#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,

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

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

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!)

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