Petite Bourgogne

Petite Bourgogne

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Different Is Bliss! Blissdom Canada 2013

"I'll be out of the office Thursday and Friday this week. I'm going to a blogging conference that will be mostly women. So, if I come back wearing something pink... you'll know what happened."
That's pretty much what I told my team at work at few days before taking the train to Mississauga for Blissdom Canada 2013. Some context here: I work in video game development, so "normal" to me is a ratio of about 15 women for every 100 men (and that includes HR and Finance!).  When I bought my ticket, I knew that this conference would be something completely different and I'm not talking about learning/networking/partying with around 300 women (and a few men) for three days. Something completely different is exactly what I was looking for!

My bliss started weeks before the event. I won my hotel room in a draw for participating in a pre-conference Twitter party. Amazing! Thanks so much to the Blissdom Canada Team and Delta Meadowvale! Check out the great room:
The comfy bed at the Delta Meadowvale
This was followed by a lovely welcome box I received in the mail. I've attended a lot of professional conferences and this was definitely a first.
Sponsor samples from Sunlight and Philosophy
On the subject of sponsors... All conferences have sponsors, but this is the first conference I've been at where the sponsors sincerely try to woo us. I came back from the last conference with a collection of stress toys (what does that say about project managers?):
Stress toys collected at the PMI Global Congress 2012
Arriving at Blissdom, my ride from the GO Train station was courtesy of the wonderful concierge service from Chevrolet Canada and I was greeted at the hotel with this adorable bear, who also supports pancreatic cancer research:
Tempur-Pedic Bear from Sleep Country Canada
Even our conference welcome bags were stuffed with Sponsor goodies:
Conference welcome back Sponsor swag and the Sleep Country Tempur-Pedic travel pillow 
I quickly realized that these Sponsors got it. Here's a conference with 300+ socially connected writers. This was the perfect opportunity to directly connect with consumers and influencers and, for some, it was a two-way connection. If you are looking for feedback on your brand, this would probably be one of the best groups from which to receive it. The Tim Horton's #timspirations suite became a favorite hangout:
One way to connect with your audience...
But I didn't go to Blissdom for the Sponsors. My goal was to learn more about blogging and to learn from the community. Within 30 minutes of arrival, I knew I was in the right place! I think "bloggers" does not adequately describe the Blissdom participants. This was the most diverse group of entrepreneurs I have ever met. I met a fascinating photographerjewelry maker and kraftswoman in the conference's Handmade Marketplace. At the opening cocktail, I met an inspiring woman with an organic seed business and a food blogger in search of yummy-ness, just to name a few. Throughout the weekend, I also connected with a Social Media Fairy Godmother, an Animated Woman and a Canadian Mom, who are all in my own backyard of Montreal. This really is only a few of the fabulous people I met. I could go on and on.

As for the sessions, some of my favorites were:

The highlight presentation was Drew Dudley's closing keynote. I wrote a summary of his inspiring talk on my business blog.

So, did I come home wearing something pink? You betcha! My nails were polished bright, sparkly pink at the pyjama party the last night of the conference.
Photo courtesy of Anna Epp Photography
To read more about Blissdom Canada 2013, check out the blogs linked up on their wrap-up post.
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

MEETin Invasion!

Monty, our MEETin Montreal mascot, at Jean Talon Market
Each year, one of the MEETin cities hosts an annual global celebration with the help of a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers. In 2010, D and I had a fabulous time at the MEETin Amsterdam celebration where we explored the city with locals and made new friends from Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, London and all over the USA. We must have also done a great job talking about how fun Montreal is because this year the MEETin Celebration regulars decided to gather in Montreal. To help us out with the organizing, the Celebration became an Invasion, where event planners from the other MEETin cities would plan and host events in Montreal.

Sept 18 to 22, we welcomed about 40 people from Amsterdam, LA, Portland, San Francisco, San Antonio, Austin, Denver, New York, Boston, Providence, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, DC, Virginia Beach and Sacramento.  Over 4 crazy days and nights, D and I joined them at events ranging from poutine lunch, to museum visits, to dancing at an 80s night club. D even finally became a MEETin member and hosted an event of his own at Dieu du Ciel, his favourite microbrewery.

One of the best parts about having visitors in town is that we took the opportunity sample the poutine we had been meaning to try for years, reacquaint ourselves with favourites in our neighbourhood, like St. Viateur Bagel CaféSchwartz's, and Chez Chose, or discover something new like the cafe near where I work that asked D what country of origin he preferred for his coffee.

Below are just a few pictures from the weekend. A big thanks to all the fabulous Meeps who came to Montreal and made it such a fun four days! We'll keep in touch and will see you again at another Celebration.

Poutine lunch on the terrasse at La Banquise
Caught the Chihuly exhibit at the MBAM
Roses from Snooky The Rose Man at House of Jazz
My very first beer... ever! 15th Anniversary Porter at Dieu du Ciel
Mothershuckers at Jean Talon Market