this conference really was in making connections. Connections with brands is suppose to be a big focus of the conference and there were a couple of brands that I had hoped to connect with that I did and I was pleased with that but to be blunt that was not, overall, the experience I had imagined it would be. Many of the brands made me feel like a small fish in a giant pond and I am not someone who is easily intimidated or socially inept so that was a completely foreign experience for me. But equally, or maybe even more important, was making connections with other bloggers. I met so many wonderful ladies. Some of whom I already knew online, who’s blogs I follow, and many that I had no knowledge of until that weekend. For me, that is where the wisdom really lays, with the people who have been there and done that. And so many bloggers I know, big and small, are willing and eager to share what they know and help to grow this community. It wasn’t all work and schmoozing either. You can’t possibly spend that much time with these wonderful women without having some fun as well. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to spend some time with people that I genuinely like hanging out with and look forward to seeing again some day.
Of course I have to give another shout out to Canada Beef and one of the highlights of the conference was finally being able to meet the lovely ladies behind the brand! They really are awesome and I am so proud to be associated with them!
And also a big pat on the back to all of the people behind the conference. This was a large event and I know from my own professional experience how much work goes into a conference like this. They did a fabulous job during the event. I will admit I was a little concerned because there seemed to be a general sense of confusion and disorganization leading up to the conference but everything seemed to come together and go very smoothly. I know the conference ambassadors put a ton of work into the event!
So, bottom line – Although this conference experience was not all sunshine and rainbows, overall I do deem it a success and a generally positive one. I met some great people, learned a lot (more from experience than educational sessions) and it helped me to solidify the plans I already had for my blog. I think that I would recommend it to new bloggers if they can afford it, can secure some sponsorship or live near the venue.
It was a pretty busy few days in Toronto so I didn’t really have the chance to take as many pictures as I would have liked to but I did manage to take a few so I put together a little slideshow to share with you.