This past Friday I attended a social media conference sponsored by Disney in Orlando. It is no secret that I attend a lot of meetings, conventions, events where I am asked to speak. I always walk away making new contacts, new friends and learning a lot but this time it was A LOT—I mean really A LOT!!! A lot of new knowledge and many new friends.
I was introduced to this conference by my friend Maria Bailey—the wonder woman connector who helped us launch our BABW furniture line with Pulaski a few years back. Maria is an incredible marketer but also a kind woman and a business person who takes great joy in making connections. She practices what we call at Build-A-Bear Workshop 1+1=10. That means that when two partners work together they come up with something 10X more powerful than they could accomplish alone. Maria works with the best brands in the world and we are honored she is our friend.
Now to the conference: I started off the day on Friday and I wanted to be sure all the Mom-preneurs in the room could see themselves in the success of Build-a-Bear Workshop. One because they are a reason we are successful literally and two because with a clear vision and plan and hard work, we can all make our dreams into reality. Many of the moms present are on their 2nd or 3rd career—serial entrepreneurs so to speak. Today as CEO of their families they face the hardest task of all and they know it. Along comes social media and a way to connect with other Mom CEO’s makes it much easier and a lot less isolated. They are willing to share, experiment and best of all they are REAL! They represent all kinds of families from all parts of the country and all walks of life determined to listen, learn, unleash their power and make a difference.
The other speakers were amazing—Marissa Jaret Winokur from Hairspray fame, Kathy Ireland and Chris Brogan. When all were done it felt like you had known each other forever. I think that is the power of being in a group of women—the nurturing adrenaline takes over and all you feel are hugs.
Yes, even Chris Brogan, SM guru extraordinaire, felt the love. He was amazing. While I followed his blog and read his books he is even better in person. He gets the REAL side of social marketing and he shared that with the audience when he told us to think “not hands out but hearts together.” It reminded me of my friend Tom Peters who long ago spoke out about the power of women as consumers. All we needed was an internet that recognized the power of women and our natural bias towards connecting. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook our time has come! Chris, your measurement of the ROI on love is music to my ears. I have spent 12 years building a company with heart and there have been many naysayers along the way. Thank you for your resounding acknowledgement that ♥ matters!
A very special thanks to my Disney VIP escort, Debbie Ernest. Boy does she know about Guest service. It was a pleasure to spend time with her and to WDW our hosts. Thanks for another Disney WOW.
To all my new friends and some ‘old” ones who I know have met in person I look forward to creating many new stories together. Yes, love has EVERYTHING to do with it!