Finding my voiceFinding my voice, continuing to put my voice out there — whether I get a comment on that post that gives me the goose bumps or not, I’m still a success. I don’t need to charge the 200. I don’t need it to be re-Tweeted 87 times. I just needed to say it and I just needed to press publish, and that to me is sometimes all the success I need.
Jenna Hatfield, Unmarketing Manifesto (from BlogHer 2013)

There’s something incredibly powerful about being with thousands of like-minded women who have passion for their work, amazing creativity and voices that won’t be quieted. You don’t walk away from that kind of energy without an impact, inspiration and some wonderful friendships.

This year celebrated the 10th year for BlogHer (my 7th). As they describe it: “Thousands of attendees, including community leaders from the new women’s web and more than one hundred sponsoring brands representing every consumer vertical, will converge in San Jose for three days of networking, cutting edge conversation, and a “selfiebration” of social technology.”

Over the 10 years, countless women (and men, everyone is welcome) have learned together, helped each other and bonded at an unique and amazing event. Here are my 10 Lessons for the 10th Anniversary of BlogHer (& a BONUS):

1. We all have a VOICE – In the blogosphere of millions of websites and blogs, it’s easy to feel a little lost. This crowd has embraced sharing their voice and finding a community built on authenticity and passion. The power of a large group of women who embrace their voices makes it pretty hard to leave feeling anything but super excited about getting home to continue sharing your voice on your blog.

2. Do what you LOVE – This message resounded from multiple speakers and sessions. From those on panels to keynotes like the fabulous Arianna Huffington. (She rocked it! She is so smart, savvy, sassy and completely owned the stage even with Guy Kawasaki trying to interview her!) It’s worth repeating – Do what YOU LOVE. Be happy girlfriends!

Debba and Khloe Kardashian3. LEARN from Each Other -You know things I don’t and vice versa. In sessions and panels, at tables over breakfast, at the parties, in the line for the bathroom – women were sharing and learning from each other. As smart as you are, the woman next to you knows things you don’t. It was a great exercise in learning from other women. (And I’ll share what I learned from Khloe Kardashian later this week! She was really sweet!)

4. Don’t take Yourself so Seriously – We danced like FOOLS on the last night! (Thanks Jen for being my fun new BFF!!!) We ate Happy Meals (thanks McDonald’s for the #McDBlogHer treats!). We shared laughs and stories and business cards. BlogHer (and being with girlfriends) is always a great opportunity to just enjoy the company of women and the silliness of girlfriends.

5. Be OPEN to New Ideas, New Friendships – When women have voices, we have more opportunities to connect or even to be surprised by what we’ll say. Being in a sea of estrogen (with voices – and often LOUD voices) can be overwhelming. BlogHer was a great gathering conducive for new ideas and new friendships. And a reminder that we need to be open to new ideas and new friendships in normal everyday life too.

6. Look Back & Look Forward – In honor of the 10 anniversary (which is at least 100 in internet years!), BlogHer created “10×10” – A 10 minute look back at the past 10 years. A variety of bloggers buy diovan without a prescription shared their stories of how the internet and the blogosphere have changed over the past decade and how it has changed their lives. How has it impacted your life? Share that below and with your friends! It’s a great opportunity to reflect and look forward!

7. It’s all about the SHOES – I work from home – usually bare-footed, in socks or the occasional sneaker. A couple days in un-comfy shoes, walking miles of convention center (usually) hard floors, can take a toll on your tootsies! Khloe Kardashian was beautiful and knows how to rock shoes! (Fortunately I wore my killer silver wedges for our photo opp!) We even bonded over shoes!

8. Make a Difference – Make people laugh, cry, learn or inspire them to be a better friend. (Seriously, that’s what they said!) 😉 As bloggers, we have the opportunity to impact a person’s day … to make them smile or cry, to teach them something that can change their attitude or life. As bloggers, as influencers, as women – we get to make a difference and we should never take that for granted. It’s a blessing to have a voice. BlogHer inspired me and so many others to use it to make a difference.

9. Be Bold – Sit at a table where you don’t know anyone. Talk to a woman on the escalator to see if it is her first time to attend (there were lots of newbies). Attending solo this year (without my coworkers and sometimes conference roommates) required me to boldly start conversations, to be an extrovert (or at least pretend to be). It was a good reminder to me, that I can do those things; that I don’t have to always rely on having a reliable friend by my side. And the results were AWESOME. I started a conversation with Jen that lead to a hilarious, wonderful night at the closing party and to a friendship and possibly an opportunity to work together. Just from a little bit of boldness.

10. If in doubt, Wear Waterproof Makeup – By far my favorite part of  BlogHer is the “Voices of the Year” event where bloggers submit their best writing and 12 of the 100 selected, get to read them aloud to the ballroom of bloggers. From honest confessions of suicidal struggles to telling your black child how the world may treat him because of his color, from losing a beloved fiance to hilarious accounts of normal family life – the voices are real and bold and inspired everyone to live life to the fullest.

BONUS … 11. The BEST Thing about BlogHer? – The savvy, smart, sharing women who are doing nothing-less-than amazing things. Women like Elisa Bauer, publisher of SimplyRecipes.com (who shared her journey through Chronic fatigue syndrome to building one of the largest recipe sites on the web); the Crafty Chica herself – Kathy Cano-Murillo, who shared her creative genius and beautiful smile; Stephanie Manley, founder of CopyKat.com; Dana Rudolph, founder/publisher of Mombian.com; and my dancing ‘fool’ BFF Jen Winchester from All’asta (cool company/parties/products!), and so, SO many more! Seeing my girlfriends Jyl, Brandi, Amy, Sami, Susan, and more – hugs that I treasure! I recommend spending time with inspiring women any time you can!

Thanks to girlfriends Elisa, Lisa and Jory – the founders of BlogHer, for starting this community of women bloggers and for bringing us together. There is so much power in the community of women and this conference has celebrated it in style for 10 years. Congrats BlogHer!