This past week I attended my first ever conference, Rebelle Con. I was inspired by a friend who is constantly investing in herself to grow her business, so when I heard about Rebelle Con I decided to take a leap! I was very excited and intrigued about this local event to grow and emerge myself in the Boss Babes RVA community. I decided that the opportunity was in front of me for the first time to attend a conference that I felt I could benefit from, and hopefully light my entrepreneurial fire (which tends to dim from time to time).
Rebelle Con is a conference founded by two kick ass Boss Babes, Shannon Siriano Greenwood and Anika Horn, with the help of the BB community these two ladies created a conference based on lifestyle design for entrepreneurial women. What I love the most about RC are the four core components they stand for; wellness, money, community, and creativity. Their belief is that these core topics can create an intentional life and career.
At first I debated attending, the price was high but justifiable, I just wasn’t sure if I would benefit from the three-day conference. On the last day of early bird registration, I decided to invest in myself. Unsure of the money I had spent, I was reassured the next day when I WON my ticket!! I was able to get reimbursed for the ticket I had purchased and attended for free! I couldn’t help but feel reassured that it was meant to be.
Rebelle Con kicked off with a cocktail party at Candela Gallery on Thursday night. I have to admit, I have never attended a cocktail function by myself. I was sort of nervous without my hubby on my arm. I can always rely on him in awkward social situations because he could talk to a wall! The event was fabulous and I was pleasantly surprised by the turn out. But if I’m being honest, I initially felt very uncomfortable. It seemed like everyone was mingling with people they already knew. Anyone else ever feel super awkward trying to initiate conversation with strangers who are in their own groups!? I mingled with some new faces, as well as some old, and ended up staying the whole time.
The highlight of my night!? Being a super psycho and stalking fashion designer Christian Siriano for a picture! Christian was attending as one of the guest speakers for Friday’s creativity talk and I couldn’t let him leave without asking for a picture. Want to hear something funny? It didn’t bother me to go up to a famous designer and ask to snap a picture, but I had trouble introducing myself to people “I know” from social media. *insert face palm emoji*
Friday was amazing! I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Day 2 of Rebelle Con, but I was excited to find out. The venue was beautifully staged and decorated, I mean I’m always down for a conference that has gold glitter curtains, who isn’t?? They provided breakfast and kicked off the day with the first core topic, wellness.
Jessamyn Stanley lead the wellness talk, she’s a professional yogi and author of Every Body Yoga. I must tell you, I wasn’t expecting to be super into the wellness talk, but I feel like Jessamyn’s the kind of girl I could hang with. She was motivational, super real, and very informative. I loved every second of her talk, but I really resonated with what she said; “If you do it right, there will be criticism.” She explained the importance of taking time for yourself so that you can be present in your role, and to avoid burnout. Racheal Cook lead a self-care strategy session after Jessamyn’s talk to add to the Wellness component of our foundation. She has created a work/life balance that is very inspirational.
Next, we dove into the topic of money! Money makes the world go ‘round, right? Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance was there to navigate us through the tough world of finance, she was very insightful without making a typically uneasy topic uncomfortable. My key takeaways; be bold and charge a price you’re uncomfortable with! Tonya’s insight was followed up with a money mindset exercise from Claire Wasserman of Ladies Get Paid. We broke for a delicious lunch prepared by Daily Jars, a local, healthy meal service. I frequently get lunches from them, they are reasonable and super healthy, so I was happy to see they were providing lunch.
After lunch was community; they opened with a panel consisting of Patricia Bradby, Pineapple D.C., Black Girls Run, and The Broad. These women gave me a real sense of #girlpower. The conversation was easily relatable to everyone in the room and explored the ups-and-downs of digital space taking away from community. My favorite takeaways were “build a platform, not a pedestal” and the encouragement to tell someone you respect or admire them. The panel was followed by a community building exercise from Native Collab.
Finally, my favorite core component, creativity, was led by fashion designer Christian Siriano. Kelli Lemon of Coffee with Strangers got the chance to interview Christian for our final talk of the day and I was in heaven. I’ve been a huge fan of his since he was on Project Runway and I think his talent and designs are absolutely incredible. Christian was very humble and super sweet, I loved hearing about his day-to-day, his favorite moments, and his life as an entrepreneur. My biggest takeaway from him was “Always be gracious, the best revenge is your paper.” If I could have stood up and hugged him right then I would have. We wrapped the day with a closing exercise and a champagne toast!
Saturday was workshop day! My morning workshop, Adaptogenic Herbs for Women’s Health was taught by Allison Walton of Boketto Wellness. Boketto is a local, modern apothecary that carries holistic products and teaches wellness workshops, as well as offers massage and acupuncture. I absolutely loved this workshop! Allison was super informative and shared her personal issues with us and how adaptogens have changed her life. She made cashew nut butter and dark chocolate with adaptogens, and taught us how we can personally benefit from using them in our daily life. Lo and behold I have actually been drinking a morning drink of adapotogens since July and it has literally changed my life. I made a run to Boketto after our workshop to incorporate more of them into my diet.
My afternoon workshop, Business That Supports Your Lifestyle by Michelle Martello of Minima Designs, was all about breaking the “rules”. The old-school rules that say how you’re supposed to act as an entrepreneur. Michelle focused on creating your own opportunities in every aspect, from money to technology. My favorite takeaways were: money loves clarity, people buy why, focus on what makes you money, and don’t use social media as validation. I really enjoyed the open conversation Michelle created. It was a great chance to hear everyone’s stories and although we are all from different professional backgrounds we could relate to each other.
It was a great weekend and definitely re-ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. I will end by saying I absolutely intend on attending Rebelle Con in 2018, and I know it’ll be even bigger and badder!! I was so impressed with what they put together and for the sake of keeping this blog post to a minimum I didn’t include every little detail I would have liked to, but I highly recommend checking it out. Hope to see you next year!