Last week I drove up to Toronto with a great group of women so that we could all attend the She’s Connected Conference.
The conference was by invitation and I was excited and surprised to get an invitation, not really sure what to expect but very happy to be there since I ended up having to miss Blissdom (this year).
We knew that there would be brands in attendance and I gathered that we would be interacting to try and figure out how we could work with them while they tried to figure out how they could work with us.
Our Tuesday ended late and our Wednesday started early, we got to the Toronto Reference Library in time to have a bit of breakfast and some much needed coffee.
The day started with a presentation from Kobo, who had been quite generous to the conference and given each of the 100 attendees one of their e-readers. I was excited to get one, and excited to try it out right away. Now that I’ve had it for a little while I can say that I’m really glad I didn’t spend the money on it. The Kobo is easy to read from, but the desktop application doesn’t sync the way it seems like it should and the Kobo itself is not intuitive at all.
I would be more likely to recommend the Kobo to an older person, since they might not have the same technological expectations that I have, the text since can be made larger, and it is easy on the eyes.
Next up we had the keynote speech by Joanne Thomas Yaccato, who talked about gender in marketing, and how some companies think that they are marketing to women simply by releasing their products in pink. What she showed us was the power we have. Women are usually the ones doing the research and decision making when it comes to making major purchases.
She taught us that women are the leading users of social media, and she had the quote of the day: “Humanizing doesn’t mean feminizing, it’s about making it real not making it pink.”
The keynote, and getting my make-up done by Bourjois cosmetics were definitely the highlights of my day, along with the presentation by Sherry Abbott from CCTFA. She talked to us about Look Good, Feel Better, a program to help women with cancer feel better about themselves as they go through treatments. She told us about a new website, facingcancer.ca and how being connected online can help women with cancer not feel alone, and I thought of Laurie and everything she’s taught me about being strong.
And then the afternoon started and we had brand presentations. The chef from Maple Leaf Foods told us about the lunch they had served and some of their new products. It was great that they had him do their presentation, and also that he was prepared to answer the hard questions about their listeria difficulties last year.
The best brand presentations by far were the Egg Farmers of Ontario, who brought an actual egg farmer to talk to us, and Booty Camp Fitness who had a presenter with so much energy – and she also happened to be presented right after the worst of the day’s presentations. Calvin Klein really didn’t seem to have any idea what they were doing there, and the room was half empty by the time the ‘scent expert’ finished speaking.
The part of the day we were all waiting for was the roundtables and networking. I was looking forward to hearing from the brands and meeting all the women I had been talking to online, but the brands had all gone over time in the afternoon and we ran out of time before the networking even started.
All in all, it was mostly a fun day, the best part was probably the drive to Toronto and back – I got to know a few women better, we got to talk about a whole bunch of different topics, we laughed, we connected. It was great.