Cliquish: Influencer Networking Event

A few weeks ago, a friend and colleague sent me info on a networking event and panel – “So you want to be an Influencer” featuring a variety of veteran and up-and-coming influencers who were going to share their experiences and insights.

I decided it would be fun and interesting to attend and put myself out there in a scenario that was a bit unknown. Not going to lie, I was pretty sure I would be walking into an event where I was the oldest (by a decade plus) and would stick out like a sore thumb. But I decided, in my third decade, to step out of my comfort and just go for it.

Arriving at the event, I was greeted by a variety of faces, women of all ages, interests, race and ethnicity. It was refreshing to talk to so many different women who are passionate about sharing their interests and lives with others in a very public platform.

The panel was a slice of the social world from Ms. Danti, a make-up maven and PhD student, who has been in the game before there was a game to an 18-year old YouTuber, who started blogging in middle school and took off last summer when she made daily relationship challenge videos with her boyfriend. (Apparently this is a huge area of interest for younger girls.)

Loved hearing each of their journeys, tips and perspective. While they were very different, the one common denominator was their desire to connect with people through authentic content and giving others a glimpse into their lives and passion. There’s a lot of power in being vulnerable and opening yourself up to others. And I connected instantly with that part of each of their journeys.

I was reminded that networking is such a powerful tool and got to know a lot of new ladies, and even left with a new friend – a fellow Mama Bear of three, who is also Hispanic and loves sharing her journey of motherhood and passion for fashion.

If nothing else, there is always value in putting yourself out there, meeting new people, talking about common interests and making connections.

This event solidified why I do this. I enjoy having a creative outlet that is all mine, not dictated by others, and the ability to share with people the things I love. If I can make someone smile, try something new or even step out of their own comfort zone, then it’s the cherry on top!




The “Other” Grad School: Life

There are many schools of thought on graduate school. Some people are all for it, others not so much. I’m in the camp that thinks graduate school is great, but without life and work experience it’s not as worthy. I’ve noticed a trend with a lot of students lately who finish their undergraduate degree and continue straight to grad school – no break, no real world or work experience. They have a lot of degrees, but when it comes to their experience they don’t have a lot to draw on professionally. I believe these students are missing out on the “other” grad school: Life.

I learned many lessons in college, but I’ve grown up in the real world. Although my passion and career is PR, I stumbled into this…it wasn’t my original plan. I went to school for broadcasting and mass media studies, worked as a producer and reporter for a few years and then decided I wanted to pursue PR. Everything I’ve learned about the industry has been by doing and by taking in what more experienced professionals have shared with me. What I’ve learned by working, networking and through the contacts I’ve made through social media is an education all its own.

There is so much to learn in the real world and so much information available online. Participating in discussions with peers, reading blogs, getting involved in FPRA and Junior League have all played a role in molding me into the person and professional I have become.

I have so much growing and learning left to do. Life is a continual education and your experiences shape and change you constantly. I believe in the importance and power of a college and graduate school education…but books can only take you so far. You need to open up your mind and take everything in…learn from life, from mentors, from every experience good or bad, planned or unexpected.