OMG!!! What an awesome trip that was!! You have to understand that this was my 6th HOW conference beginning with New Orleans in 2003. Since then the wonderful ladies at F&W Publishing have become my friends. Yes, actual friends that have allowed me to share in their joys and sorrows, their families and friends! You wanna know some special people? Meet Sara, Bryn, Heather, Beth, Lynn, Barb, Alicia, Amy, and Megan. Beautiful people with amazingly awesome souls! So proud to call you friends!!
Okay, then there are my bestest pals in the whole wide world. These are the fellas I have had the honor of meeting and falling in love with at the conferences (and yes, my husband is aware of this, I assure you)! Truth be told, over the past few years we have proudly gained the reputation of “Speakers Gone Wild”! Of course, you long-time conference-goers know who they are; Steve Gordon (my conference BBF) and Jeff Fisher (my conference BCH), and then there’s Daniel Schultzsmith, Scott Wadler, and Pash.
In Austin I had the privilege of spending time with rockin’ speaker-types; Justin Ahrens, Andy Epstein, Karen Larsen, Peleg Top, Ilise Benise, Mark O’Brien (who spilt a beer on my feet), Joan Fox, Megan Slabinski, and Steve Turney (I call him ‘Cute Steve’ to differentiate him from ‘My Steve’). I’m telling you, nothing is better for networking and connecting with other creatives than the annual HOW Conference. I connected with some longtime attendees such as Steve Janiak (‘New Steve’), Zareh A. (dude, sorry but your last name is just too crazy-hard for me), Sander Leech, and Melissa Morris Ivone. Met some fabulous new attendees who shouted out and introduced themselves (or were accosted by me with a microphone). To all of you, much love and keep tight with me until we meet up at the next conference.
Now that I have talked about all my cool pals, you probably want to know my thoughts on the conference. Its honest, so don’t be mad if you don’t like it! Keynote speaker was kinda whatever, as a matter of fact I can’t even remember it. Oh wait, columnist guy. He was a brilliant guy but the relevance and inspiration escaped me. Closing speaker, very cool social-awareness type of message but came across more as a portfolio exhibit than how to make a difference plus his tone was kinda flat. A few session stuck out like crazy but keep in mind I didn’t see them all! Michael Osborne is easy-going; Von Glitschka is always a winner; Jenn & Ken Visocky O’Grady were absolutely lovable; Noah Scalin taught an awesome session on socially conscience design and had a really cool skull book which I bought for my daughter; Andy Epstein had two great sessions for In-House (even I was impressed by what he said); Mark O’Brien had amazingly relevant information on building a web strategy for yourself; Jeff Fisher gave wise words while wearing his ‘Toots’ clown nose!
All in all, the conference was a complete success with great critiques from all. Mostly, I heard (and felt) that the networking was off the charts this year. Once again proving its not so much what you know but who you know!
More blogs to come on conference specifics!