I jumped out of my shell, and went to my first ever Blogger Summit! I used to see these types of events all the time and wondered, what do people even talk about during these things, and is it worth the money? Whaleeeee…fast forward 4 years, and boom I’m at my first ever blogger summit designed for melanin beauties just like ME!
Just a little background information, I am terrified of meeting new people, especially new women. I’m not sure how many of you know this, but during my high school education I attended an all girl’s boarding school (no it is not the place where you send your kids when they are bad). During my time here, in my graduating class I was one out of FIVE black women. FIVE. After I graduated high school, I moved right down the street to Meredith College, and you guessed it…another all women’s college. LOL my parents are ridiculous. Instead of being 1 out of 5 black women, I upgrade to being part of a whopping 7% (talk about an upgrade). For those 8-ish years, in order to be seen/or have a little step stool seat at the table, I had to almost fight my way to the top. Because of this, I never liked to tell my classmates where I shopped, or what I made on my test, or what college I was accepted to…why? Because they were my greatest competition. Not only that- but the judgement I would receive when I would do something REMOTELY great in my high school/college days…was never seen as “great” in my classmates eyes. [We can dive into a therapy session about this in a later post, I just wanted to give you a representation on my upbringing around women in general…and lack of black women]
So….needless to say…I was never presented the opportunity to surround myself in a room full of black women. I was never granted the opportunity to collaborate with black women and not feel like I need to have my guard up to compete. Or be around black women and not hear the dreaded, “Why do you talk like that?” (I can write a whole blog post on this one as well) And lastly, I’ve never been in a room full of black women who loved the exact same thing I did: blogging, influencing, launching their own business, etc. This completely blew my mind!
I knew deep down inside, if I wanted to grow my brand the way I knew God wanted me too…I really needed to attend this event.
The Ignite Your Influence Summit was hosted by Majesty (Founder of www.bornmajestic.com, and also a North Carolinian!), in Charlotte North Carolina. Not only was I surrounded by amazing bloggers/influencers who drove miles to attend this event, I was always granted the opportunity to meet great industry professionals and actually have the time to ask them questions! (No more sliding in DMs for me! LOL) The panel included individuals like:
- Kish Burries (@kishmycurls)
- Lola Akinkuowo (@Lola.Akw)
- Valerie Eguavoen (@Valerieeguavoen) – and she snatched all my edges about how brands lack the diversity & inclusion in influencer marketing
- Brittany Hennessy (@mrsbrittanyhennessy) – I fan girled forreal.
- Mattie James (@themattiejames) – also fan girled.
From 10am-3pm, over 180 women put their phones down, and really allowed these women to not only pour their knowledge on the blogging/influencer industry, but also we were granted the opportunity to meet them one and one, and ask them anything under the sun.
During this summit, I not only met great women that were represented on the panel, but also there were so many FABULOUS women in the room. I was able to network with so many great bloggers/influencers/business owners- who look just like me. (That is the Whew moment). This is something I don’t take lightly. Going from being surrounded by women my entire upbringing that looked nothing like me, to working alongside women who look everything like me….girl I could shout on that alone.
I don’t want to break down what EVERY single panel member spoke on (because that’s just too much to type), but when I came home, I did compile all my notes together for some key points that I think are great to share.
- You will always receive a “no” from a brand when asking for sponsorship/brand ambassador opportunities, if you don’t ever ask. If you have reached out to a brand, but they did not want to work with you at that time- learn from your rejection. After a few no’s, there is always a yes waiting!
- Being your true self is the only way you can survive ANYTHING.
- Your product will get you through the door, but your passion/drive/personality keeps you at the table. Always be personable, nice, and friendly. Networking is your best friend.
- Know the type of presence that you can bring to any brand, and connect that with your worth. ($$$)
- There is no greater influence on this planet than the Black Woman.
Shoes: MissGuided | Jumpsuit: Marshalls | Hair: Perm Rod Set [I know ya’ll gonna ask]
I hope my little mini testimony in the beginning about fighting my fears on being in rooms with powerful black women then fast forward to now….. actually speaking with brands and making connections with influencers- inspired you to jump start your passion project, whatever that might be! If anything, go support someone else’s purpose. You never know what door might open when you serve others!
If you are interested in attending Ignite Your Influence 2020, follow @bornmajestic on Instagram or her website www.bornmajestic.com, when she releases dates for 2020! Also- If you attended the conference, drop me a comment below. I know there were so many phenomenal women who attended the conference, and I wasn’t able to connect with everyone.
As Always- Infamously Yours,