Something really magical happened this week. I don't know if it was just me that felt it or if the reach was farther. But it touched me on such a deep level I hope I never forget this feeling.
I attended Cvent's annual conference. Which I've done many times before (I think this might have been my 7th??). For reference, Cvent is a meeting registration software... the software on which I launched my consulting business 3.5 years ago (helping people with said software).
This week started out a little slow and honestly I was quite sleepy from the time I arrived. The first 24 hours I remember saying I wasn't really "feeling it" this year. Something was off.
But this year I had the extreme honor of doing a panel discussion with a few ladies I hand picked to be on the panel with me. The idea came up last year at the conference as a sort of showcase of badass women in tech. A year ago I had no idea what this week would BE or feel like.
A Little Back Story
Feel free to skip this section if you already know the back story ;)
On a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree day in January, my husband and I were sitting on our back deck in beach chairs (because, you know, the regular deck furniture was put away in January), and I was thinking about my session submission. I was sitting thinking about who would be awesome on this panel.
I already knew I wanted Stacey Fontenot, an incredible female SVP at Cvent... the only woman on the Executive Listening Panel discussion every year.
But who else?
Then like lightning I knew my pal Kristen Koenig would be the next perfect fit. She just turned 30 and I'm pretty sure everyone in our industry already knows her. She's done a lot of big, impressive stuff already in her career.
So I reached out to her and she was immediately on board!! YAY!
Over the next few days she and I chatted about who would be the perfect 4th seat. And we thought a Cvent client/user would be it. So I thought about my brilliant client/friend, Wendy Hunt.
And that rounded out our panel.
Once we submitted and brought Cvent into the fold, we were connected with the women doing amazing Women in Leadership stuff at Cvent. We got Kerry Lambert who turned out to be the most perfect moderator for us. She handled everything in such a calm, loving and knowledgable manner. I'm honored she joined us. We were also supported by the wonderful, hard working and sweet Maura Gunning.
I felt blessed already.
Then the schedule came out a few weeks before the event and I realized our session was the FIRST of SIX "Women in Leadership" sessions. They created a whole track around Women in Leadership this year! For the first time ever!
WHAT. AN. HONOR.
To be a PART of that but also to be the FIRST - the introduction - the kickoff to it all. We sold out a 350 person room and the room did, indeed, fill up while we were on stage. The session was wonderful. I think we delivered what we set out to and we all realized and agreed we could have talked for 3 hours up there (we might be planning an encore ;)).
BUT. Here's the thing I didn't know until later.
We were just the tip of the iceberg.
This week 5 other awesome Women in Leadership sessions happened. I attended 3 or 4 of them. I got to meet some other really awesome women doing some really awesome things who are passionate about some awesome topics I had no idea were out there. I made new friends within this track (I took an Uber to the airport with the lovely Courtney Stanley, Co-founder of the #MeetingsToo movement!).
Every single session I attended this year was packed with information, takeaways... lessons.
And along the way I met some new amazing friends. And those are JUST starting to unfold.
Emma Bica, who I had randomly friended on LinkedIn a few years ago then introduced myself to 2 years ago, and I ended up having dinner on Wednesday evening and chatting about being women in this world, being moms, being wives... I loved every minute with her.
And Wednesday morning. Ohhhh Wednesday morning... I was introduced (via her being on stage) to the UNREAL Abby Wombach. I'm not a soccer fan, in general, so I didn't know much about her before her Keynote. But now I'm kicking myself that I walked to the meeting literally 10 steps behind her and didn't introduce myself / grab a hug when I had the chance.
Guys, she's UN.F*ING.REAL. What a woman! Her kids are LUCKY.
After she spoke (which was the morning after our panel session), I walked up to Stacey crying for 10 minutes at the MASSIVITY of this year's conference and the focus on women. We're talking about it.
In a BIG way.
In the corporate world.
In a man's world.
And that FEELS amazing. So amazing that I couldn't hardly get myself together for the rest of Wednesday. I couldn't talk about it or I'd cry. At a corporate conference.
I was a hot mess. (If you know me, you're probably not surprised.. if you don't know me so well... well... this me. I'm a crier ha!)
And then, this morning, as I sat on the edge of my bed waking up, I looked out my window in Vegas. And all of a sudden, I hadn't noticed her before - the 3 days prior when I actually had the shade up and checked out what view I had of Vegas from just the 7th floor - I caught Lady Liberty standing there.
I swear I didn't see her before. I had no idea.
But this morning, I looked up and there she was (her top half because, buildings).
And again, I felt this immense sense of gratitude, and love, and support, and all the feels really. It was pretty damn magical.
Thank you, Cvent, for allowing ALL of us women this platform.
Thank you to Stacey, Kristen, Wendy, Kerry and Maura (and also Julie Haddix who was a HUGE champion of this session right off the bat in February!)
Thank you to all of the women who attended our session and subsequently caught me in the hall or the bathroom and said "You were on that panel! I loved it! You guys did such an amazing job" (this tells me we delivered what we set out to deliver which I was nervous about)
Thank you, Abby, for delivering one of the most powerful keynotes I've heard to date.
Thank you to alllllll of the other amazing WIL speakers and all of the new women I've gotten to bring into my life this week.
And thank you to my network, my colleagues, my supporters, my champions, my rocks. Thank you for the feedback and the encouragement to keep going. And thank you for the clarity that comes from having deep and rich conversations with you.
I feel (and am sending right back out) soooooooooooo much LOVE tonight.
- xoxo -
Started life in 1985.