Last month, Cutline's Courtney Richardson attended Create & Cultivate on behalf of our team. Here, she dishes the details on what she learned, who inspired her most, and how she's already tapping into key takeaways back at the office.
I attended Create & Cultivate SF on behalf of Cutline and it was a blast! The one day conference lasted from 9 am-8:30 pm and was full of guest speakers, panels, meet & greets, pop-ups, mentorship opportunities, and more. They had two tracks: Track One focused on entrepreneurship, advancing your career and growing your brand, and Track Two (which I participated in) was geared towards social media, marketing, and content creation.
I left the conference feeling empowered, optimistic, and excited about owning my career. One common theme I found from the panels and speakers throughout the day was authenticity. All of these women found success by being true to themselves and following their passions. The energy at the conference, not only from the panelists but also the women who dedicated their Saturday to attend, was something I‘d never experienced before. It was incredibly positive, uplifting, and motivating. And, seeing Kourtney Kardashian in real life was an added bonus. Here are a few key takeaways and highlights from my day.
Favorite Panel: How to Create a Brand that Lives Beyond the Social Bubble
I really loved this panel because it brought together women who all focused on creating a brand. Even though the brands and companies varied — from the Editorial Director of Lonny to the Brand Director of Alaska Airlines — all of the women said the same message in one way or another: be real and authentic and always commit to your core values. It was interesting to see how such contrasting women found success in their careers through the same ideals. Clearly, it’s working for them! I really resonated with this panel and it inspired me to make it a goal to be as authentic as possible in my everyday life and career.
• Angela Tafoya, Editorial Director, Lonny
• Julie Solomon, Founder, The Influencer Podcast, The Influencer Academy
• Katie D'Amato, Director of Brand and Social Activation, Alaska Airlines
• Rachel Curry, Director, Marketing, Owned Channels at Volvo Car USA
• Tanesha Awasthi, Influencer and Designer, Girl with Curves
Mentorship Power Hour
Within a day full of speeches and panels, you can get tired of being spoken to. Luckily, Create & Cultivate breaks it up by providing a “Mentor Power Hour.” I was able to get one-on-one facetime with some really smart and successful women and pick their brains. This was by far one of the most meaningful experiences for me. I got the opportunity to meet with Ginger Siegel, the North America Small Business Lead at Mastercard International, as well as Brandy Pham, the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Planoly.
Brandy Pham, Founder, Chief Creative Officer of Planoly: My conversation with Brandy was really insightful. She shared the surprising career trajectory that accidentally led her to create Planoly (the first visual planner and scheduler for Instagram profiles). Initially, she was creating and selling jewelry, and quickly realized she was gaining the most traction for online sales through her Instagram page. She started planning her Instagram posts by hand in a journal but knew there must be an easier way. Enter Planoly. Brandy and her husband created the company to help small businesses build a brand and stay on top of their social media accounts. She also discussed the challenges behind being a female founder in the tech space, which is overwhelmingly dominated by men. She said that people will always doubt you as a woman in the tech space, but she likes to surprise people by over-preparing before a big meeting and making it clear she knows just as much, if not more, than everyone in the room. I asked Brandy if she plans to go beyond Instagram, and she said that Planoly is branching into Pinterest so businesses can plan their Pins ahead of time and post automatically. I can’t wait to try it out!
Ginger Siegel, North America Small Business Lead: My conversation with Ginger was one of my favorites. The conversation was really interactive because she was mostly just taking questions from our small group. She shared some valuable advice that could apply to both client relations and negotiating for a raise: “Price is only an issue in the absence of value. Show the value you can provide for your client, and then tell them the price. If they say no then they’re saying they don’t pay attention to quality.”
Giuliana Rancic, TV Personality: Giuliana Rancic gave the opening keynote in the morning, which was a really exciting way to start off the conference. I loved how candid she was! She discussed her early struggle with scoliosis as a child that allowed her to build a sense of humor and personality, which ended up helping her in her career. She also discussed her struggle with breast cancer. I thought it was interesting that she has a background in journalism and initially she thought she would be doing hard-hitting news, which I was unaware of. However, she quickly realized she naturally writes in a “fun and quirky” tone and decided to build her career around that with consumer/lifestyle content. She also shared advice on the benefits of doing what you love: “When you’re naturally good at something, you can master it at a quicker pace and it doesn’t feel like work.”
Jenna Dewan, Actress: Jenna’s keynote was amazing! She hit on so many things that women struggle with, including imposter syndrome, embracing authenticity, and the importance of self-care. Jenna’s success came later and after plenty of blood, sweat and tears. It was inspiring to see someone so established talk about the many years she struggled through and almost gave up. She described it as “the long game,” and emphasized the importance of taking charge of what you want and being vocal.
Kourtney Kardashian, TV Personality: Kourtney closed out the day and to be honest, her keynote wasn’t my favorite but it was really incredible to see someone so famous in real life. She was exactly like she is on her show, monotone and sarcastic. I really admire that she’s doing something new and a little risky with her lifestyle brand “Poosh”. She shared the story behind the Poosh name, which is her daughter Penelope’s nickname.
From getting a look behind the scenes to learning about new trends and getting inspiration for ideas, attending conferences is one of the best things you can do for your career. I’m looking forward to my next one!