A Vancouver Mompreneur™ in Toronto

Joining Mompreneurs™ Canada was a leap of faith for me. I joined on the strength of my admiration for Elaine Tan Comeau and became a founding Elite Member of the Vancouver Chapter. So rich was the content in our local meetings and in the resources on the national website that I felt compelled to travel to Toronto for the conference. I’m very glad I invested the time, energy and money to get there.

As Jill Schoolenberg from Go Daddy Canada said, the benefits of attending a conference come in three phases – before during and after.

In advance of the conference, I read up on the known speakers, made lists of the people I hoped to meet and participated in pre-event events like the #MompConf tweet chat.

During the event, I made sure to be open to opportunities to meet as many people as possible. If the number of business cards I exchanged are any indication, I shared meaningful dialogue with 50% of the attendees. 100 conversations in two days? No wonder I came home tired!

I especially enjoyed chats with fellow business communications professionals like Katy Takaoka from SBT Virtual, Kelly Farrell from Teach Me Social and Rania Walker from Front Door PR. I’m certain those conversations will be ongoing.

I also loved the unexpected brainstorms and a-ha moments shared with Jennifer Maxwell of The Wedding Coach, Dolly Bhatia-Frolick of Dolly Bollywood / Frolick Fitness and Rebecca Saha of iSpy Children’s Clothing Resale. Between us we solved a branding issue, a logo revamp, a product launch, a product development cycle and created two product extensions.

2016 Mompreneur™ Award Finalists
2016 Mompreneur Award Finalists

And I met the inspiring Colleen Dyck of Gorp: Clean Energy Bar, 24 hours before she was presented the Mompreneur™ of the Year 2016 Award of Excellence.

Beyond meeting my fellow delegates, I also valued the opportunity to learn from the weekend’s speakers.

Debbie Travis taught me that the qualities of how I am perceived are my brand. As Debbie said, “Focus on your brand. Extend your brand slowly [and thoughtfully].”

Meeting Debbie Travis at Mompreneur™ conference
Meeting Debbie Travis

Natalie MacNeil emphasized that I must figure out and understand my why. A fully understood why motivates everything an entrepreneur does. I also liked what Natalie said about selecting opportunities that support my 5×5, my 5 milestones each with 5 goals, for the year.

The Honourable K. Kellie Leitch challenged every woman in the room to mentor another woman under 35. This was a good reminder to me that I need to make time to formally engage in mentorship again soon.

Ruthie Burd’s statement that you must be “too stubborn to quit” resonates with me. After nearly 7 years in business and numerous family and health hurdles, I could adopt Ruthie’s words as my mantra.

Colin Sprake inspired me to write my “vivid vision”. I think he’d be pleased that I’m already two full pages into that document and have lots left to write. I’m looking forward to his Make Your Mark program, a generous gift to all attendees.

Meeting Natalie MacNeil at Mompreneur™ conference
Meeting Natalie MacNeil

Erica Ehm’s top tip was about taking time to build relationships. She reminded us that relationships sell and that investing time in building relationships is time well spent. I think that’s extraordinarily important. I’d much rather have genuine relationships with clients, colleagues and suppliers. Schmoozers need not apply.

Julie Cole’s advice about planning the legacy of a business applies to us all at every stage. I also liked her comment that “if I’m the smartest person in the room, I need to find a new room.” I firmly believe in lifelong education and professional development.

Looping back to Jill Schoolenberg’s comments, I’m now in the after phase of this event. This week has been a flurry of new connections on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter plus a blitz of incoming and outgoing email. Over the months to come, we’ll deepen our relationships and, perhaps, at some time in the future we’ll do business together or share advice on a tricky business situation or send a referral. With luck, some Mompreneurs™ will also read one or both of my forthcoming books.

One last thought before I sign off, when traveling “carry-on only” it’s impossible to compete in the fabulous shoes department at the Mompreneurs™ Canada National Conference.  I may just have to check a bag next year. See you in 2017!