A couple of months ago I attended the second annual Gamechangher Summit in Atlanta hosted by Jai Stone. I saw a post in her Facebook group about needing someone to assist her in return for some mentoring. Luckily, I saw that before my social media sabbatical. I inboxed her and scheduled a time to speak.
I previously attended her Hustle with Jai tour in Houston in March and she said something that stayed with me. During that time, she wasn’t aware that I was on my way out of leading the Houston African American Bloggers Association. A decision I made in February after an insensitive remark made by someone on the leadership team when I stated I needed a few days to myself after getting the flu. I knew I was being used for my intellectual prowess, connections and work ethic. And not appreciated. I digress. I’ll share that story another day.
Back to the Gamechangher Summit.
Jai and I talked about the opportunity and it seemed like the perfect fit as it aligned with the direction I wanted to move back towards. After spending almost 7 years learning all that I could in the blogging world in different capacities I realized there’s one thing I thrive in. The pressure doesn’t faze me. I get a high from seeing it all come together. And that’s events. I have planned events since high school so it’s nothing new. However, I always knew I didn’t want to be an event planner. Events are somewhat sacred to me and I didn’t want anyone to change the vision I have for the events. I create memorable events that you wouldn’t think would work for “business” and yet they go over so well. And those are the events I prefer to cover as a blogger.
I was determined to get to Atlanta no matter what. And trust me, it was a challenge as it seemed so many obstacles popped up leading up to my day to leave. I ended up not being able to leave at the time I had planned to. I took about 5 minutes to cry and then got back up and made alternative plans. I ended up leaving later than I wanted to but I was still on my way to Atlanta.
Why am I sharing this?
Here I have an opportunity to learn from someone I’ve admired and respected since I jumped into the blogging world professionally in 2011. We all say we want opportunities and when they are literally handed to us on a silver platter and something comes up we say it’s not meant to be. I think it’s God testing to see how serious we are about the prayers we send to him.
So, I get to Atlanta a few hours later than I wanted and went straight to the space for the event. Jai and my roommate were down there with a few others getting the space ready for the conference to start the next day. I hopped right in. She told me to go put my things in my room and come back. That’s how ready I was. I went from check-in to work. I was not going to let this opportunity I had to fight to get to slip through my fingers by not giving all that I could to help make this event what it needed to be for the attendees.
At the end of the day, the attendees are the only ones who matter when it comes to an event. Did they leave with the information, knowledge, connections, resources, etc they came to get? If not, then you failed with your event. Having something look nice, good food, slamming DJ is great. They add value to the atmosphere but that’s not why people come to an event or conference.
We worked until about 12:30am the next morning to make sure everything was as ready as it could be. What I admired most about Jai was the fact she was fighting an upper respiratory infection and yet gave her all to this conference. Working with her team and ensuring that things would be ready for each day of the 3 days was fun. But I was exhausted working a 3-day conference.
I have in the past worked a 3-day conference just as a blogger so I didn’t have real responsibilities like I did with this conference. Personally, I prefer doing 1-day events. I know I need a good 10-hour nap after a 1-day event, lol. I can only imagine how I would feel after 3 days. Well I don’t have to imaging anymore. I know how I felt and even though I was tired as I could be, I enjoyed every moment working behind the scenes and getting insights from a top influencer who was beyond generous with her time and knowledge.