I’m finally back home in The Bahamas basking in 80-degree weather! New York, I love you, but, did you know it’s Spring? Where is the sun?! I can not, with you. Whew, it was cold!
New York is like home to me, I studied there, my mom lives there, so naturally, when Create & Cultivate announced that they would be having their flagship conference in the Big Apple, I was delighted! One of my goals this year was to network, to come out of my shell and to put myself out there and this was the perfect opportunity for me.
After seeing my photos and stories on Instagram, a lot of people have sent me messages and wanted to know a little more about the conference, and my experience, so I’m going to be as thorough as I possibly can! Remember this is my experience based on my expectation! So, let’s do this!
WHAT IS CREATE & CULTIVATE?
Create & Cultivate is an online platform and an offline conference created by Jaclyn Johnson for women looking to create & cultivate the career of their dreams.
“We gather the next generation of curious creatives, entrepreneurs and bosses to spark conversation around the topics they are passionate about from building your business to raising money, we hit all the topics for modern working women.”
I found out about the brand a few years back from a friend, marketer, event planner and flower girl, Kandice Hanna-Cargill and I have been following ever since. Edit: She told me I put her on to Create & Cultivate way back when. Whew, my memory! But, anyway! The brand and conference have really taken off over the past few years and their events are always sold out! The conference features movers and shakers of the industry, bloggers, influencers, businesswomen, moguls, you name it. Kim Kardashian, Meghan Markle, Martha Stewart, Lisa Price, Kate Walsh, Mandy Moore, Tia Mowry, Nicole Ritchie….just to name a few, have all graced the CC stage over the years.
The one-day conference takes place twice a year features inspiring and motivating panel discussions, mentorship sessions and tons of opportunities to network and meet like-minded women in business.
Attending CC NYC was a no brainer. The lineup featured some pretty amazing bloggers, influencers and businesswomen, and I was truly inspired and motivated to push myself out of my comfort zone. Initially, I was overwhelmed because the conference was a LOT! I don’t consider this a conference, I considered this an experience. In addition to having panel discussions and keynote speakers, there was much going on simultaneously. There were pop-up shops, and brand booths and photo and video installations, mini hair and makeup salons. I got headshots done! It was a marketer and an Instagramers dream.
As someone who gets overwhelmed very easily, I found myself at times saying, “this is all too much”. My anxiety was at 100! The key to getting myself back on track and in the game was taking a moment to stop, take it all in and then focus. I know it sounds crazy, right?
While the day was filled with refreshing and mindblowing panel sessions from Martha Stewart, Lisa Price, Amanda Heard, Nikki Ogunnaike, Tezza and so many more women, the most memorable and my favourite part of the entire day was the mentorship sessions.
My two mentors for the day were Cynthia Andrews (Simply Cyn) and Caroline Vazzana (Making It In Manhattan), these two women were so special, humble and open to answering any and all of our questions. They didn’t sugar coat their experiences as influencers and bloggers, they kept it real and the advice they gave was powerful. Both hammered the necessity to be consistent and authentic, something that will inevitably set you apart in this saturated world. The mentorship hour really gave us the opportunity to get personal and feel connected, something that I didn’t expect but was a great little touch. Meeting the other women in the mentorship group who are also driven, hungry and motivated to achieve lofty goals was also such a powerful thing.
While I wasn’t neccessarily looking for any validation of my path, I was reassured that I got this! Insecurity in anything is inevitable, coming from a small island, sometimes you need to speak with those in your field “making it” to know that you’re no different from them. You’re capable of securing the bag, climbing the ladder and making a name for yourself. So for me, this was definitely a confidence booster and motivation to keep grinding.
IS IT WORTH IT?
I’ve been receiving so many questions on the conference and people asking if it was worth it. While worth is subjective, my first question to you would be, what are your goals? If your goal is to be in a room with smart, motivated and inspiring women, then yes you should attend. If your goal is to network, do something different, step outside of your comfort zone then by all means, please attend!
If you are looking for a specific strategy and how-to knowledge, then this may not be the conference for you.
WHAT I LEARNED
In life we doubt ourselves. We doubt our worth, we doubt how deserving we are of that seat at the table and we doubt our success because it doesn’t align with that of others. I learned that I am just as good and worthy and deserving of success and that I can do anything I want to do, I just have to work for it.
Every successful woman who took that stage and mentored worked hard for what they have, they were relentless and fearless and that is what I learned. No one gives you anything, you have to go out there and work hard, be consistent and take what you want.
There’s this one line that stuck with me is from Prince via Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, “The only competition is me in the past.”
This conference was a confidence booster for me.
Would I go to another CC? I would. I know what to expect going in so I would be better prepared to handle the people and all of the activities going on. I would also eat a BIG breakfast and take a sandwich because the food was truly lacking! I was sick after and almost threw up in the Uber because the food provided (not hot) did not agree with my stomach. I don’t think everyone should be forced to eat a Vegan burger….I’m just saying.
All in all, I had a pretty good time and I will be back!
If you have any specific questions on the conference, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to follow up.