Entrepreneurs are inspiring. They are often people with vision who see a problem and commit to proving a solution. I met 50 or so entrepreneur women at Power Up weekend who were seeking ways to affirm their goals. Kristen Bocanegra, founder of Momme Meals, told the story of her ah ha moment to make meals that are nutritionally sound for new moms who may still be breastfeeding or just struggling with the overwhelming days of having a newborn in the house. From helping out a friend, a new business was born. (They serve the greater DC area.)
Bocanegra told her story at Power Up Weekend in Washington DC, a power packed daylong conference for women. She helped sponsor the conference with a break time snack of homemade muffins. While her business is new, it was much further along than some of the 50 women in the room who were attending to get that first push in the right direction.
Power Up was a daylong conference created by Uneeka Jay of Philadelphia, the founder of Power Mommy Nation. Her personal mission is to empower women to take control of their lives and be successful according to their own definition. That message was loud and clear. Most of the 50 attendees were current solopreneurs or what I’d call “second shift entrepreneurs,” like Jay herself, who gets a paycheck by day and lays the groundwork for their dreams by night. For a one-day conference, Power Up packed a lot into a well-organized schedule.
Jay who goes by @powermommy on twitter and blog radio opened the conference with her talk called “Before the Click.” When I read the title, I wondered what she meant by “click.” Being in digital media, I assumed she meant a web click and wondered where this was going. Instead, she explained. “The click” referred to the final click of the coffin lid. She explained how seeing that final click of her mother ‘s coffin changed her life.
She challenged the women in the room to define their goals and fulfill their dreams before the click of their lives.
Following that theme, JJ Geronimo, a dynamo digital woman, is the author of The Working Woman’s GPS . She, like a couple of other speakers, reminded the type-A attendees that many of them were doing too much, saying yes to too much and needed to streamline and negotiate their lives so they could accomplish what they want without crowding out their dreams. As I have often said, it’s all about balance–not having it, striving for it. Some days one side of the scale is up and some days it’s down.
For me these were more than reminders. They gave me a chance to pause and reconsider the personal goals we often let go with the demands of life. Sometimes it takes someone else to push you. Sometimes, a gathering of women with purpose can do just that.
Since this was an event mostly for entrepreneurs, three of us speakers offered practical help. Cecilly Kellogg (known to the twitterverse at simply CecillyK, the woman with the swatch of pink hair, and to the blogosphere as the writer, Upper Case Woman, gave a crash course in social media, followed by attorney and entrepreneur Stacey Ferguson, known online as Justice Fergie and a co-founder of Blogalicious, who elaborated on creating a business out of blogging which focuses on the multicultural social community of women online.
I led a workshop I call The Brand of You, a how-to for dynamic communications, especially important for solopreneurs. The workshop focuses on choosing the right words to clarify their message and communicate their unique value proposition in everything they do and project confidence in doing it.
Many of the attendees were from the Philadelphia Social Media Moms group (PSSM). Their tweets of the day and close connections made us all feel even more like we were part of a circle of friends with a common mission: to uplift each other.
Even attendees inspired us. At 29, Tevyka H. is an Air Force Veteran new to the DC area, who has begun blogging in hopes to somehow to be a voice for returning women vets. She was looking for tips and ideas about how to create a social media voice as a foundation to launching something more.
To top off the day, the only male speaker, Jim Smith, Jr., founder of JimPact, gave a motivational capstone. He was described as Uneeka Jay’s mentor and coach, the guy who helped her move toward her goals of empowering other women. His colorful storytelling and sometimes funny presentation encouraged us to get a TAN–defined as “Take Action Now.” His focus is for his clients and audiences to get the best out of themselves to excel at what they do. With that, the non-stop day ended with our heads buzzing and our plans swirling.
Sponsors included The Wine Sisterhood, Momme Meals, and Honest Tea.