This is a sponsored post in partnership with Her Conference and Her Campus Media. All words and opinions are my own.
I’ve told you all how much I love Her Conference and how much it has done for me in the past – and if I weren’t already completely enchanted by everything about the conference this weekend would have won me over.
For those of you who don’t know, Her Conference is an annual conference put on by Her Campus for young women in the media. The conference brings together bloggers, aspiring journalists, college students, and young women from around the country to connect and enjoy incredible speakers and panels.
I know before my first Her Conference I loved reading about what I missed (there’s no FOMO when you can live vicariously through blogs!) so I wanted to walk you through what went down at Her Conference 2016 to hopefully inspire you to come to next year’s Her Conference
The conference started off with a breakfast by Chobani (waffles, and yogurt, and muffins, oh my!) and time to mingle. After talking to my first new friend of the weekend, we quickly found out that not only did we start at University of Illinois at the same time in 2013, but she lived just a floor above me in the dorms! (Serendipitous, no?)
Morning Keynote: Rebecca Minkoff
Our first keynote was Rebecca Minkoff (don’t worry, I swooned enough for all of us) and she talked about her journey from ambitious designer to full-fledged fashion superstar.
She was charming and candid and honestly? Rebecca Minkoff is my ultimate girl crush.
Panel 1: How to Make Social Media Your Full-Time Job
After the keynote we broke to go to the panels, last year the panels filled up real quick if you didn’t hustle so I may have plowed down a group of bloggers trying to get a good seat at the social media panel (#sorrynotsorry), but it paid off because I got front row and got to sit with my friend, Sara.
Sara and I have known each other online for over a year now, and finally got to connect in person for the conference. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it is to finally put a real person behind the words on your computer screen. There is something about bloggers where you instantly feel like you’ve known each other for years.
Takeaways from the Social Media Panel:
- You need to stay on top of things. You want to be sharing right when news breaks so you’re not behind.
- Snapchat is taking over Instagram in importance.
- Live video is king. If you’re camera shy it’s time to work past your fears.
Panel 2: The Business of Blogging
Immediately after the social media panel there was a panel geared specifically for bloggers looking to connect with brands. James Nord of Fohr Card was a speaker, so you know this girl stuck around. It was great hearing what people on the other side of sponsorships had to say.
Takeaways from the Blogging Panel:
- If you want to work with a brand give them some social love before pitching yourself so you can get on their radar.
- Figure out who is in charge of blogger partnerships at a company you want to work with and engage with them on social media.
- Be true to your brand across all social media. Even if it’s not directly related to your blog, brands will check.
Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: lunch! Shake Shack sponsored our lunch and I was way excited when I saw they had vegetarian options (#blessed). For real, though: Does anyone know if they sell their mushroom sandwiches in store?
Our lunches were accompanied by Suja – their spicy lemonade was everything to me.
Also! During lunch we had the opportunity to play in the main lobby that was decked out with a ton of great booths. If you didn’t know this already I’m a huge Diva Cup advocate (they’re saving the planet, y’all!) and will be writing a post about why in the future, but they had a booth there and it was so great getting to talk to their representative.
Ulta Beauty also had an entire glam set up where you could go get a hair or makeup touch up. I had them touch up my lips both days with lipsticks from the Urban Decay line and the girls working there were great!
If you check the #HerConference hashtag on Instagram chances are 90% of the pictures you see were taken in front of the flower wall Tinder brought – it was beautiful.
Andi Dorfman was our midday keynote and I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what to expect. And I’ll be honest again: I’ve never watched the bachelor or bachelorette. Not one single episode. I’m a diehard romantic so the idea of a finding true love on reality TV never appealed to me, and I had a few preconceived notions about the participants. But Andi changed my mind. Andi is a former District Attorney who kicked butt in her career and just so happened to go on reality TV. She’s as smart and witty as she is funny and I surprised myself by liking her keynote as much as she did. While I might not be running off to watch the bachelor anytime soon, I will definitely be keeping up with Andi on social media.
After Andi’s keynote I headed to the “How to Make Content go Viral” workshop. As a blogger, going viral is very appealing. Here are a few takeaways I got from the workshop:
- “Humble-brag” posts allow readers to share the article and brag without it actually seeming like they’re bragging. i.e: “What Only Naturally Skinny will Understand
- Sex sells – posts won’t be shared but they will be clicked.
- Keep an eye on trending topics and what your target audience is interested in.
- Click-bait is out – make people want to click by being straightforward!
Closing Keynote: Joyce Chang
Joyce Chang, the editor-in-chief of Self was our closing keynote. It was incredible hearing about her journey and all of the different positions she filled to get to where she is today. She is the epitome of a hard working woman and is a great role model for girls and women of all ages.
#TrackIsBack Popsicles and Prosecco
At the end of the night there was a Juicy Couture party celebrating the fact that #TrackIsBack and the track suit is coming back in full force! There were popsicles and prosecco or soda water and a ton of blow up pool floats that made for incredible photo-ops. (Or boomerangs, as the case may be.)
Morning Keynote: Vanessa K. De Luca
Vaness is incredible. Hands down a truly inspirational woman. She is the editor-in-chief of Essence and talked a lot about not being afraid to be wrong.
She brought up her experience with her “Black Lives Matter” cover and the doubt she got from her team. She trusted her gut and went with it and it ended up being her most successful issue ever.
Sometimes people forget to trust themselves, and Vanessa served as a great reminder.
Panel 1: Mapping out a career in marketing
This first panel brought a great group of marketing experts together talking about what they do in their day to day as well as marketing trends.
While I myself don’t necessarily want a career in marketing, marketing is something that is very much applicable to what I’m doing in the blogging world and it was great hearing what they had to say.
Panel 2: Female entrepreneur share their stories
After panel one I practically sprinted to the next room so I wouldn’t miss this panel. They brought in successful female entrepreneurs to talk about their journeys to entrepreneurship and I may or may not have been fan girling in a major way.
Here is who came to speak to us:
- Tammy Tibbetts of She’s the First
- Casey Lewis of Clover Letter
- Kimmy Scotti of Monthly Gift
- Erin Schrode of Turning Green
- Jenna Tanenbaum of GreenBlender
Lunch played out the same as the day before – more delicious Shake Shack and fun at the different booths!
Afternoon Keynote: Nastia Liukin
Can I just say that I have the biggest girl crush on Nastia Liukin? She is amazing.
In case you didn’t know (who am I kidding?) Nastia is an Olympic Champion and author. She talked about her journey to the Olympics, what came afterwards, and what she’s up to now.
A main take away from her presentation is to never give up, and if you fall just get back up.
Afternoon Workshop: Style Secrets for Your Career and Beyond
To be completely honest – I didn’t come for the style secrets. I was more interested in the host, Tilden Brighton. Tilden is a successful style blogger living here in NYC and she blogs in a very different niche than I do.
I had a feeling the Q&A would shift away from style and focus on her blog – and I was pleased when that happened.
It’s always great hearing other bloggers talk about their take on the industry and some of their tips and tricks.
Closing Keynote: Samantha Power
This is the keynote I was most excited for. Samantha Power is a U.S Ambassador to the United Nations and is a huge role model of mine.
It’s great to see women in such powerful positions, and even better when they advocate for the same causes that I do.
Samantha is passionate about human rights with a focus in human trafficking, and she spoke a bit about that and it relit the fire underneath me. (More on that in future blog posts!)
If I thought the conference was great last year, this year it was 100 times better. I met more incredible women, hung out with Sara, and learned so much. I am so grateful for Amtrak and all of the other sponsors that made the conference possible.
(And, like I said in my last post: The beautiful Vera Bradley goodie bags were fun, too!)
If you aren’t already part of Her Campus, they have an incredible community of women who are all going to do huge things one day. Not to mention the Her Campus team is made up of great ladies who obviously worked their tail ends off to make the conference as great as it can be. I have nothing but love for the entire community.
I’m already clearing out my calendar to go back to Her Conference next year! Will you be joining me?