#BBSummit12 In A Nutshell

After nearly a year of planning meetings, brainstorming sessions, countless emails, thousands of name badges (okay, 160 of ’em), and excessive sweating, the 2012 Brands and Bloggers Summit (#BBSummit12) came and went this past Saturday. After all the work that I put in alongside my Social RevUp partners MJ Tam and Dwana De LaCerna, I was looking forward to the beginning of the day just as much as I was looking forward to the end of the day (7:00 to be specific, which was the starting time of the after party).

My brain is still swimming but I wanted to give you a recap of my favorite parts of #BBSummit12 weekend, in no particular order:

1. Seeing the Fender Ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago all set up for our attendees and sponsors for the first time was special because when MJ, Dwana and I walked through that room (empty, months ago), I really didn’t think we were going to fit everybody in there…but we did. It looked awesome.

Fender Ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel, Chicago

2. The incessant teasing about the 160+ name badges I made (because I complained about it for ten straight days before the conference). Normally I would admit to being slightly over-dramatic, but until you have made 160 individual QR codes, tested every single one almost all of them (sorry, Christina), saved them under each attendee/sponsor’s name, created hand-cut labels with a QR code, twitter handle, and attendee/sponsor name (making sure they all pertain to the same person), you have no idea what a job that was. That said, the teasing was hilarious and I give a grade of A+++++ to Hyacynth, Melissa, and Brook for their creative pictures of what they did with their name badges after the conference (click here, here, and here, making sure to read their captions).

3. Though I am way more comfortable getting up in front of people wearing workout clothes and a headset microphone (believe it or not), I wasn’t really nervous to get up on stage (several times!) on Saturday and speak to a room full of my peers. I felt very much at ease. Winning!

Well, I DO like to talk.

4. I got a great shoutout during the first panel from my friend and GMer Connie Burke, during which she made me totally blush. She has complimented me before (and my gosh, did I ever appreciate the kind words), but never in a room full of that many people. My next goal is to get her to do it at a major sporting event.

5. I have always enjoyed walking around with a clipboard (if you know me, this fact shouldn’t be a surprise) and although I brought one and used it in the morning, I discovered that walking around with an iPad is the 21st century version of looking like you know what you were doing so I exchanged old technology for new. The only problem was that there were about eighty iPads in the room and, you know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen… Thinking I may have to go back to being retro.

6. It was amazing to watch the day unfold and see the panels, presentations, and speakers (that my partners and I had been talking about for nearly a year) educate and often entertain our fabulous attendees.

7. It meant so much that Emily McKhann and Cooper Munroe of The Motherhood and Jennifer James of Mom Blog Magazine & Mom Bloggers For Social Good took time from their busy schedules to attend the Summit. Having these special guests in the room was inspiring, and I know that the other attendees were just as thrilled as I was to be in their presence.

8. There was a great moment during Andrea Metcalf’s presentation at the end of the day between Andrea and my friend Lisa that had many of us wiping away tears. I am certain that Lisa will be writing about it this week at her blog, so look out for that. (I mean, you really had to be there!)

Andrea Metcalf and Lisa. I hope Lisa really does blog this. Hmm. Let me know if she doesn't! :)

9. Spending time with so many of my good friends (and some new friends, too!) at the conference, the after party,

IMG 0148Tracey, Liz, Me, and Elizabeth. Photo used with permission from ©Just Jen

and on the regular folks brunch/Wendella Boat/Garrett Popcorn activity combo on Sunday…

Wendella Five

10. …as well as spending extra-special, extended quality time with my sistah-from-anothah-mutha Liz (including when I was brain dead and whiny), who happened to be a part of the first panel and I was so proud of her. I mean, just look at how she’s got the attention of both GM’s Connie Burke and Mary Couzin from ChiTAG.

My Jersey girl, rockin' it at the Hard Rock.

11. Overall, it was just a great weekend. Like LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER (shoutout and snaps to Tracey!), this was a huge accomplishment for my partners and me, and it reinforces that great things come with hard work. I am proud.

12. EDITED, five minutes post-publish: Dang, I told you I’m braindead. Props to my tinfoil pants-wearing friend Fred (@mochadad) who not only came up from Texas to speak on the panel but also made me laugh more times than I can count AND told me that the next time he visits Chicago I can make him dinner.

If you were a sponsor, speaker, or attendee at #BBSummit12, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Your participation represented an important piece of the puzzle, and I appreciate you very much! (and if you weren’t? There’s always #BBSummit13!)


  • TheNextMartha

    Congrats. You completed 2 HUGE projects this year. I should hire you. You take hand sewn tin foil pants as payment right?

  • Christina

    It was a great event – you should be so proud of the accomplishment! I had a great time and hope we can all do this again next year.

    (PS – you just need to add the www to fix the…aw, hell, I need to just go to WordPress.) 😉

  • Elizabeth - Table for Five

    It was even better than bbsummit11, it just felt so comfortable and relaxed! It was the perfect balance of great information and tips along with plenty of time to chat with sponsors AND with friends. Bravo, Bravo, and see you next year!

  • tracey

    Sniff, sniff. Not a single mention about my glitter efforts.

    God. I feel so underappreciated.

    It went well, babe. Good job. Now RELAX!

  • Connie Burke

    Awesome event. Loved it. Met some really amazing people. I’m thinking the Olympics would be a fitting sporting event for me to give you the next shout-out. And then we’ll go have high tea with her heiny the Queen. Work for you?

    • Melisa

      Oh my gosh, and I was thinking about a football game or something, but yeah, that’s small potatoes. You are ALWAYS thinking, Connie Burke! (and high tea with the Queen? ICING!)

      Now, will GM send an Acadia over the pond so we can get ourselves from place to place?

  • Patty

    I am so proud of you Melisa! You and your partners did an amazing job. Wish I could have been there! You know I’ll be reading all the recaps next week as I am on my summer “sabbatical”!

    Congratulations! 🙂

    • Melisa

      Can’t wait to read it! And I owe you a phone call: didn’t forget. I just haven’t stopped moving! 🙂

  • Just Jen

    I walk ALL THE WAY over to Walgreens (just next door), spend tens of pennies on Twizzlers for you and don’t even get a shout out! GOSH!!!! 🙂 Great to spend time with you and it was an AMAZING weekend!!

  • Kathy

    Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement in your comment on my blog (and well as other places that we have discussed getting ready for BlogHer recently)! I really appreciate what you and Momo shared in your posts about preparing for BlogHer conferences last year (that still hold true).

    Your #BBSummit12 event sounds pretty awesome and like it went very well. Those nametags sound insanely cool!

    I really do hope we get to meet at BlogHer next week, though if we somehow miss each other, we can always try to get together sometime around here, since we both live in the Chicago area.