I've been trying to get back on the speaking circuit over the last year. I used to speak at no less than a conference a month "back in the day" when I was "in the biz" and was flown all over the world to speak about the Web, online community, Internet marketing, and women and technology, to name a few of my topics. The new media industry, that is. Back when I started Cybergrrl, Inc. and Webgrrls International and was living in NYC and was single and was considered a "Web Pioneer."
Fast forward to 2000 when I left Manhattan in an old RV and drove around the country for over a year, at first aimlessly, and then as the vehicle for two book tours (for "Cybergrrl@Work" and "PowerTools for Women in Business"). I did a few speaking gigs during that time - like a women's executive conference in Orlando for the then Arthur Anderson. But I was fleeing from the Internet bubble burst and was hard to find.
Fast forward to 2001. I was on my way back to NYC to start another book tour on September 11th. Put a little wrench in my plans as well as all the conferences we all held, spoke at or attended. I did end up speaking at a few including a major Hispanic business conference.
Fast forward to 2004. I start getting pregnant and losing each pregnancy. Nobody told me about miscarriage and none of the pregnancy books have more than a page or two on the topic. I start blogging about it. I'm also living in Wyoming, having run away from NYC to what I hoped was the most remote place in the USA that I could find and afford to get to (which left out Alaska at the time). I took a job and taught Internet workshops around the state of Wyoming, but that's a far cry from being "on the circuit." Everybody thinks I live in Montana. Nobody in the industry thinks of calling me for their conference anymore.
Fast forward to 2006, post-baby, struggling with motherhood and all the things that go along with it (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) that they don't tell you about in the books, and I'm unable to do anything - like attend conferences much less speak a coherent sentence which makes public speaking a little impossible.
In 2007, I began putting out the word that I'm trying to get back on the speaking circuit. I submitted topics, offered to speak on any panel where there was a slot, groveled, cajoled, begged. The first person to respond after months was Elisa Camahort at BlogHer. I don't even know if she realizes how much she saved my life by allowing me to speak at BlogHer last year.
I was still reeling from post partum depression and attended literally a mere month after my doctor finally put me on medication. The fact that I made it through that event is a testament to the amazing positive power of the women at that event as well as my dear friend Tery Spataro.
Since then, my overtures to all the major new media conferences have either been rejected or ignored (i.e. no response at all) or they've instead sent me information on how to register and attend rather than speak. Even BlogHer cannot book me this year because they have a policy to book 80% new speakers each conference - which is a great thing for other women speakers but I guess this year I'm not in that 20% of repeat speakers. They also scheduled a topic I submitted verbatim as a session on their Second Life schedule to be led (The Intersection of Blogging and Second LIfe), I guess, by someone else. (UPDATE: Elisa emailed me after reading this to say she thinks I am moderating that session. Maybe it was just some communication breakdown which is understandable with so many moving parts. It would be awesome if I am. Waiting to hear the final decision on that).
Not to be deterred, I still reach out and network and Twitter and blog about my desire to be out there speaking again. My topics have branched out to social media development (content, community, marketing, branding) and virtual world events and marketing (currently focused on Second Life but expanding).
Then a month or so ago, I joined yet another social network - BizNik - and one day decided to spruce up my profile and added an article I had written about business. That day, the co-founder of the service, Dan McComb, messaged me through BizNik asking if I'd speak at his conference BizJam Seattle. Talk about the power of social networking! Of course, I figured out a way to make it work, provided him with a topic, dusted off my bio, found a relatively recent photo, and I was on the agenda.
Now I'm prepping my itinerary for the conference as well as my presentation. I'm already connecting through Twitter with people I can't wait to meet while I'm there. I'm inspired, motivated, excited. And grateful to social media and BizNik for kickstarting things for me again.
I'm not giving up. I'm here, I'm healthy, I'm alive, I'm ready. And I have a lot of things to share. Can't wait to do it.
And hey, you should register for the BizJam! If you do, I hope to see you there.
This is THE tool to bring Peace on Earth.
Matt is the harbinger of World Peace.
You must pass his video along to everyone. That is an imperitive. I kid you not.
And can you believe I've never heard of Stride Gum before? Guess the "ad campaign" is working.
A feminine leadership style –- one that emphasizes on sensitivity to employees and openness — can give women an advantage as business owners.
Or so says Sung-Joo Kim, chairman and chief executive of luxury-goods company MCM Worldwide...Women are more sensitive, she says, and that’s advantage, because they understand employees’ needs.
I think it is a pipedream to think that sensitivity will fly in any major multinational corporation, particularly in "high-powered" industries like my own - technology - but for small and maybe even midsized companies, I think it can be a benefit.As a woman business owner who has spent years interviewing women business owners for Entrepreneur magazine and other publications, web sites and blogs, I know that some women WANT to bring something to the business table that is different, that is more "feminine," but that many get beaten down and the only way to "fight back" is to "cowboy up" as they say in Wyoming. To be more "masculine" in manner, attitude and approach.