I attended Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle this weekend. Great name, isn’t it? Spark & Hustle is three-day conference dedicated to inspiring, empowering and teaching women to take their entrepreneurial business dreams to new heights.
I want to share a few of the things I learned from some of the amazing speakers at Spark & Hustle. So much of what I learned was entirely relevant to my life a business owner.
* Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot, spoke about “the upside of hope.” She had a choice to take a stable, high-income position or go with an offer from a start-up. She ended up choosing the start-up because of the ”unknown hope” that came along with a start-up that had no history, no stable and comfortable path.
*Jess Weiner, writer and Global Ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. Have you ever walked into a room and felt that you weren’t pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough to be there? I have. Frequently. Jess writes about you, me and all of us. She focuses on self-esteem & body image issues. She works to motivate women and girls around the globe to develop tools for living a more confident life. Jess said, “There is a grace in being imperfect and accepting that.” One of my favorite quotes from the entire weekend came from Jess – “Fear is a downpayment on a debt you may not owe.” Savor that one. About succeeding in business and choosing the path that is right for you, she said, “You will have to disappoint someone else to make yourself happy.” How true is that? As women, we are all people pleasers. We can say yes so easily, can’t we? Even when yes is not the best answer for us. I had the pleasure of meeting Jess after she spoke. I told her that I owned five pizza places in SoCal and she got very excited. She said her boyfriend and daughter are pizza fanatics. And then I mentioned that we have a gluten-free menu and it turns out that she eats gluten-free! I hope someday that I can hook up with Jess and feed her and her family. That would be an honor!!!
* Nell Merlino, creator of “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” which moved 71 million Americans to participate in a day dedicated to giving girls the opportunity to dream bigger about their future. Nell is a powerful and engaging speaker. I loved her from the second she opened her mouth. She is a quintessential New Yorker – she tells it like it is. A big point she shared was that most of us really only need a one-page business plan. Sure, the 30 page plan is great for those who will be dealing with venture capitalists and such, but for the average Jane, one page is just fine.
* Vivian Tenorio, owner of Signature Flan. I didn’t write down any specific quotes by Vivian, but I can’t stop thinking about her. Vivian was a young teenage mother who married her high school sweetheart. Vivian never finished high school and she has no formal degree. Fearing that her job as a software installer was in jeopardy due to the economy, Vivian decided to take control and start her own business. She took her family’s flan recipe and turned it into a multi-million dollar business.
And, finally, Ann Evanston. My social media mentor.
Ann rocked the room when she spoke. She was funny, meaningful and insightful. I have followed Ann since September, when I saw her speak at an event hosted by Bag Lady Promotions. I cyber-stalked her for a while, watching her interactions with clients via Facebook and Twitter. Every time Ann posted something about social media, I found it relevant and important to me. I made it official in January, when I joined Ann’s Social Networking Coaching Club. Seeing her speak live again was energizing. I am excited to dig into my work with SNCC.
When I think back on my weekend, I feel thankful. Thankful to have the opportunity to be in that room and to hear all those incredible people speak. Thankful to have found inspiration. Thankful these women choose to share their knowledge and experiences with all of us at Spark & Hustle. I look forward to taking all that I’ve learned and putting it into action with some Spark & Hustle!
Spark & Hustle is an ongoing event at several locations throughout the country. This weekend, they will be in Tulsa. To find an event near you, click here!